Proverbs 30

1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the revelation: the man says to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal:
2 “Surely I am the most ignorant man, and don’t have a man’s understanding.
3 I have not learned wisdom, neither do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound the waters in his garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if you know?
5 “Every word of God is flawless. He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Don’t you add to his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.
7 “Two things I have asked of you; don’t deny me before I die:
8 remove far from me falsehood and lies. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that is needful for me;
9 lest I be full, deny you, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
10 “Don’t slander a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.
11 There is a generation that curses their father, and doesn’t bless their mother.
12 There is a generation that is pure in their own eyes, yet are not washed from their filthiness.
13 There is a generation, oh how lofty are their eyes! Their eyelids are lifted up.
14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, and their jaws like knives, to devour the poor from the earth, and the needy from amongst men.
15 “The leach has two daughters: ‘Give, give.’ “There are three things that are never satisfied; four that don’t say, ‘Enough:’
16 Sheol, the barren womb; the earth that is not satisfied with water; and the fire that doesn’t say, ‘Enough.’
17 “The eye that mocks at his father, and scorns obedience to his mother: the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, the young eagles shall eat it.
18 “There are three things which are too amazing for me, four which I don’t understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the air; 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 maiden.
20 “So is the way of an adulterous woman: she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done nothing wrong.’
21 “For three things the earth tremble, and under four, it can’t bear up:
22 for a servant when he is king; a fool when he is filled with food;
23 for an unloved woman when she is married; and a servant who is heir to her mistress.
24 “There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are not a strong people, yet they provide their food in the summer.
26 The conies are but a feeble folk, yet they make their houses in the rocks.
27 The locusts have no king, yet they advance in ranks.
28 You can catch a lizard with your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces.
29 “There are three things which are stately in their march, four which are stately in going:
30 the lion, which is mightiest amongst animals, and doesn’t turn away for any;
31 the greyhound, the male goat also; and the king against whom there is no rising up.
32 “If you have done foolishly in lifting up yourself, or if you have thought evil, put your hand over your mouth.
33 For as the churning of milk produces butter, and the wringing of the nose produces blood; so the forcing of wrath produces strife.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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.#(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.

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

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