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The Words of Agur
1These are the solemn words of Agur son of Jakeh:
“God is not with me, God is not with me,
and I am helpless.#30.1 Probable text “God… helpless; Hebrew unclear.
2I am more like an animal than a human being;
I do not have the sense a human being should have.
3I have never learned any wisdom,
and I know nothing at all about God.
4Who has ever mastered heavenly knowledge?
Who has ever caught the wind in his hand?
Or wrapped up water in a piece of cloth?
Or fixed the boundaries of the earth?
Who is he, if you know? Who is his son?
5“God keeps every promise he makes. He is like a shield for all who seek his protection. 6If you claim that he said something that he never said, he will reprimand you and show that you are a liar.”
More Proverbs
7I ask you, God, to let me have two things before I die: 8keep me from lying, and let me be neither rich nor poor. So give me only as much food as I need. 9If I have more, I might say that I do not need you. But if I am poor, I might steal and bring disgrace on my God.
10Never criticize servants to their master. You will be cursed and suffer for it.
11There are people who curse their fathers and do not show their appreciation for their mothers.
12There are people who think they are pure when they are as filthy as they can be.
13There are people who think they are so good — oh, how good they think they are!
14There are people who take cruel advantage of the poor and needy; that is the way they make their living.
15A leech has two daughters, and both are named “Give me!”
There are four things that are never satisfied:
16the world of the dead,
a woman without children,
dry ground that needs rain,
and a fire burning out of control.
17Those who make fun of their father or despise their mother in her old age#30.17 One ancient translation mother in her old age; Hebrew mother's obedience. ought to be eaten by vultures or have their eyes picked out by wild ravens.
18There are four things that are too mysterious for me to understand:
19an eagle flying in the sky,
a snake moving on a rock,
a ship finding its way over the sea,
and a man and a woman falling in love.
20This is how an unfaithful wife acts: she commits adultery, has a bath, and says, “But I haven't done anything wrong!”
21There are four things that the earth itself cannot tolerate:
22a slave who becomes a king,
a fool who has all he wants to eat,
23a hateful woman who gets married,
and a servant woman who takes the place of her mistress.
24There are four animals in the world that are small, but very, very clever:
25Ants: they are weak, but they store up their food in the summer.
26Rock-badgers: they are not strong either, but they make their homes among the rocks.
27Locusts: they have no king, but they move in formation.
28Lizards: you can hold one in your hand, but you can find them in palaces.
29There are four things that are impressive to watch as they walk:
30lions, strongest of all animals and afraid of none;
strutting cocks,
and kings in front of their people.#30.31 Verse 31 in Hebrew is unclear.
32If you have been foolish enough to be arrogant and plan evil, stop and think! 33If you churn milk, you get butter. If you hit someone's nose, it bleeds. If you stir up anger, you get into trouble.
1 The words of Agur, son of Jakeh. Agur’s prophetic revelation.
Agur Speaks about God
[To God]
This man’s declaration:
“I’m weary, O God.
I’m weary and worn out, O God.
2 I’m more ⌊like⌋ a dumb animal than a human being.
I don’t ⌊even⌋ have human understanding.
3 I haven’t learned wisdom.
I don’t have knowledge of the Holy One.#Or “holy ones.”
[To the audience]
4 “Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in the palm of his hand?
Who has wrapped water in a garment?
Who has set up the earth from one end to the other?
What is his name or the name of his son?
Certainly, you must know!
5 “Every word of God has proven to be true.
He is a shield to those who come to him for protection.
6 Do not add to his words,
or he will reprimand you, and you will be found to be a liar.
A Prayer
[To God]
7 “I’ve asked you for two things.
Don’t keep them from me before I die:
8 Keep vanity and lies far away from me.
Don’t give me either poverty or riches.
Feed me ⌊only⌋ the food I need,
9 or I may feel satisfied and deny you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
or I may become poor and steal
and give the name of my God a bad reputation.
Against Slander
[To the audience]
10 “Do not slander a slave to his master.
The slave will curse you,
and you will be found guilty.”
Four Kinds of People
11 A certain kind of person curses his father
and does not bless his mother.
12 A certain kind of person thinks he is pure
but is not washed from his own feces.#Blunt Hebrew term but not considered vulgar.
13 A certain kind of person looks around arrogantly
and is conceited.
14 A certain kind of person,
whose teeth are like swords
and whose jaws are ⌊like⌋ knives,
devours oppressed people from the earth
and people from among humanity.
Human Bloodsuckers
15 The bloodsucking leech has two daughters—“Give!” and “Give!”
Four Things That Are Never Satisfied
Three things are never satisfied.
Four never say, “Enough!”:
16 the grave,
a barren womb,
a land that never gets enough water,
a fire that does not say, “Enough!”
Disrespectful Children—Their Punishment
17 The eye that makes fun of a father and hates to obey a mother
will be plucked out by ravens in the valley and eaten by young vultures.
Four Things of Intrigue
18 Three things are too amazing to me,
even four that I cannot understand:
19 an eagle making its way through the sky,
a snake making its way over a rock,
a ship making its way through high seas,
a man making his way with a virgin.
About the Woman Who Commits Adultery
20 This is the way of a woman who commits adultery:
She eats, wipes her mouth,
and says, “I haven’t done anything wrong!”
Four Things That Are Intolerable
21 Three things cause the earth to tremble,
even four it cannot bear up under:
22 a slave when he becomes king,
a godless fool when he is filled with food,
23 a woman who is unloved when she gets married,
a maid when she replaces her mistress.
Four Things That Are Small—Yet Smart and Strong
24 Four things on earth are small,
yet they are very wise:
25 Ants are not a strong species,
yet they store their food in summer.
26 Rock badgers are not a mighty species,
yet they make their home in the rocks.
27 Locusts have no king,
yet all of them divide into swarms by instinct.
28 A lizard you can hold in your hands,
yet it can even be found in royal palaces.
Four Things That Move with Dignity
29 There are three things that walk with dignity,
even four that march with dignity:
30 a lion, mightiest among animals, which turns away from nothing,
31 a strutting rooster,#Hebrew meaning of this line uncertain.
a male goat,
a king at the head of his army.#Hebrew meaning of “at the head of his army” uncertain.
Keep Calm and Quiet
32 If you are such a godless fool as to honor yourself,
or if you scheme,
you had better put your hand over your mouth.
33 As churning milk produces butter
and punching a nose produces blood,
so stirring up anger #In Hebrew there is a play on words in verse 33 where the same verb is used to express all three actions. produces a fight.