New International Version
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]
2 Surely I am only a brute, not a man;
I do not have human understanding.
3 I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.(B)
4 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!
7 “Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.(K)
9 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.
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.”
Sayings of King Lemuel
31 The sayings(AH) of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
4 It is not for kings, Lemuel—
it is not for kings to drink wine,(AK)
not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink(AL) and forget what has been decreed,(AM)
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Let beer be for those who are perishing,
wine(AN) for those who are in anguish!
7 Let them drink(AO) and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [d]A wife of noble character(AR) who can find?(AS)
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband(AT) has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.(AU)
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.(AV)
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.(AW)
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders(AX) of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.(AY)
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise(AZ) at the city gate.
- Proverbs 30:1 With a different word division of the Hebrew; Masoretic Text utterance to Ithiel, / to Ithiel and Ukal:
- Proverbs 30:31 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
- Proverbs 31:3 Or wealth
- Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.