Remove far from me vanity and lies
This is the "first" request, to be preserved from sin, in general; which is a vain, lying, and deceitful thing; promising pleasure, profit, liberty, and impunity, which it does not give. Agur desires to have vain thoughts removed out of his mind, vain words from his mouth, and vain actions from his life and conversation; to have his eyes turned from beholding vanity, and his feet from walking in it; and his affections taken off from the vain things of the world, the lusts, pleasures, profits, and honours of it; as well as to be kept from all errors and false doctrines, which are lies in hypocrisy; with which men that lie in wait to deceive would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect: Agur conscious of his own weakness, and proneness to evil, desires the Lord would not lead him into temptation, but deliver him from all evil, doctrinal and practical. Some understand this of the forgiveness of sin; which is sometimes expressed by a putting or removing it away, ( 2 Samuel 7:13 ) ( Psalms 103:12 ) ; give me neither poverty nor riches;
this is the "second" request, not to be extremely poor nor too rich; but to be in a middle state between both, neither rich nor poor; which Horace F2 calls the golden mean, and which Agur wisely judged to be the happiest state; most free from care, least liable to temptation, and the best situation to serve the Lord in: a like wish was made by Theognis F3, I neither love to be rich,
``nor desire it; but to live on a little, having no evil;''so Martial F4. Both riches and poverty are of God; men are rich or poor, as the Lord pleases; he suffers poverty in some, and gives riches to others: Agur deprecates both, as having their separate, peculiar, snares and temptations; though no doubt this request was made with submission to the will of God; and not as considering either of them as evils in themselves, but as they might be attended with bad consequences, and what is next mentioned being more eligible; feed me with food convenient for me;
not merely what was agreeable to his palate, suitable to his constitution, and sufficient for nature; nor for him personally, but for his family also; and what was proper and suitable to the condition and circumstances in which he was, and to the rank and quality he held, whether in a more private or in a more public capacity. Some render it, "the food of my allowance" F5; what is allotted and appointed for me It seems to be the same which Job calls his "necessary food", and Christ "our daily bread": it takes in both food and raiment, which having, men should be contented with; see ( Job 23:12 ) ( Matthew 6:11 ) ( 1 Timothy 6:8 ) . The allusion seems to be to the stated measure of food allowed to servants by the day, or rather by the month, called "demensum", and which was but small and scanty F6; yet with this Agur could be content.
F2 Camin. l. 2. Ode 10. v. 5.
F3 Sententiae, v. 1151, 1152.
F4 "Nunquam divitias deos rogavi, contentus modicis, meoque laetus; paupertas, veniam dabis, recede", Epigr. l. 4. Ep. 65.
F5 (yqx Mxl) "panem statuti mei", Montanus; "demensi mei", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens.
F6 Vid. Juvenal. Sat. 14. v. 126. & Not. in ibid.