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.