The Mysterious Sayings of Agur
1These are the collected sayings of the prophet Agur, Jakeh’s son—
the amazing revelation he imparted to Ithiel and Ukal.
2God, I’m so weary and worn out,
I feel more like a beast than a man.
I was made in your image,
but I lack understanding.
3I’ve yet to learn the wisdom
that comes from the full and intimate knowledge of you,
the Holy One.
4Who is it that travels back and forth
from the heavenly realm to the earth?
Who controls the wind as it blows and holds it in his fists?
Who tucks the rain into the cloak of his clouds?
Who stretches out the skyline from one vista to the other?
What is his name?
And what is the name of his Son?
Who can tell me?
A Pure Heart Is Filled with God’s Word
5Every promise from the faithful God
is pure and proves to be true.
He is a wrap-around shield of protection for all his lovers
who run to hide in him.
6Never add to his words,
or he will have to rebuke you and prove that you’re a liar.
7God, there are two things I’m asking you for before I die, only two:
8Empty out of my heart everything that is false—
every lie, and every crooked thing.
And give me neither undue poverty nor undue wealth—
but rather, feed my soul with the measure of prosperity
that pleases you.
9May my satisfaction be found in you.
Don’t let me be so rich that I don’t need you
or so poor that I have to resort to dishonesty
just to make ends meet.
Then my life will never detract from bringing glory to your name.
10Never defame a servant before his master,
for you will be the guilty one
and a curse will come upon you.
11There is a generation rising that curses their fathers
and speaks evil of their mothers.
12There is a generation rising that considers themselves
to be pure in their own eyes,
yet they are morally filthy, unwashed, and unclean.
13There is a generation rising that is so filled with pride
they think they are superior and look down on others.
14There is a generation rising that uses their words like swords
to cut and slash those who are different.
They would devour the poor, the needy, and the afflicted
from off the face of the earth!
15There are three words to describe the greedy:
“Give me more!”
There are some things that are never satisfied.
Forever craving more, they’re unable to say, “That’s enough!”
Here are four:
16The grave, yawning for another victim,
the barren womb, ever wanting a child,
thirsty soil, ever longing for rain,
and a raging fire, devouring its fuel.
They’re all insatiable.
17The eye that mocks his father and dishonors his elderly mother
deserves to be plucked out by the ravens of the valley
and fed to the young vultures!
18There are four marvelous mysteries
that are too amazing to unravel—
who could fully explain them?
19The way an eagle flies in the sky,
the way a snake glides on a boulder,
the path of a ship as it passes through the sea,
and the way a bridegroom falls in love with his bride.
20Here is the deceptive way of the adulterous woman:
she takes what she wants and then says,
“I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Four Intolerable Things
21There are four intolerable events
that are simply unbearable to observe:
22when an unfaithful servant becomes a ruler,
when a scoundrel comes into great wealth,
23when an unfaithful woman marries a good man,
and when a mistress replaces a faithful wife.
Four Creatures Small and Wise
24The earth has four creatures that are very small but very wise:
25The feeble ant has little strength,
yet look how it diligently gathers its food in the summer
to last throughout the winter.
26The delicate rock-badger isn’t all that strong,
yet look how it makes a secure home, nestled in the rocks.
27The locusts have no king to lead them,
yet they cooperate as they move forward by bands.
28And the small lizard is easy to catch
as it clings to the walls with its hands,
yet it can be found inside a king’s palace.
Four Stately Things
29There are four stately monarchs
who are impressive to watch as they go forth:
30the lion, the king of the jungle, who is afraid of no one,
31the rooster strutting boldly among the hens,
the male goat out in front leading the herd,
and a king leading his regal procession.
32If you’ve acted foolishly by drawing attention to yourself,
or if you’ve thought about saying something stupid,
you’d better shut your mouth.
33For such stupidity may give you a bloody nose!
Stirring up an argument only leads to an angry confrontation.