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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.
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The Observations of Agur
1The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy.
The man spake unto Ith´i-el,
even unto Ith´i-el and Ucal,
2Surely I am more brutish than any man,
and have not the understanding of a man.
3I neither learned wisdom,
nor have the knowledge of the holy.
4Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended?
Who hath gathered the wind in his fists?
Who hath bound the waters in a garment?
Who hath established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?
5Every word of God is pure:
he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6Add thou not unto his words,
lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
7Two things have I required of thee;
deny me them not before I die:
8remove far from me vanity and lies;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with food convenient for me:
9lest I be full, and deny thee,
and say, Who is the Lord?
or lest I be poor, and steal,
and take the name of my God in vain.
10Accuse not a servant unto his master,
lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.
11 There is a generation that curseth their father,
and doth not bless their mother.
12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes,
and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
13 There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes!
And their eyelids are lifted up.
14 There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords,
and their jaw teeth as knives,
to devour the poor from off the earth,
and the needy from among men.
15The horseleech hath two daughters, crying, Give, give.
There are three things that are never satisfied,
yea, four things say not, It is enough:
16the grave; and the barren womb;
the earth that is not filled with water;
and the fire that saith not, It is enough.
17The eye that mocketh at his father,
and despiseth to obey his mother,
the ravens of the valley shall pick it out,
and the young eagles shall eat it.
18There be three things which are too wonderful for me,
yea, four which I know not:
19the way of an eagle in the air;
the way of a serpent upon a rock;
the way of a ship in the midst of the sea;
and the way of a man with a maid.
20Such is the way of an adulterous woman;
she eateth, and wipeth her mouth,
and saith, I have done no wickedness.
21For three things the earth is disquieted,
and for four which it cannot bear:
22for a servant when he reigneth;
and a fool when he is filled with meat;
23for an odious woman when she is married;
and a handmaid that is heir to her mistress.
24There be four things which are little upon the earth,
but they are exceeding wise:
25the ants are a people not strong,
yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
26the conies are but a feeble folk,
yet make they their houses in the rocks;
27the locusts have no king,
yet go they forth all of them by bands;
28the spider taketh hold with her hands,
and is in kings' palaces.
29There be three things which go well,
yea, four are comely in going:
30a lion, which is strongest among beasts,
and turneth not away for any;
31a greyhound; a he goat also;
and a king, against whom there is no rising up.
32If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself,
or if thou hast thought evil,
lay thine hand upon thy mouth.
33Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter,
and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood:
so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.