29 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken [a]beyond remedy. 2 When the righteous [b]increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan. 3 A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth. 4 The king gives stability to the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it. 5 A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps. 6 By transgression an evil man is ensnared, But the righteous sings and rejoices. 7 The righteous [c]is concerned for the rights of the poor, The wicked does not understand such[d]concern. 8 Scorners set a city aflame, But wise men turn away anger. 9 When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, [e]The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest. 10 Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, But the upright [f]are concerned for his life. 11 A fool [g]always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back. 12 If a ruler pays attention to falsehood, All his ministers become wicked. 13 The poor man and the oppressor [h]have this in common: The Lord gives light to the eyes of both. 14 If a king judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever. 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child [i]who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. 16 When the wicked [j]increase, transgression increases; But the righteous will see their fall. 17 Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also [k]delight your soul. 18 Where there is no [l]vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. 19 A slave will not be instructed by words alone; For though he understands, there will be no response. 20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 21 He who pampers his slave from childhood Will in the end find him to be a son. 22 An angry man stirs up strife, And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression. 23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor. 24 He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing. 25 The fear of man [m]brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted. 26 Many seek the ruler’s [n]favor, But justice for man comes from the Lord. 27 An unjust man is abominable to the righteous, And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.
The Words of Agur
30 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the [o]oracle.
The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal:
2 Surely I am more stupid than any man, And I do not have the understanding of a man. 3 Neither have I learned wisdom, Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One. 4 Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in [p]His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son’s name? Surely you know!
5 Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. 6 Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.
7 Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die: 8 Keep deception and [q]lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, 9 That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.
10 Do not slander a slave to his master, Or he will curse you and you will be found guilty.
11 There is a [r]kind of man who curses his father And does not bless his mother. 12 There is a [s]kind who is pure in his own eyes, Yet is not washed from his filthiness. 13 There is a [t]kind—oh how lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance. 14 There is a [u]kind of man whose teeth are like swords And his jaw teeth like knives, To devour the afflicted from the earth And the needy from among men.
15 The leech has two daughters, “Give,” “Give.” There are three things that will not be satisfied, Four that will not say, “Enough”: 16 [v]Sheol, and the barren womb, Earth that is never satisfied with water, And fire that never says, “Enough.” 17 The eye that mocks a father And [w]scorns a 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, Four which I do not understand: 19 The way of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid. 20 This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, “I have done no wrong.”
21 Under three things the earth quakes, And under four, it cannot 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 a husband, And a maidservant when she supplants her mistress.
24 Four things are small on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: 25 The ants are not a strong people, But they prepare their food in the summer; 26 The [x]shephanim are not mighty people, Yet they make their houses in the rocks; 27 The locusts have no king, Yet all of them go out in ranks; 28 The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings’ palaces.
29 There are three things which are stately in their march, Even four which are stately when they walk: 30 The lion which is mighty among beasts And does not [y]retreat before any, 31 The [z]strutting rooster, the male goat also, And a king when his army is with him.
32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself Or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth. 33 For the [aa]churning of milk produces butter, And pressing the nose brings forth blood; So the [ab]churning of anger produces strife.
The Words of Lemuel
31 The words of King Lemuel, the [ac]oracle which his mother taught him:
2 What, O my son? And what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows? 3 Do not give your strength to women, Or your ways to that which destroys kings. 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, 5 For they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the [ad]rights of all the [ae]afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him [af]whose life is bitter. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty And remember his trouble no more. 8 Open your mouth for the mute, For the [ag]rights of all the [ah]unfortunate. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And [ai]defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
Description of a Worthy Woman
10 An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 13 She looks for wool and flax And works with her [aj]hands [ak]in delight. 14 She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. 15 She rises also while it is still night And gives food to her household And [al]portions to her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From [am]her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds [an]herself with strength And makes her arms strong. 18 She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her [ao]hands grasp the spindle. 20 She [ap]extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And [aq]supplies belts to the [ar]tradesmen. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the [as]future. 26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the [at]teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 29 “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who [au]fears the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her the [av]product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate, click the button below.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the Believer's Bible Commentary and the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (NIV and NRSV) - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.