Proverbs 30

The Words of Agur

1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the oracle. The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal:
2 Surely I am more 1stupid than any man, And I do not have the understanding of a man.
3 Neither have I learned wisdom, Nor do I have the 2knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has 3ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the 4wind in His fists? Who has 5wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has 6established all the ends of the earth? What is His 7name or His son's name? Surely you know!
5 Every 8word of God is tested; He is a 9shield to those who take refuge in Him.
6 10Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.
7 Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the 11food that is my portion,
9 That I not be 12full and deny 13You and say, "Who is the LORD?" Or that I not be 14in want and steal, And 15profane the name of my God.
10 Do not slander a slave to his master, Or he will 16curse you and you will be found guilty.
11 There is a kind of man who 17curses his father And does not bless his mother.
12 There is a kind who is 18pure in his own eyes, Yet is not washed from his filthiness.
13 There is a kind -oh how 19lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance.
14 There is a kind of man whose 20teeth are like swords And his 21jaw teeth like knives, To 22devour the afflicted from the earth And the needy from among men.
15 The leech has two daughters, "Give," "Give." There are three things that will not be satisfied, Four that will not say, "Enough ":
16 23Sheol, and the 24barren womb, Earth that is never satisfied with water, And fire that never says, "Enough."
17 The eye that 25mocks a father And 26scorns * a mother, The 27ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young 28eagles will eat it.
18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Four which I do not understand:
19 The way of an 29eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid.
20 This is the way of an 30adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, "I have done no wrong."
21 Under three things the earth quakes, And under four, it cannot * bear up:
22 Under a 31slave when he becomes king, And a fool when he is satisfied with food,
23 Under an unloved woman when she gets a husband, And a maidservant when she supplants her mistress.
24 Four things are small on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise:
25 The 32ants are not a strong people, But they prepare their food in the summer;
26 The 33shephanim are not mighty people, Yet they make their houses in the rocks;
27 The locusts have no king, Yet all of them go out in 34ranks;
28 The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings' palaces.
29 There are three things which are stately in their march, Even four which are stately when they walk:
30 The lion which is 35mighty among beasts And does not 36retreat before * any,
31 The strutting * rooster, the male goat also, And a king when his army is with him.
32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself Or if you have plotted evil, 37put your hand on your mouth.
33 For the churning of milk produces butter, And pressing the nose brings forth blood; So the churning of 38anger produces strife.

Proverbs 30 Commentary

Chapter 30

Verses 1-6 Agur speaks of himself as wanting a righteousness, and having done very foolishly. And it becomes us all to have low thoughts of ourselves. He speaks of himself as wanting revelation to guide him in the ways of truth and wisdom. The more enlightened people are, the more they lament their ignorance; the more they pray for clearer, still clearer discoveries of God, and his rich grace in Christ Jesus. In ver. Verse 4 , there is a prophetic notice of Him who came down from heaven to be our Instructor and Saviour, and then ascended into heaven to be our Advocate. The Messiah is here spoken of as a Person distinct from the Father, but his name as yet secret. The great Redeemer, in the glories of his providence and grace, cannot be found out to perfection. Had it not been for Christ, the foundations of the earth had sunk under the load of the curse upon the ground, for man's sin. Who, and what is the mighty One that doeth all this? There is not the least ground to suspect anything wanting in the word of God; adding to his words opens the way to errors and corruptions.

Verses 7-9 Agur wisely prayed for a middle state, that he might be kept at a distance from temptations; he asked daily bread suited to his station, his family, and his real good. There is a remarkable similarity between this prayer and several clauses of the Lord's prayer. If we are removed from vanity and lies; if we are interested in the pardoning love of Christ, and have him for our portion; if we walk with God, then we shall have all we can ask or think, as to spiritual things. When we consider how those who have abundance are prone to abuse the gift, and what it is to suffer want, Agur's prayer will ever be found a wise one, though seldom offered. Food convenient; what is so for one, may not be so for another; but we may be sure that our heavenly Father will supply all our need, and not suffer us to want anything good for us; and why should we wish for more?

