Proverbs 30:2

2 Surely I am only a brute, not a man; I do not have human understanding.

Proverbs 30:2 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
2 Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.
English Standard Version (ESV)
2 Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man.
New Living Translation (NLT)
2 I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense.
The Message Bible (MSG)
2 I'm more animal than human; so-called human intelligence escapes me.
American Standard Version (ASV)
2 Surely I am more brutish than any man, And have not the understanding of a man;
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
2 I'm more [like] a dumb animal than a human being. I don't [even] have human understanding.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
2 I am the least intelligent of men, and I lack man's ability to understand.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
2 He said, "I know less than anyone. I don't understand as other men do.

Proverbs 30:2 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 30:2

Surely I am more brutish than [any] man
"Every man is [become] brutish in his knowledge"; man in his original state was a knowing creature but sinning lost his knowledge, and "became like the beasts that perish"; hence we read of the "brutish among the people": but Agur thought himself not only brutish among the rest, but more brutish than any. So Plato F15 says of some souls living on earth, that they are (yhriwdeiv) , of a brutish nature; see ( Jeremiah 10:14 ) ( Psalms 49:20 ) ( 94:8 ) . Or I think the words may be rendered, "a brute [am] I [rather] than a man" F16; have more of the brute than of the man, especially in the sight and presence of God; a very beast before him, or in comparison of other wise, holy, and good men; or with respect to the knowledge of spiritual, divine, and heavenly things, ( Psalms 73:22 ) ; or "a brute [was] I from [the time]", or "[ever since I was] a man" {q}; as soon as be was born, being born in sin, and like a wild ass's colt, ( Job 11:12 ) ; and have not the understanding of a man;
or "of Adam" F18; who was made after the image of God, which consisted in knowledge as well as holiness; who knew much of God, his nature, perfections, and persons; of the creatures, and the works of his hands and of all things in nature; but affecting more knowledge than he should lost in a great measure what he had, and brought his posterity in and left them in a state of blindness and ignorance, one of whose sons Agur was: or his meaning is, that he had not the understanding, as not of Adam in innocence, and of prophets and other eminent men of God, so not of ordinary men of those who had, he least share of the knowledge of divine things. Aben Ezra, who takes Ithiel and Ucal to be scholars or companions of Agur, supposes, that they asked him questions concerning the divine Being, nature, and perfections, to which he answers in this strain; showing his insufficiency to give them any instruction or satisfaction in such matters, or to discourse on such sublime subjects: or rather his view was to show the blindness and ignorance of human nature with respect to divine things he was about to treat of; and particularly to observe, that the knowledge of a Saviour, and salvation by him, were not from nature, and attainable by that; and that a man must first know himself, his own folly and ignorance, before he can have any true knowledge of Ithiel and Ucal, the mighty Saviour and Redeemer; of the need of him, and of interest in him. Some think his view is to prove that his words, his prophecy, or what he was about to say, or did say, must be owing entirely to divine inspiration; since he was of himself; and without a divine revelation, so very blind, dark, and ignorant; it could not be owing to any natural sagacity of his, who was more brutish than any; nor to any acquired knowledge, or the instruction of men, since he had none, as follows; and so (yk) , with which the words begin, may be rendered "for" or "because" F19, as it usually is, "for I am more brutish, than any man"


F15 De Leg. l. 10. p, 959.
F16 (vyam ykna reb) "bardus sum prae viro", Mercerus; "brutus ego prae viro", Cocceius, Schultens.
F17 "Nam brutus sum ex quo vir sum", Junius & Tremellius, so Cartwright.
F18 "Nec est mihi intelligentia Adami", Cartwright.
F19 (yk) "nam", Junius & Tremellius; "quia", Pagninus, Montanus; "quoniam", Michaelis.

Proverbs 30:2 In-Context

1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance. This man’s utterance to Ithiel: “I am weary, God, but I can prevail.
2 Surely I am only a brute, not a man; I do not have human understanding.
3 I have not learned wisdom, nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!
5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
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