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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.
1 The words of the Gatherer, the son of the Vomiter. The vision that the man spoke. God is with him, and he, being strengthened by God and abiding with him, said:
2 "I am the most foolish among men, and the wisdom of men is not with me.
3 I have not learned wisdom, and I have not known the knowledge of sanctity.
4 Who has ascended to heaven and also descended? Who has grasped the wind in his hands? Who has tied the waters together, as with a garment? Who has raised all the limits of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son, if you know?
5 Every word of God is fire-tested. He is a bronze shield to those who hope in him.
6 Do not add anything to his words, lest you be reproved and be discovered to be a liar.
7 Two things I have asked of you; do not deny them to me before I die.
8 Remove, far from me, vanity and lying words. Give me neither begging, nor wealth. Apportion to me only the necessities of my life,
9 lest perhaps, being filled, I might be enticed into denial, and say: 'Who is the Lord?' Or, being compelled by destitution, I might steal, and then perjure myself in the name of my God.
10 Do not accuse a servant to his lord, lest he curse you, and you fall.
11 There is a generation which curses their father, and which does not bless their mother.
12 There is a generation which seems pure to themselves, and yet they are not even washed from their filthiness.
13 There is a generation, whose eyes have been elevated, and their eyelids are lifted on high.
14 There is a generation which has swords in place of teeth, and which commands their molars to devour the indigent from the earth and the poor from among men.
15 The leech has two daughters, who say, 'Bring, bring.' Three things are insatiable, and a fourth never says 'Enough':
16 Hell, and the mouth of the womb, and a land that is not filled with water. And truly, fire never says, 'Enough.'
17 The eye of one who mocks his father and who despises the childbearing of his mother, let the ravens of the torrent tear it out, and let the sons of the eagles consume it.
18 Three things are difficult for me, and about a fourth, I am nearly ignorant:
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 in adolescence.
20 Such is the way also of an adulterous woman, who eats, and wiping her mouth, says: "I have done no evil."
21 By three things, the earth is moved, and a fourth it is not able to sustain:
22 by a slave when he reigns, by the foolish when he has been filled with food,
23 by a hateful woman when she has been taken in matrimony, and by a handmaid when she has been heir to her mistress.
24 Four things are least upon the earth, and they are wiser than the wise:
25 the ants, an infirm people who provide food for themselves at the harvest,
26 the rabbit, a sickened people who make their bed upon the rock.
27 The locust has no king, but they all depart by their troops.
28 The lizard supports itself on hands and dwells in the buildings of kings.
29 There are three things that advance well, and a fourth that marches happily on:
30 a lion, the strongest of beasts, who fears nothing that he meets,
31 a rooster prepared at the loins, likewise a ram, and a king, whom none can resist.
32 There is one who has appeared foolish, after he was lifted up on high; for if he had understood, he would have placed his hand over his mouth.
33 But whoever strongly squeezes the udder to bring out the milk, presses out butter. And whoever violently blows his nose, brings out blood. And whoever provokes wrath, brings forth discord."