Wise Sayings of Agur Son of Jakeh
1 These are the wise sayings of Agur son of Jakeh from Massa. He says, “God, I am tired, so tired. How can I keep going?”* He says, “God, … keep going?” Or “This is his message to Ithiel and Ucal.”
2 I am stupid. I am not as smart as other people are. 3 I have not learned to be wise. I know nothing about the Holy One.† Holy One Literally, “the holy ones.” 4 Who has ever gone up to heaven and come back down? Who gathered the winds in his hand? Who can gather up all the water in his lap? Who set the limits for the world? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Do you know?
5 You can trust this: Every word that God speaks is true. God is a safe place for those who go to him. 6 So don’t try to change what God says. If you do, he will punish you and prove that you are a liar.
7 God, I ask you to do two things for me before I die. 8 Don’t let me tell lies. And don’t make me too rich or too poor—give me only enough food for each day. 9 If I have too much, I might deny that I need you, LORD. But if I am too poor, I might steal and bring shame to the name of my God.
10 Never say bad things about a slave to his master. If you do, he will curse you, and you will suffer for it.
11 Some people curse their fathers and refuse to bless their mothers.
12 Some people think they are pure, but they have done nothing to remove the filth of their sin.
13 Some people are so proud of themselves, and they look down on everyone else.
14 There are people whose teeth are like swords and their jaws like knives. They take everything they can from the poor.
15 Greedy people know only two things‡ Literally, “A leech has two daughters.”: “Give me,” and “Give me.” There are three other things that are never satisfied—really, four things that never have enough: 16 the place of death, a woman with no children, dry ground that needs rain, and a fire that will never stop by itself.
17 People who make fun of their father or refuse to obey their mother should have their eyes plucked out by wild birds and be eaten by vultures.
18 There are three things that are hard for me to understand—really, four things that I don’t understand: 19 an eagle flying in the sky, a snake moving on a rock, a ship moving across the ocean, and a man in love with a woman.
20 A woman who is not faithful to her husband acts innocent. She eats, wipes her mouth, and says she has done nothing wrong.
21 There are three things that make trouble on the earth—really, four that the earth cannot bear: 22 a slave who becomes a king, fools who have everything they need, 23 a woman whose husband hated her but still married her, and a servant girl who becomes ruler over the woman she serves.
24 There are four things on the earth that are small but very wise:
25 Ants are small and weak, but they save their food all summer;
26 badgers are small animals, but they make their homes in the rocks;
27 locusts have no king, but they are able to work together;
28 lizards are small enough to catch with your hands, but you can find them living in kings’ palaces.
29 There are three things that act important when they walk—really, there are four:
30 a lion—he is the warrior of the animals and runs from nothing,
31 a rooster walking proudly,§ a rooster walking proudly Or possibly, “a greyhound” or “a war horse.”
and a king among his people.
32 If you have been foolish enough to become proud and make plans against other people, stop and think about what you are doing.
33 Stirring milk causes butter to form. Hitting someone’s nose causes blood to flow. And making people angry causes trouble.
*30:1 He says, “God, … keep going?” Or “This is his message to Ithiel and Ucal.”
†30:3 Holy One Literally, “the holy ones.”
‡30:15 Literally, “A leech has two daughters.”
§30:31 a rooster walking proudly Or possibly, “a greyhound” or “a war horse.”