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The Wisdom of Agur

30 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, his utterance. This man declared to Ithiel—to Ithiel and Ucal:

(A)Surely I am more stupid than any man,
And do not have the understanding of a man.
I neither learned wisdom
Nor have (B)knowledge of the Holy One.

(C)Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
(D)Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son’s name,
If you know?

(E)Every word of God is [a]pure;
(F)He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
(G)Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Two things I request of You
(Deprive me not before I die):
Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches—
(H)Feed me with the food allotted to me;
(I)Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.

10 Do not malign a servant to his master,
Lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.

11 There is a generation that curses its (J)father,
And does not bless its mother.
12 There is a generation (K)that is pure in its own eyes,
Yet is not washed from its filthiness.
13 There is a generation—oh, how (L)lofty are their eyes!
And their eyelids are [b]lifted up.
14 (M)There is a generation whose teeth are like swords,
And whose fangs are like knives,
(N)To devour the poor from off the earth,
And the needy from among men.

15 The leech has two daughters—
Give and Give!

There are three things that are never satisfied,
Four never say, “Enough!”:
16 (O)The[c] grave,
The barren womb,
The earth that is not satisfied with water—
And the fire never says, “Enough!”

17 (P)The eye that mocks his father,
And scorns obedience to his mother,
The ravens of the valley will pick it out,
And the young eagles will eat it.

18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Yes, four which I do not understand:
19 The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the [d]midst of the sea,
And the way of a man with a virgin.

20 This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth,
And says, “I have done no wickedness.”

21 For three things the earth is perturbed,
Yes, for four it cannot bear up:
22 (Q)For a servant when he reigns,
A fool when he is filled with food,
23 A [e]hateful woman when she is married,
And a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.

24 There are four things which are little on the earth,
But they are exceedingly wise:
25 (R)The ants are a people not strong,
Yet they prepare their food in the summer;
26 (S)The [f]rock badgers are a feeble folk,
Yet they make their homes in the crags;
27 The locusts have no king,
Yet they all advance in ranks;
28 The [g]spider skillfully grasps with its hands,
And it is in kings’ palaces.

29 There are three things which are majestic in pace,
Yes, four which are stately in walk:
30 A lion, which is mighty among beasts
And does not turn away from any;
31 A [h]greyhound,
A male goat also,
And [i]a king whose troops are with him.

32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself,
Or if you have devised evil, (T)put your hand on your mouth.
33 For as the churning of milk produces butter,
And wringing the nose produces blood,
So the forcing of wrath produces strife.

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 30:5 tested, refined, found pure
  2. Proverbs 30:13 In arrogance
  3. Proverbs 30:16 Or Sheol
  4. Proverbs 30:19 Lit. heart
  5. Proverbs 30:23 Or hated
  6. Proverbs 30:26 rock hyraxes
  7. Proverbs 30:28 Or lizard
  8. Proverbs 30:31 Or perhaps strutting rooster, lit. girded of waist
  9. Proverbs 30:31 A Jewish tradition a king against whom there is no uprising

Sayings of Agur

30 The sayings(A) of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.

This man’s utterance to Ithiel:

“I am weary, God,
    but I can prevail.[a]
Surely I am only a brute, not a man;
    I do not have human understanding.
I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.(B)
Who has gone up(C) to heaven and come down?
    Whose hands(D) have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters(E) in a cloak?(F)
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name,(G) and what is the name of his son?
    Surely you know!

“Every word of God is flawless;(H)
    he is a shield(I) to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add(J) to his words,
    or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
    do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.(K)
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown(L) you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’(M)
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.(N)

10 “Do not slander a servant to their master,
    or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.

11 “There are those who curse their fathers
    and do not bless their mothers;(O)
12 those who are pure in their own eyes(P)
    and yet are not cleansed of their filth;(Q)
13 those whose eyes are ever so haughty,(R)
    whose glances are so disdainful;
14 those whose teeth(S) are swords
    and whose jaws are set with knives(T)
to devour(U) the poor(V) from the earth
    and the needy from among mankind.(W)

15 “The leech has two daughters.
    ‘Give! Give!’ they cry.

“There are three things that are never satisfied,(X)
    four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
16 the grave,(Y) the barren womb,
    land, which is never satisfied with water,
    and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’

17 “The eye that mocks(Z) a father,
    that scorns an aged mother,
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,
    will be eaten by the vultures.(AA)

18 “There are three things that are too amazing for me,
    four that I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a young woman.

20 “This is the way of an adulterous woman:
    She eats and wipes her mouth
    and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’(AB)

21 “Under three things the earth trembles,
    under four it cannot bear up:
22 a servant who becomes king,(AC)
    a godless fool who gets plenty to eat,
23 a contemptible woman who gets married,
    and a servant who displaces her mistress.

24 “Four things on earth are small,
    yet they are extremely wise:
25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
    yet they store up their food in the summer;(AD)
26 hyraxes(AE) are creatures of little power,
    yet they make their home in the crags;
27 locusts(AF) have no king,
    yet they advance together in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,
    yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

29 “There are three things that are stately in their stride,
    four that move with stately bearing:
30 a lion, mighty among beasts,
    who retreats before nothing;
31 a strutting rooster, a he-goat,
    and a king secure against revolt.[b]

32 “If you play the fool and exalt yourself,
    or if you plan evil,
    clap your hand over your mouth!(AG)
33 For as churning cream produces butter,
    and as twisting the nose produces blood,
    so stirring up anger produces strife.”

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 30:1 With a different word division of the Hebrew; Masoretic Text utterance to Ithiel, / to Ithiel and Ukal:
  2. Proverbs 30:31 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.

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