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Words of Agur
1The words of Agur, Jakeh’s son, from Massa.
The man declares: I’m tired, God;
I’m tired, God, and I’m exhausted.
2Actually, I’m too stupid to be human,
a man without understanding.
3I haven’t learned wisdom,
nor do I have knowledge of the holy one.
4Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind by the handful?
Who has bound up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is this person’s name and the name of this person’s child—
if you know it?
5All God’s words are tried and true;
a shield for those who take refuge in him.
6Don’t add to his words,
or he will correct you and show you to be a liar.
7Two things I ask of you;
don’t keep them from me before I die:
8Fraud and lies—
keep far from me!
Don’t give me either poverty or wealth;
give me just the food I need.
9Or I’ll be full and deny you,
and say, "Who is the LORD?"
Or I’ll be poor and steal,
and dishonor my God’s name.
More sayings of the wise
10Don’t slander a servant to his master;
otherwise, the servant will curse you, and you will be guilty.
11There are those who curse their father
and don’t bless their mother.
12There are those who think they are clean,
but haven’t washed off their own excrement.
13There are those—
how arrogant are their eyes;
how their eyebrows are raised!
14There are those whose teeth are swords;
their jaw is a butcher’s knife,
ready to devour the needy from the earth,
and the poor from humanity.
15The leech has two daughters: “Give, give!”
There are three things that are never satisfied,
four that never say, “Enough!”:
16the grave#Heb Sheol and a barren womb,
a land never filled with water,
and fire that doesn’t say, “Enough!”
17An eye that mocks a father
and rejects obedience to a mother,
may the ravens of the river valley peck it out,
and the eagle’s young eat it.
18Three things are too wonderful for me,
four that I can’t figure out:
19the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on the rock,
the way of a ship out on the open sea,
and the way of a man with a young woman.
20This is the way of an adulterous woman:
she eats and wipes her mouth,
and she says, "I’ve done nothing wrong!"
21At three things the earth trembles,
at four it can’t bear up:
22at a servant when he becomes king
and fools when they are full of food;
23at a detested woman when she gets married
and a female servant when she replaces her mistress.
24Four things are among the smallest on earth,
but they are extremely wise:
25Ants as creatures aren’t strong,
but they store away their food in the summer.
26Badgers as creatures aren’t powerful,
but they make their homes in the rocks.
27Locusts don’t have a king,
but they march together in ranks.
28You can catch lizards in your hand,
but they are in kings’ palaces.
29There are three things that are excellent in their stride,
four that are excellent as they walk:
30a lion, a warrior among beasts,
which doesn’t back down at anything;
31the strut of a rooster or a male goat;
and a king with his army.
32If you’ve been foolish and arrogant,
if you’ve been scheming,
put your hand to your mouth,
33because churning milk makes curds,
squeezing the nose brings blood,
and stirring up anger produces strife.
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.