Wise Words from Agur
1These are the words of Agur son of Jakeh.
This is his message to Ithiel and Ucal:
2“I am the most stupid person there is,
and I have no understanding.
3I have not learned to be wise,
and I don’t know much about God, the Holy One.
4Who has gone up to heaven and come back down?
Who can hold the wind in his hand?
Who can gather up the waters in his coat?
Who has set in place the ends of the earth?
What is his name or his son’s name?
Tell me, if you know!
5“Every word of God is true.
He guards those who come to him for safety.
6Do not add to his words,
or he will correct you and prove you are a liar.
7“I ask two things from you, Lord.
Don’t refuse me before I die.
8Keep me from lying and being dishonest.
And don’t make me either rich or poor;
just give me enough food for each day.
9If I have too much, I might reject you
and say, ‘I don’t know the Lord.’
If I am poor, I might steal
and disgrace the name of my God.
10“Do not say bad things about servants to their masters,
or they will curse you, and you will suffer for it.
11“Some people curse their fathers
and do not bless their mothers.
12Some people think they are pure,
but they are not really free from evil.
13Some people have such a proud look!
They look down on others.
14Some people have teeth like swords;
their jaws seem full of knives.
They want to remove the poor from the earth
and the needy from the land.
15“Greed has two daughters
named ‘Give’ and ‘Give.’
There are three things that are never satisfied,
really four that never say, ‘I’ve had enough!’:
16the cemetery, the childless mother,
the land that never gets enough rain,
and fire that never says, ‘I’ve had enough!’
17“If you make fun of your father
and refuse to obey your mother,
the birds of the valley will peck out your eyes,
and the vultures will eat them.
18“There are three things that are too hard for me,
really four I don’t understand:
19the way an eagle flies in the sky,
the way a snake slides over a rock,
the way a ship sails on the sea,
and the way a man and a woman fall in love.
20“This is the way of a woman who takes part in adultery:
She acts as if she had eaten and washed her face;
she says, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong.’
21“There are three things that make the earth tremble,
really four it cannot stand:
22a servant who becomes a king,
a foolish person who has plenty to eat,
23a hated woman who gets married,
and a maid who replaces her mistress.
24“There are four things on earth that are small,
but they are very wise:
25Ants are not very strong,
but they store up food in the summer.
26Rock badgers are not very powerful,
but they can live among the rocks.
27Locusts have no king,
but they all go forward in formation.
28Lizards can be caught in the hand,
but they are found even in kings’ palaces.
29“There are three things that strut proudly,
really four that walk as if they were important:
30a lion, the proudest animal,
which is strong and runs from nothing,
31a rooster, a male goat,
and a king when his army is around him.
32“If you have been foolish and proud,
or if you have planned evil, shut your mouth.
33Just as stirring milk makes butter,
and twisting noses makes them bleed,
so stirring up anger causes trouble.”