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The Sayings of Agur
1These are the sayings
and the message
of Agur son of Jakeh.
Someone cries out to God,
“I am completely worn out!
How can I last?#30.1 last: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 1.
2I am far too stupid
to be considered human.
3I never was wise,
and I don't understand
what God is like.”
4 # 3 Macc 2.15. Has anyone gone up to heaven
and come back down?
Has anyone grabbed hold
of the wind?
Has anyone wrapped up the sea
or marked out boundaries
for the earth?
If you know of any
who have done such things,
then tell me their names
and their children's names.
5Everything God says is true—
and it's a shield for all
who come to him for safety.
6Don't change what God has said!
He will correct you and show
that you are a liar.
7There are two things, Lord,
I want you to do for me
before I die:
8Make me absolutely honest
and don't let me be too poor
or too rich.
Give me just what I need.
9If I have too much to eat,
I might forget about you;
if I don't have enough,
I might steal
and disgrace your name.
10Don't tell a slave owner
something bad about one
of the slaves.
That slave will curse you,
and you will be in trouble.
11Some people curse their father
and even their mother;
12others think they are perfect,
but they are stained by sin.
13Some people are stuck-up
and act like snobs;
14others are so greedy
that they gobble up
the poor and homeless.
15Greed#30.15 Greed: Or “A leech.” has twins,
each named “Give me!”
There are three or four things
that are never satisfied:
16The world of the dead
and a childless wife,
the thirsty earth
and a flaming fire.
17Don't make fun of your father
or disobey your mother—
crows will peck out your eyes,
and buzzards will eat
the rest of you.
18There are three or four things
I cannot understand:
19 # Ws 5.10-12. How eagles fly so high
or snakes crawl on rocks,
how ships sail the ocean
or people fall in love.
20An unfaithful wife says,
“Sleeping with another man
is as natural as eating.”
21There are three or four things
that make the earth tremble
and are unbearable:
22A slave who becomes king,
a fool who eats too much,
23a hateful woman
who finds a husband,
and a slave who takes the place
of the woman who owns her.
24On this earth four things
are small but very wise:
25Ants, who seem to be feeble,
but store up food
all summer long;
26badgers, who seem to be weak,
but live among the rocks;
27locusts, who have no king,
but march like an army;
28lizards,#30.28 lizards: Or “spiders.” which can be caught
in your hand,
but sneak into palaces.
29Three or four creatures
really strut around:
30Those fearless lions
who rule the jungle,
31those proud roosters,
those mountain goats,
and those rulers
who have no enemies.#30.31 enemies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 31.
32If you are foolishly bragging
or planning something evil,
then stop it now!
33If you churn milk
you get butter;
if you pound on your nose,
you get blood—
and if you stay angry,
you get in 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.