The Sayings of Agur
1The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.# Or son of Jakeh from Massa; or son of Jakeh, an oracle.
I am weary, O God;
I am weary and worn out, O God.# The Hebrew can also be translated The man declares this to Ithiel, / to Ithiel and to Ucal.
2I am too stupid to be human,
and I lack common sense.
3I have not mastered human wisdom,
nor do I know the Holy One.
4Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
Who holds the wind in his fists?
Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
Who has created the whole wide world?
What is his name—and his son’s name?
Tell me if you know!
5Every word of God proves true.
He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
6Do not add to his words,
or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.
7O God, I beg two favors from you;
let me have them before I die.
8First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
9For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the lord?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
10Never slander a worker to the employer,
or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.
11Some people curse their father
and do not thank their mother.
12They are pure in their own eyes,
but they are filthy and unwashed.
13They look proudly around,
casting disdainful glances.
14They have teeth like swords
and fangs like knives.
They devour the poor from the earth
and the needy from among humanity.
15The leech has two suckers
that cry out, “More, more!”# Hebrew two daughters who cry out, “Give, give!”
There are three things that are never satisfied—
no, four that never say, “Enough!”:
16the grave,# Hebrew Sheol.
the barren womb,
the thirsty desert,
the blazing fire.
17The eye that mocks a father
and despises a mother’s instructions
will be plucked out by ravens of the valley
and eaten by vultures.
18There are three things that amaze me—
no, four things that I don’t understand:
19how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman.
20An adulterous woman consumes a man,
then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?”
21There are three things that make the earth tremble—
no, four it cannot endure:
22a slave who becomes a king,
an overbearing fool who prospers,
23a bitter woman who finally gets a husband,
a servant girl who supplants her mistress.
24There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise:
25Ants—they aren’t strong,
but they store up food all summer.
26Hyraxes# Or Coneys, or Rock badgers.—they aren’t powerful,
but they make their homes among the rocks.
27Locusts—they have no king,
but they march in formation.
28Lizards—they are easy to catch,
but they are found even in kings’ palaces.
29There are three things that walk with stately stride—
no, four that strut about:
30the lion, king of animals, who won’t turn aside for anything,
31the strutting rooster,
the male goat,
a king as he leads his army.
32If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil,
cover your mouth in shame.
33As the beating of cream yields butter
and striking the nose causes bleeding,
so stirring up anger causes quarrels.