The sayings1 of Agur son of Jakeh--an inspired utterance. This man's utterance to Ithiel: "I am weary, God, but I can prevail.
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Surely I am only a brute, not a man; I do not have human understanding.
I have not learned wisdom, nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.2
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Who has gone up3 to heaven and come down? Whose hands4 have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters5 in a cloak?6 Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name,7 and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!
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"Every word of God is flawless;8 he is a shield9 to those who take refuge in him.
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Do not add10 to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
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"Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.11
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Otherwise, I may have too much and disown12 you and say, 'Who is the LORD?'13 Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.14
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"Do not slander servants to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.
"There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers;15
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those who are pure in their own eyes16 and yet are not cleansed of their filth;17
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those whose eyes are ever so haughty,18 whose glances are so disdainful;
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those whose teeth19 are swords and whose jaws are set with knives20 to devour21 the poor22 from the earth and the needy from among humankind.23
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"The leech has two daughters. 'Give! Give!' they cry. "There are three things that are never satisfied,24 four that never say, 'Enough!':
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the grave,25 the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, 'Enough!'
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"The eye that mocks26 a father, that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.27
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"There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand:
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 young woman.
"This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong.'28
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"Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up:
a servant who becomes king,29 a godless fool who gets plenty to eat,
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a contemptible woman who gets married, and a servant who displaces her mistress.
"Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise:
Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer;30
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hyraxes31 are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags;
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locusts32 have no king, yet they advance together in ranks;
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a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings' palaces.
"There are three things that are stately in their stride, four that move with stately bearing:
a lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing;
a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and a king secure against revolt.
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"If you play the fool and exalt yourself, or if you plan evil, clap your hand over your mouth!33
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For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife."