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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.
1The words of Agur the son of Jakeh; the revelation:
the man says to Ithiel,
to Ithiel and Ucal:
2“Surely I am the most ignorant man,
and don’t have a man’s understanding.
3I have not learnt wisdom,
neither do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.
4Who has ascended up into heaven, and descended?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has bound the waters in his garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if you know?
5“Every word of God is flawless.
He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6Don’t you add to his words,
lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.
7“Two things I have asked of you.
Don’t deny me before I die.
8Remove far from me falsehood and lies.
Give me neither poverty nor riches.
Feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9lest I be full, deny you, and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
or lest I be poor, and steal,
and so dishonour the name of my God.
10“Don’t slander a servant to his master,
lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.
11There is a generation that curses their father,
and doesn’t bless their mother.
12There is a generation that is pure in their own eyes,
yet are not washed from their filthiness.
13There is a generation, oh how lofty are their eyes!
Their eyelids are lifted up.
14There is a generation whose teeth are like swords,
and their jaws like knives,
to devour the poor from the earth, and the needy from amongst men.
15“The leech has two daughters:
‘Give, give.’
“There are three things that are never satisfied;
four that don’t say, ‘Enough:’
16Sheol,#30:16 Sheol is the place of the dead.
the barren womb;
the earth that is not satisfied with water;
and the fire that doesn’t say, ‘Enough.’
17“The eye that mocks at his father,
and scorns obedience to his mother:
the ravens of the valley shall pick it out,
the young eagles shall eat it.
18“There are three things which are too amazing for me,
four which I don’t understand:
19The way of an eagle in the air,
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 with a maiden.
20“So is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth,
and says, ‘I have done nothing wrong.’
21“For three things the earth trembles,
and under four, it can’t bear up:
22For a servant when he is king,
a fool when he is filled with food,
23for an unloved woman when she is married,
and a servant who is heir to her mistress.
24“There are four things which are little on the earth,
but they are exceedingly wise:
25The ants are not a strong people,
yet they provide their food in the summer.
26The hyraxes are but a feeble folk,
yet make they their houses in the rocks.
27The locusts have no king,
yet they advance in ranks.
28You can catch a lizard with your hands,
yet it is in kings’ palaces.
29“There are three things which are stately in their march,
four which are stately in going:
30The lion, which is mightiest amongst animals,
and doesn’t turn away for any;
31the greyhound;
the male goat;
and the king against whom there is no rising up.
32“If you have done foolishly in lifting up yourself,
or if you have thought evil,
put your hand over your mouth.
33For as the churning of milk produces butter,
and the wringing of the nose produces blood;
so the forcing of wrath produces strife.”