The message of Agur son of Jakeh. An oracle. I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God.
I am too ignorant to be human, and I lack common sense.
I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.
Who 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!
Every word of God proves true. He defends all who come to him for protection.
Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you, and you will be found a liar.
O God, I beg two favors from you before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For 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.
Never slander a person to his employer. If you do, the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.
Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother.
They feel pure, but they are filthy and unwashed.
They are proud beyond description and disdainful.
They devour the poor with teeth as sharp as swords or knives. They destroy the needy from the face of the earth.
The leech has two suckers that cry out, "More, more!" There are three other things -- no, four! -- that are never satisfied:
the grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire.
The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.
There are three things that amaze me -- no, four things I do not understand:
how 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.
Equally amazing is how an adulterous woman can satisfy her sexual appetite, shrug her shoulders, and then say, "What's wrong with that?"
There are three things that make the earth tremble -- no, four it cannot endure:
a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers,
a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress.
There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise:
Ants -- they aren't strong, but they store up food for the winter.
Rock badgers -- they aren't powerful, but they make their homes among the rocky cliffs.
Locusts -- they have no king, but they march like an army in ranks.
Lizards -- they are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings' palaces.
There are three stately monarchs on the earth -- no, four:
the lion, king of animals, who won't turn aside for anything,
the strutting rooster, the male goat, a king as he leads his army.
If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, don't brag about it -- cover your mouth with your hand in shame.
As the beating of cream yields butter, and a blow to the nose causes bleeding, so anger causes quarrels.
These are the sayings of King Lemuel, an oracle that his mother taught him.
O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my promises,
do not spend your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.
And it is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave liquor.
For if they drink, they may forget their duties and be unable to give justice to those who are oppressed.
Liquor is for the dying, and wine for those in deep depression.
Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies.
Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
She will not hinder him but help him all her life.
She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
She is like a merchant's ship; she brings her food from afar.
She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day's work for her servant girls.
She goes out to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
She watches for bargains; her lights burn late into the night.
Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
She has no fear of winter for her household because all of them have warm clothes.
She quilts her own bedspreads. She dresses like royalty in gowns of finest cloth.
Her husband is well known, for he sits in the council meeting with the other civic leaders.
She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future.
When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions.
She carefully watches all that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness.
Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
"There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!"
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.
Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)