Sayings of Agur
The words of Agur son of Jakeh. An oracle.
All we know of Agur is found in this chapter. Not much personal information about him. But wonderful, marvelous truth from him.
Thus says the man: I am weary, O God,
I am weary, O God. How can I prevail?
2 Surely I am too stupid to be human;
I do not have human understanding.
3 I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the holy ones.
“Earthbound mortals cannot find transcendent wisdom apart from the transcendent Lord. Real wisdom must find its starting point in God’s revelation; in his light, we see light.”
4 Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in the hollow of the hand?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is the person’s name?
And what is the name of the person’s child?
Surely you know!
Most English translations ask about the name of (obviously) God’s son. “The Christian interpreter, however, cannot but think of the Son of God here and recall that he came down from above to reveal the truth to his people (John 3:31-33). Also, since ‘God’ is the only possible answer to the questions here, it is striking that the text speaks of his ‘son.’”
–Duane A. Garrett
5 Every word of God proves true;
Psalm 12:6 (ESV)
The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
or else he will rebuke you, and you will be found a liar.
7 Two things I ask of you;
do not deny them to me before I die:
8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that I need,
9 or I shall be full, and deny you,
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or I shall be poor, and steal,
and profane the name of my God.
These verses contain the only prayer in the book of Proverbs. The prayer is short and to the point. It contains two petitions, one covering the spiritual life and the other covering the physical life.
First, Agur wanted his life to be worthwhile and honest. He didn’t want it to be wasted on trivia. He didn’t want to major on minors, and he didn’t want to deceive others or to be deceived.
As to the physical, he asked to be delivered from the extremes of poverty and riches. He would be satisfied with the provision of his daily needs. He was saying, in effect, “Give me this day my daily bread.”
10 Do not slander a servant to a master,
or the servant will curse you, and you will be held guilty.
11 There are those who curse their fathers
and do not bless their mothers.
The generation that disobeys God’s command to honor father and mother (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:2) puts its folly on full display. That generation sows seeds of conflict that will grow into a bitter harvest of personal and community strife.
12 There are those who are pure in their own eyes
yet are not cleansed of their filthiness.
13 There are those—how lofty are their eyes,
how high their eyelids lift!—
14 there are those whose teeth are swords,
whose teeth are knives,
to devour the poor from off the earth,
the needy from among mortals.
Verses 15-31: This section contains five numerical sayings, each in the “three plus one” format — a literary formula used to produce a sense of climax. Each set of sayings reflects on observations from nature and ties them to human life. Sometimes, the connections between the items in the list are difficult to discern. Perhaps the riddle-like quality of the connection is meant to remind us that we can’t always discern God’s wisdom because our capacity to understand is limited to those aspects which God chooses to reveal.
15 The leech has two daughters;
“Give, give,” they cry.
Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough”:
16 Sheol, the barren womb,
the earth ever thirsty for water,
and the fire that never says, “Enough.”
17 The eye that mocks a father
and scorns to obey a mother
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley
and eaten by the vultures.
18 Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a girl.
20 This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats, and wipes her mouth,
and says, “I have done no wrong.”
21 Under three things the earth trembles;
under four it cannot bear up:
22 a slave when he becomes king,
and a fool when glutted with food;
23 an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
and a maid when she succeeds her mistress.
24 Four things on earth are small,
yet they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are a people without strength,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 the badgers are a people without power,
yet they make their homes in the rocks;
27 the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
28 the lizard can be grasped in the hand,
yet it is found in kings’ palaces.
29 Three things are stately in their stride;
four are stately in their gait:
30 the lion, which is mightiest among wild animals
and does not turn back before any;
31 the strutting rooster, the he-goat,
and a king striding before his people.
32 If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.
33 For as pressing milk produces curds,
and pressing the nose produces blood,
so pressing anger produces strife.
Choose one proverb from this chapter, which fits your life today. Memorize it. Read it aloud several times, emphasizing a different word each time. Close your eyes and recite it. Repeat this process several times until you are confident you know it. Pray and ask God to bring it to mind several times today. Recite it mentally each time it occurs to you. At the end of the day, take a moment to consider how it has applied to your life. Repeat indefinitely!
What a wonderful God our God is! HERE is “You Are God Alone” by Phillips, Craig & Dean.