The words of Agur the son of Jakeh
Here begins, according to Aben Ezra, the fourth part of this book; though, according to others, it is the fifth; (See Gill on Proverbs 22:17); Who this Agur was is a matter of doubt; some of the Jewish writers, as Jarchi and Gersom, and likewise some Christian writers F6, take him to be Solomon himself, who calls himself Agur, which is said to signify "a gatherer"; and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "the words of the gatherer, the son of the vomiter"; just as he calls himself Koheleth, or "the caller", or "preacher", ( Ecclesiastes 1:1 Ecclesiastes 1:12 ) . The reason given of this name is, because he gathered wisdom and the law F7; or, as Jarchi, he gathered wisdom, and vomited it; that is, delivered it out to others; so he did, he sought after and attained to more wisdom than any before him, for he was wiser than all men; and it may be added, that he "gathered" silver and gold, and the treasure of kings, and increased in riches more than any before him, ( Ecclesiastes 1:13 Ecclesiastes 1:16 ) ( 2:8 ) . But then all this does not agree with the person whose words these are; for he speaks of himself as being very ignorant, and as not having learned wisdom, ( Proverbs 30:2 Proverbs 30:3 ) ; and desires neither poverty nor riches, ( Proverbs 30:8 ) ; besides, the word "Agur" signifies not "a gatherer", but "gathered", as Hillerus F8 renders it; and so Cocceius, who thinks also that Solomon is meant, yet not for the above reasons, but translates the clause thus, "the words of the recollected son of the obedient"; as if it described Solomon the son of David, the obedient one, the man after God's own heart, when he was restored by repentance; but it seems better, with Aben Ezra, to understand this of some very good, knowing, and worthy man, who lived in those times, either before the times of Solomon, or in the same, whose pithy sayings and sentences he had a great regard for, and joined them to his own; or who lived in the times of Hezekiah, or before, whose proverbs were collected by his men, and added to those of Solomon's they had copied in the preceding chapters; see ( Proverbs 25:1 ) ; [even] the prophecy;
or "burden" F9, as many of the prophecies are called; it designs something received from the Lord, taken up and carried to others; so Balaam is said to "take up his parable", ( Numbers 23:7 ) . Here it does not design a prediction of future events, unless it can be thought that there is in the following words a prophecy of the Messiah; but an instruction, a declaration of things useful and profitable; so preaching in the New Testament is called prophesying often, ( 1 Corinthians 14:1 1 Corinthians 14:3 1 Corinthians 14:4 ) . This is a part of the word of God, of the prophecy which came not by the will of man, but by the inspiration of God, ( 2 Peter 1:19-21 ) ; which prophecy the man spake,
this excellent good man Agur, who was divinely inspired; see ( Numbers 24:3 ) ( 2 Samuel 23:1 ) ; unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal;
who were either the children of Agur, whom he instructed in the knowledge of divine things; or they were, as Aben Ezra, either his companions with whom he conversed about sacred things, or his disciples who inquired of him about these things, and learned them of him. Some think F11 these are titles of God himself, to whom Agur directs his speech, and acknowledges his ignorance of the divine Being, whom he might justly call Ithiel and Ucal, that is, "God with me", and "the mighty One"; and certain it is that Agur does direct a prayer to God, ( Proverbs 30:7-9 ) ; And some read these words themselves as a prayer, "let God be with me, and one shall prevail" F12, that is, over all mine enemies; for, if God is on the side of his people, who shall be against them? or, "I shall be able" to do all things through the Lord's strength, ( Romans 8:31 ) ( Philippians 4:13 ) ; But I rather think the words should be read, as Jarchi observes, "concerning Ithiel and Ucal" F13; that is, concerning the Messiah, to whom these names agree. Ithiel, or "God with me", is very similar to a phrase used by Christ himself in the days of his flesh, ( John 8:29 ) ( 16:32 ) . God was with him as the eternal Word, and his only begotten Son, from all eternity, which denotes his co-existence, nearness of union, equality of nature, and distinction of persons; he was with him as Mediator before the world began, in the council of peace, which was between them both; in the covenant of grace made with him, in which all things were agreed upon respecting the salvation of his people; he was with him in the beginning of time down to his incarnation; he was with him in the creation of all things, in the sustentation of them; in the works of providence, and in the government of the church; he was with him during his state of humiliation; in his infancy, to protect him from the malice of Herod; he was with him when disputing with the doctors in the temple, to direct him; he was with him at his baptism, transfiguration, and other times; he was with him throughout his public ministry, from the beginning to the end of it; he did good and healed all manner of diseases, and wrought amazing miracles, God being with him, ( John 3:2 ) ( Acts 10:38 ) ; and he was with him in his sufferings and at his death; and so he is with him in his exalted state; he raised him from the dead, set him at his own right hand, and ever attends to his prevalent intercession; and will be with him in raising the dead and judging the world. "Ucal", which has the signification of being able, strong, mighty, and powerful, agrees with Christ, who is the mighty God the most mighty, the Almighty; and which appears by the works he did before his incarnation, as the creation of all things out of nothing, the preservation of all things, and the several wonderful events in which he was; concerned, as the confusion of languages, the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, the conducting the children of Israel through the wilderness, with others; also what he did when here on earth, the mighty works and miracles done by him, and especially the great work of man's redemption, and also the raising of himself from the dead: moreover, what he now does and will do for his people show him to be the mighty One; taking the care of all the churches and providing for them; supplying all the wants of his people, bearing all their burdens, supporting them under all their temptations, and delivering them out of them; strengthening them for his service, protecting them from their enemies, keeping them from falling, raising their dead bodies, and bringing all the sons of God to glory: or if the word should be rendered, as it may, "eaten" or "consumed" F14, it is true of Christ, whose zeal ate him up, ( Psalms 69:9 ) ; and who is the antitype of the sacrifice consumed by fire.
F6 De Dieu, Cocceius, Teelman. Specimen. Explicat. Parabot. p. 378.
F7 Jelammedenu apud Buxtorf. Lex. Rab. col. 26.
F8 Onomastic. Sacr. p. 39.
F9 (avmh) "onus", Mercerus; "prophetia gravis", Tigurine version.
F11 Jermin in loc.
F12 See Trapp in loc.
F13 So Junius & Tremellius, Aamama, Calovius, Cartwright.
F14 Vid. Teelman. Specimen. Expliicat. Parabol. p. 391.