Sayings of Agur
The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.
This man’s utterance to Ithiel:
“I am weary, God, but I can prevail. 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. 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!
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
“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. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
“Do not slander a servant 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; those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth; those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful; those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among mankind. “The leech has two daughters. ‘Give! Give!’ they cry.
“There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’: the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’ “The eye that mocks a father, that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures. “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.’ “Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: a servant who becomes king, a godless fool who gets plenty to eat, 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; hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; 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.
“If you play the fool and exalt yourself, or if you plan evil, clap your hand over your mouth! For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” Vs 1-33
The beginning of this chapter is very odd. It opens by stating it’s the sayings of Agur, an oracle. One definition I found of an oracle in the dictionary is a person who delivers authoritative, wise or highly regarded words. This definition would be fine and dandy, but Agur’s opening words tell us he is ignorant of men, has not learned wisdom and does not know the Holy One. He goes even further by asking if anyone could tell him the name of God and His Son Jesus. This does not sound like something an ‘oracle’ would say. It sounds to me like his elevator doesn’t quite go to the top floor.
Then in verses 5-6 Agur makes a bold statement about God; His words are flawless, He is a shield to those who seek Him. He continues by saying Gods words are not to be changed and if we attempt to change them the truth will come out and we will be punished.
Agur then asks God for two things: keep lies far from him and only give him what he needs daily. He understands that have too little or too much can cause him to turn from God.
The next section talks about those who: curse their families, only do good in their own eyes, those with scornful eyes, who use their mouths as weapons, and the family of the one who uses others for personal gain will be takers, not givers. I think this is meant to me a brief warning to stay away from people like this. Do you know anyone like this? Will you say a prayer for them?
In the remainder of this chapter we are given riddles in lists of 3’s and 4’s:
- The grave, the barren womb and land are never satisfied and the grave, the barren womb the land and the fire never say “enough”.
- The way of an eagle, a ship on the seas and a snake on a rock he finds amazing. Yet he does not understand the way of an eagle, a ship on the seas, a snake on a rock or a man with a maiden.
- A servant who becomes king, a fool who is full of food and an unloved woman who is married are three things that make the earth tremble. The fourth, a maidservant who displaces her mistress, the earth cannot bear.
- The ant, coneys (rock badger aka hyrax), locusts and lizards may be small, but they are also extremely wise. (That sounds like the beginning of a good joke….an ant, coney, locust and lizard walk into a restaurant…)
- A strutting rooster, a he-goat and a king with his army around him are elegant in their stride, but a lion also moves with majestic bearing.
I think three and four must have been Agur’s favorite numbers. Which of these analogies spoke to you and why?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for reminding us Your Word is flawless. I pray You would speak to us through your Word as read it daily, Amen