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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.
The Oracle of Agur
1The words of Agur, son of Yakeh, the oracle.
Thus says the man to Ithiel, to Ithiel, and Ucal:#Or “I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out”
2Certainly I am more stupid than a man,
and the understanding of humankind is not for me.
3And I have not learned wisdom,
nor will I know knowledge of the Holy One.#Or “holy ones”
4Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in the hollow of his hand?
Who has wrapped water in a#Hebrew “the” garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name and what is the name of his child?
For surely you know.
5Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield for him who takes refuge in him.
6Do not add to his words
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
7Two things I ask from you;
do not deny me before I die:
8Keep falsehood and a lying word#Literally “word of a lie” far from me;
do not give me poverty or wealth;
provide me with food only for my need.
9Or else I will be satisfied and will deny him
and say “Who is Yahweh?”
Or#Or “Lest” I will be poor and will steal
and profane the name of my God.
10Do not slander a servant to his master,
or else he will curse you and you will be guilty.
11There is a generation that will curse its father,
and its mother it will not bless.
12There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,
but from its filthiness it will not be cleansed.
13There is a generation—how lofty are their eyes!
And their eyelids they will lift.
14There is a generation whose teeth are swords,
and its jawbones, knives,
in order to devour the poor from the earth#Or “land”
and the needy from humankind.
15For the leech, there are two daughters;
“Give, give!” they cry.
As for three of these, they are not satisfied;
as for four, they do not say enough.
16Sheol#A term for the place where the dead reside, i.e., the Underworld and barrenness of womb,
the land is not satisfied with water,
and fire does not say “enough!”
17The eye that mocks a father
and scorns the obedience of a mother—
the ravens of the valley will peck it out,
and the offspring of vultures will eat it.
18Three of these are too wonderful for me,
and four, I do not understand them:
19the way of the eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship in the heart of the sea,
and the way of a man with a young woman.
20This is the way of a woman committing adultery:
she eats and wipes her mouth,
and says “I have not done wrong.”
21Under three things the earth#Or “land” trembles,
and under four, it is not able to bear up:
22under a slave when he becomes king,
and a fool when he is satisfied with food;
23under an unloved woman when she gets married,
and a maid when she succeeds her mistress.
24There are four small things on the earth,
and they are exceedingly wise:#Literally “wise ones from wise ones”
25The ants are a people who are not strong,
yet they prepare their food in the summer;
26the badgers are a people who are not mighty,
yet they set their house on the rock;
27there is no king for the locust,
yet it marches in rank;
28a lizard you can seize with hands,
yet it is in palaces of kings.
29There are three things that are magnificent of stride,
and four that are magnificent when moving:
30a mighty lion among the beasts,#Hebrew “beasts”
but he will not turn back from any face;#Literally “faces of all”
31a strutting rooster or he-goat,
and a king whose army is with him.
32If you have been foolish by exalting yourself,
and if you have devised evil, put your hand to your mouth.
33For pressing milk produces curd,
and pressing the nose produces blood,
so pressing anger#Literally “nostrils” produces strife.