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The Oracle of Agur

30 The words of Agur, son of Yakeh, the oracle.
    Thus says the man to Ithiel, to Ithiel, and Ucal:[a]
Certainly I am more stupid than a man,
    and the understanding of humankind is not for me.
And I have not learned wisdom,
    nor will I know knowledge of the Holy One.[b]
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
    Who has gathered the wind in the hollow of his hand?
    Who has wrapped water in a[c] garment?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
    What is his name and what is the name of his child?
    For surely you know.
Every word of God is flawless;
    he is a shield for him who takes refuge in him.
Do not add to his words
    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Two things I ask from you;
    do not deny me before I die:
Keep falsehood and a lying word[d] far from me;
    do not give me poverty or wealth;
    provide me with food only for my need.
Or else I will be satisfied and will deny him
    and say “Who is Yahweh?”
Or[e] I will be poor and will steal
    and profane the name of my God.
10 Do not slander a servant to his master,
    or else he will curse you and you will be guilty.
11 There is a generation that will curse its father,
    and its mother it will not bless.
12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,
    but from its filthiness it will not be cleansed.
13 There is a generation—how lofty are their eyes!
    And their eyelids they will lift.
14 There is a generation whose teeth are swords,
    and its jawbones, knives,
in order to devour the poor from the earth[f]
    and the needy from humankind.
15 For the leech, there are two daughters;
    “Give, give!” they cry.
As for three of these, they are not satisfied;
    as for four, they do not say enough.
16 Sheol[g] and barrenness of womb,
    the land is not satisfied with water,
    and fire does not say “enough!”
17 The eye that mocks a father
    and scorns the obedience of a mother—
the ravens of the valley will peck it out,
    and the offspring of vultures will eat it.
18 Three of these are too wonderful for me,
    and four, I do not understand them:
19 the way of the eagle in the sky,
    the way of a snake on a rock,
    the way of a ship in the heart of the sea,
    and the way of a man with a young woman.
20 This is the way of a woman committing adultery:
    she eats and wipes her mouth,
    and says “I have not done wrong.”
21 Under three things the earth[h] trembles,
    and under four, it is not able to bear up:
22 under a slave when he becomes king,
    and a fool when he is satisfied with food;
23 under an unloved woman when she gets married,
    and a maid when she succeeds her mistress.
24 There are four small things on the earth,
    and they are exceedingly wise:[i]
25 The ants are a people who are not strong,
    yet they prepare their food in the summer;
26 the badgers are a people who are not mighty,
    yet they set their house on the rock;
27 there is no king for the locust,
    yet it marches in rank;
28 a lizard you can seize with hands,
    yet it is in palaces of kings.
29 There are three things that are magnificent of stride,
    and four that are magnificent when moving:
30 a mighty lion among the beasts,[j]
    but he will not turn back from any face;[k]
31 a strutting rooster or he-goat,
    and a king whose army is with him.
32 If you have been foolish by exalting yourself,
    and if you have devised evil, put your hand to your mouth.
33 For pressing milk produces curd,
    and pressing the nose produces blood,
    so pressing anger[l] produces strife.


  1. Proverbs 30:1 Or “I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out”
  2. Proverbs 30:3 Or “holy ones”
  3. Proverbs 30:4 Hebrew “the”
  4. Proverbs 30:8 Literally “word of a lie”
  5. Proverbs 30:9 Or “Lest”
  6. Proverbs 30:14 Or “land”
  7. Proverbs 30:16 A term for the place where the dead reside, i.e., the Underworld
  8. Proverbs 30:21 Or “land”
  9. Proverbs 30:24 Literally “wise ones from wise ones
  10. Proverbs 30:30 Hebrew “beasts”
  11. Proverbs 30:30 Literally “faces of all”
  12. Proverbs 30:33 Literally “nostrils”