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The Words of Agur
1The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle. # Or son of Jakeh from Massa ; Pr 31:1 # Nm 24:3; Pr 31:1; Nah 1:1; Hab 1:1; Zch 9:1; Mal 1:1
The man’s oration to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal: # Hb uncertain. Sometimes read with different word division as oration: I am weary, God, I am weary, God, and I am exhausted, or oration: I am not God, I am not God, that I should prevail. LXX reads My son, fear my words and when you have received them repent. The man says these things to the believers in God, and I pause.
2I am more stupid than any other man, # Lit I am more stupid than a man
and I lack man’s ability to understand. # 1Kg 3:7
3I have not gained wisdom,
and I have no knowledge of the Holy One. # Pr 9:10
4Who has gone up to heaven and come down? # Jn 3:13; Eph 4:9-10
Who has gathered the wind in His hands?
Who has bound up the waters in a cloak? # Jb 26:8; 38:9
Who has established all the ends of the earth? # Jb 38:4-5; Ps 93:1; 119:90; Is 45:18
What is His name,
and what is the name of His Son —
if you know? # Mt 11:27; Rv 19:12-13
5Every word of God is pure; # Lit refined # Ps 12:6; 18:30
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. # Ps 3:3
6Don’t add to His words, # Dt 4:2; 12:32; Rv 22:18
or He will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar. # Dt 18:22
7Two things I ask of You;
don’t deny them to me before I die:
8Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.
Give me neither poverty nor wealth;
feed me with the food I need. # Jb 23:12; Mt 6:11; Php 4:11-12
9Otherwise, I might have too much # Dt 6:10-12; 8:11-14
and deny You, # Jos 24:27; Jb 31:28 saying, “Who is the Lord? ” # Ex 5:2
or I might have nothing and steal, # Ex 20:5; Eph 4:28
profaning # Lit grabbing the name of my God. # Lv 19:11-12
10Don’t slander a servant to his master
or he will curse you, # Ec 7:21 and you will become guilty.
11There is a generation that curses its father
and does not bless its mother. # Ex 21:17; Pr 20:20
12There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, # Pr 16:2; Lk 18:11
yet is not washed from its filth.
13There is a generation — how haughty its eyes
and pretentious its looks. # Lit and its eyelids lifted up
14There is a generation whose teeth are swords, # Ps 57:4
whose fangs are knives, # Jb 29:17
devouring the oppressed from the land # Ps 14:4
and the needy from among mankind.
15The leech has two daughters: “Give, Give!”
Three things # Pr 6:16; 30:18,21,29 are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough! ”:
16Sheol; # Pr 27:20; Hab 2:5 a childless womb; # Gn 30:1
earth, which is never satisfied with water;
and fire, which never says, “Enough! ”
17As for the eye that ridicules a father # Gn 9:22
and despises obedience to a mother,
may ravens of the valley pluck it out
and young vultures eat it. # Dt 28:26
18Three things are beyond me;
four I can’t understand:
19the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship at sea,
and the way of a man with a young woman.
20This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats and wipes her mouth
and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong.” # Pr 28:24; 1Jn 1:8
21The earth trembles under three things;
it cannot bear up under four:
22a servant when he becomes king, # Pr 19:10; Ec 10:7
a fool when he is stuffed with food,
23an unloved woman when she marries, # Gn 29:30-31; Dt 21:15
and a servant girl when she ousts her queen.
24Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
25the ants are not a strong people,
yet they store up their food in the summer; # Pr 6:6-8
26hyraxes are not a mighty people,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs; # Lv 11:5; Ps 104:18
27locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in ranks; # Jl 2:7-8
28a lizard # Or spider can be caught in your hands,
yet it lives in kings’ palaces.
29Three things are stately in their stride,
even four are stately in their walk:
30a lion, which is mightiest among beasts
and doesn’t retreat before anything,
31a strutting rooster, # Or a greyhound a goat,
and a king at the head of his army. # LXX reads king addressing his people
32If you have been foolish by exalting yourself
or if you’ve been scheming,
put your hand over your mouth. # Jb 21:5; Mc 7:16
33For the churning of milk produces butter,
and twisting a nose draws blood,
and stirring up anger produces strife. # Pr 10:12; 29:22
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.