The Words of Agur

30 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The pronouncement.[a](A)
The man’s oration to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal:[b]

I am more stupid than any other person,[c]
and I lack a human’s ability to understand.(B)
I have not gained wisdom,
and I have no knowledge of the Holy One.(C)
Who has gone up to heaven and come down?(D)
Who has gathered the wind in his hands?
Who has bound up the waters in a cloak?(E)
Who has established all the ends of the earth?(F)
What is his name,
and what is the name of his son—
if you know?(G)
Every word of God is pure;[d](H)
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.(I)
Don’t add to his words,(J)
or he will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar.(K)

Two things I ask of you;
don’t deny them to me before I die:
Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.
Give me neither poverty nor wealth;
feed me with the food I need.(L)
Otherwise, I might have too much(M)
and deny you,(N) saying, “Who is the Lord?” (O)
or I might have nothing and steal,(P)
profaning[e] the name of my God.(Q)

10 Don’t slander a servant to his master
or he will curse you,(R) and you will become guilty.

11 There is a generation that curses its father
and does not bless its mother.(S)
12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,(T)
yet is not washed from its filth.
13 There is a generation—how haughty its eyes
and pretentious its looks.[f]
14 There is a generation whose teeth are swords,(U)
whose fangs are knives,(V)
devouring the oppressed from the land(W)
and the needy from among mankind.

15 The leech has two daughters: “Give, Give!”
Three things(X) are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough!”:
16 Sheol;(Y) a childless womb;(Z)
earth, which is never satisfied with water;
and fire, which never says, “Enough!”

17 As for the eye that ridicules a father(AA)
and despises obedience to a mother,
may ravens of the valley pluck it out
and young vultures eat it.(AB)

18 Three things are too wondrous for me;(AC)
four I can’t understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship at sea,
and the way of a man with a young woman.

20 This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats and wipes her mouth
and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong.”(AD)

21 The earth trembles under three things;
it cannot bear up under four:
22 a servant when he becomes king,(AE)
a fool when he is stuffed with food,
23 an unloved woman when she marries,(AF)
and a servant girl when she ousts her queen.

24 Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
25 ants are not a strong people,
yet they store up their food in the summer;(AG)
26 hyraxes are not a mighty people,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;(AH)
27 locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in ranks;(AI)
28 a lizard[g] can be caught in your hands,
yet it lives in kings’ palaces.

29 Three things are stately in their stride;
four are stately in their walk:
30 a lion, which is mightiest among beasts
and doesn’t retreat before anything;
31 a strutting rooster;[h] a goat;
and a king at the head of his army.[i]

32 If you have been foolish by exalting yourself
or if you’ve been scheming,
put your hand over your mouth.(AJ)
33 For the churning of milk produces butter,
and twisting a nose draws blood,
and stirring up anger produces strife.(AK)

Footnotes

  1. 30:1 Or son of Jakeh from Massa; Pr 31:1
  2. 30:1 Hb uncertain. Sometimes read with different word division as oration: I am weary, God, I am weary, God, and I am exhausted, or oration: I am not God, I am not God, that I should prevail. LXX reads My son, fear my words and when you have received them repent. The man says these things to the believers in God, and I pause.
  3. 30:2 Lit I am more stupid than a man
  4. 30:5 Lit refined
  5. 30:9 Lit grabbing
  6. 30:13 Lit and its eyelids lifted up
  7. 30:28 Or spider
  8. 30:31 Or a greyhound
  9. 30:31 LXX reads king addressing his people

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