New Living Translation
The Sayings of Agur
30 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.[a]
I am weary, O God;
I am weary and worn out, O God.[b]
2 I am too stupid to be human,
and I lack common sense.
3 I have not mastered human wisdom,
nor do I know the Holy One.
4 Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
Who holds the wind in his fists?
Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
Who has created the whole wide world?
What is his name—and his son’s name?
Tell me if you know!
5 Every word of God proves true.
He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
6 Do not add to his words,
or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.
7 O God, I beg two favors from you;
let me have them before I die.
8 First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
9 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
10 Never slander a worker to the employer,
or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.
11 Some people curse their father
and do not thank their mother.
12 They are pure in their own eyes,
but they are filthy and unwashed.
13 They look proudly around,
casting disdainful glances.
14 They have teeth like swords
and fangs like knives.
They devour the poor from the earth
and the needy from among humanity.
15 The leech has two suckers
that cry out, “More, more!”[c]
There are three things that are never satisfied—
no, four that never say, “Enough!”:
16 the grave,[d]
the barren womb,
the thirsty desert,
the blazing fire.
17 The eye that mocks a father
and despises a mother’s instructions
will be plucked out by ravens of the valley
and eaten by vultures.
18 There are three things that amaze me—
no, four things that I don’t understand:
19 how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman.
20 An adulterous woman consumes a man,
then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?”
21 There are three things that make the earth tremble—
no, four it cannot endure:
22 a slave who becomes a king,
an overbearing fool who prospers,
23 a bitter woman who finally gets a husband,
a servant girl who supplants her mistress.
24 There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise:
25 Ants—they aren’t strong,
but they store up food all summer.
26 Hyraxes[e]—they aren’t powerful,
but they make their homes among the rocks.
27 Locusts—they have no king,
but they march in formation.
28 Lizards—they are easy to catch,
but they are found even in kings’ palaces.
29 There are three things that walk with stately stride—
no, four that strut about:
30 the lion, king of animals, who won’t turn aside for anything,
31 the strutting rooster,
the male goat,
a king as he leads his army.
32 If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil,
cover your mouth in shame.
33 As the beating of cream yields butter
and striking the nose causes bleeding,
so stirring up anger causes quarrels.
The Sayings of King Lemuel
31 The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message,[f] which his mother taught him.
2 O my son, O son of my womb,
O son of my vows,
3 do not waste your strength on women,
on those who ruin kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine.
Rulers should not crave alcohol.
5 For if they drink, they may forget the law
and not give justice to the oppressed.
6 Alcohol is for the dying,
and wine for those in bitter distress.
7 Let them drink to forget their poverty
and remember their troubles no more.
8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.
A Wife of Noble Character
10 [g]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.
19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm[h] clothes.
22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
- 30:1a Or son of Jakeh from Massa; or son of Jakeh, an oracle.
- 30:1b The Hebrew can also be translated The man declares this to Ithiel, / to Ithiel and to Ucal.
- 30:15 Hebrew two daughters who cry out, “Give, give!”
- 30:16 Hebrew Sheol.
- 30:26 Or Coneys, or Rock badgers.
- 31:1 Or of Lemuel, king of Massa; or of King Lemuel, an oracle.
- 31:10 Verses 10-31 comprise a Hebrew acrostic poem; each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
- 31:21 As in Greek and Latin versions; Hebrew reads scarlet.