Verse 10 Slander not a servant to his master, accuse him not in small matters, to make mischief. ( 11-14 ) . In every age there are monsters of ingratitude who ill-treat their parents. Many persuade themselves they are holy persons, whose hearts are full of sin, and who practise secret wickedness. There are others whose lofty pride is manifest. There have also been cruel monsters in every age. ( 15-17 ) . Cruelty and covetousness are two daughters of the horseleech, that still cry, "Give, give," and they are continually uneasy to themselves. Four things never are satisfied, to which these devourers are compared. Those are never rich that are always coveting. And many who have come to a bad end, have owned that their wicked courses began by despising their parents' authority. ( 18-20 ) . Four things cannot be fully known. The kingdom of nature is full of marvels. The fourth is a mystery of iniquity; the cursed arts by which a vile seducer gains the affections of a female; and the arts which a vile woman uses to conceal her wickedness. ( 21-23 ) Four sorts of persons are very troublesome. Men of low origin and base spirit, who, getting authority, become tyrants. Foolish and violent men indulging in excesses. A woman of a contentious spirit and vicious habits. A servant who has obtained undue influence. Let those whom Providence has advanced from low beginnings, carefully watch against that sin which most easily besets them. ( 24-28 ) . Four things that are little, are yet to be admired. There are those who are poor in the world, and of small account, yet wise for their souls and another world. ( 29-33 ) . We may learn from animals to go well; also to keep our temper under all provocations. We must keep the evil thought in our minds from breaking out into evil speeches. We must not stir up the passions of others. Let nothing be said or done with violence, but every thing with softness and calmness. Alas, how often have we done foolishly in rising up against the Lord our King! Let us humble ourselves before him. And having found peace with Him, let us follow peace with all men.

Cross References 38

  • 1. Psalms 49:10; Psalms 73:22; Proverbs 12:1
  • 2. Proverbs 9:10
  • 3. Psalms 68:18; John 3:13; Ephesians 4:8
  • 4. Exodus 15:10; Psalms 135:7
  • 5. Job 26:8; Job 38:8, 9
  • 6. Psalms 24:2; Isaiah 45:18
  • 7. Revelation 19:12
  • 8. Psalms 12:6; Psalms 18:30
  • 9. Psalms 3:3; Psalms 84:11; Proverbs 2:7
  • 10. Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Revelation 22:18
  • 11. Job 23:12; Matthew 6:11
  • 12. Deuteronomy 8:12; Deuteronomy 31:20; Nehemiah 9:25; Hosea 13:6
  • 13. Joshua 24:27; Job 31:28
  • 14. Proverbs 6:30
  • 15. Exodus 20:7
  • 16. Ecclesiastes 7:21
  • 17. Exodus 21:17; Proverbs 20:20
  • 18. Proverbs 16:2; Isaiah 65:5; Luke 18:11; Titus 1:15, 16
  • 19. Proverbs 6:17; Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 5:15
  • 20. Psalms 57:4
  • 21. Job 29:17
  • 22. Psalms 14:4; Amos 8:4
  • 23. Proverbs 27:20
  • 24. Genesis 30:1
  • 25. Genesis 9:22
  • 26. Proverbs 15:20
  • 27. Deuteronomy 28:26
  • 28. Deuteronomy 28:26
  • 29. Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 48:40; Jeremiah 49:22
  • 30. Proverbs 5:6
  • 31. Proverbs 19:10; Ecclesiastes 10:7
  • 32. Proverbs 6:6
  • 33. Leviticus 11:5; Psalms 104:18
  • 34. Joel 2:7
  • 35. Judges 14:18; 2 Samuel 1:23
  • 36. Micah 5:8
  • 37. Job 21:5; Job 40:4; Micah 7:16
  • 38. Proverbs 10:12; Proverbs 29:22

Footnotes 14

  • [a]. Or "burden"
  • [b]. Lit "the"
  • [c]. Lit "words of falsehood"
  • [d]. Or "generation"
  • [e]. Or "generation"
  • [f]. Or "generation"
  • [g]. Or "generation"
  • [h]. I.e. The nether world
  • [i]. Lit "despises to obey"
  • [j]. Small, shy, furry animals "(Hyrax syriacus)" found in the peninsula of the Sinai, northern Israel, and the region round the Dead Sea; KJV "coney," orig NASB "badgers"
  • [k]. Lit "turn back"
  • [l]. Lit "girt in the loins"
  • [m]. Lit "pressing"
  • [n]. Lit "pressing"

Chapter Summary


This chapter begins with a prophecy of Elijah, that there should be want of rain for some years to come, and he is directed to go first to the brook Cherith, where he should be fed by ravens, 1Ki 17:1-7, and afterwards he is sent to a widow at Zarephath, where he, she, and her son, were supported for a considerable time with a handful of meal, and a little oil in a cruse miraculously increased, 1Ki 17:8-16, whose son falling sick and dying, he restored to life, 1Ki 17:17-24.

Proverbs 30 Commentaries

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