Proverbs Thirty

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Proverbs 30:1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,

Agur. The name Agur may mean “gatherer” and Jakeh “hearkening.” Ithiel means “God with me” and Ucal means “overcomer.” Since none of these men are mentioned anywhere else in Scripture, it may be they are just symbolic names. However, their meanings are uncertain, so it is conjectural as to what the symbolic meaning might be. Probably they were real men, known to Solomon. The important thing is the message, which Solomon thought well to include in the Proverbs.

the prophecy. “Prophecy” means essentially a divinely revealed message, not necessarily a prediction. In Proverbs 30:2-3, Agur specifically disclaims any wisdom of his own in transcribing his prophecy.

Proverbs 30:2 Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.

Proverbs 30:3 I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.

Proverbs 30:4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?

ascended up into heaven. The answer to the seven rhetorical questions in these verses can be none other than God Himself, together with His Son. The Lord Jesus gave the answer to the first two questions one thousand years later, in his conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:13).

what is His name. Agur was certainly familiar with the name of God as Creator (that is, Elohim—see Proverbs 30:5) and His name as the eternally existing one (that is, Jehovah—see Proverbs 30:9), but he did not know the name associated with having a Son. It is noteworthy that the Hebrew word for father, ab, occurs over five hundred times in the Old Testament, but never in addressing God in prayer, not even in the many prayers in the books of Psalms. Yet, when He came into the world, He taught us to address God as “Our Father” (e.g., Matthew 6:9). When Christ Himself prayed, especially in His hour of greatest stress, He prayed “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36). A reasonable answer to Agur's question, therefore, is that the name of God in relation to the Son is simply “Ab,” or “Abba,” the Aramaic equivalent. Unlike the ancient Israelites, we now feel very comfortable in addressing God as “Father”—or even as “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).

his son's name. Here is strong Old Testament evidence that the God of creation has a Son, by whom, in fact, He formed the winds and the waters and all the ends of the earth, and who finally descended from heaven to become the Son of man as well as Son of God. That Son's name was given later through the prophet Isaiah—“Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Every word of God. Note the emphasis that every word of God is pure and worthy of trust—not just some words, but every word, and not just the thoughts, but the words!

Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Add thou not. Compare Revelation 22:18, 19. It is a serious blasphemy for a creature to try either to augment or dilute the words of the Creator.

Proverbs 30:7 Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:

Proverbs 30:8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:

Proverbs 30:9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

Proverbs 30:10 Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.

Proverbs 30:11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.

Proverbs 30:12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

Proverbs 30:13 There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

Proverbs 30:14 There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

Proverbs 30:15 The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:

The horseleach. This is the only reference in the Bible to the leach, a blood-sucking wormlike creature which, like the three entities it introduces, seemed to be insatiable. Its two mouths are both named “Give” (the word “crying” is not in the original).

Proverbs 30:16 The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.

Proverbs 30:17 The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

Proverbs 30:18 There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

Proverbs 30:19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

way of a man with a maid. This “way” is the mysterious process by which true love develops between a young man and his virgin sweetheart.

Proverbs 30:20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

way of an adulterous woman. The adulteress in Proverbs 30:20 is contrasted with the virgin in Proverbs 30:19. Yet, in a sense, the hypocritical “way” of the adulteress is as difficult to comprehend as the four “ways” of Proverbs 30:19. She can deliberately flout the law of God and her husband's love and yet remain smug and self-righteous.

Proverbs 30:21 For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:

Proverbs 30:22 For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;

Proverbs 30:23 For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

Proverbs 30:24 There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:

Proverbs 30:25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;

The ants. Agur, in Proverbs 30:24-31, draws spiritual lessons for man from the instincts created by God for animals, specifically referring to ants, conies, locusts, spiders, lions, greyhounds, and goats—seven animals representing all the animals. Note also Job 12:7-9.

Proverbs 30:26 The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;

The conies. The animal called “coney” in the Bible was probably a rock badger, or hyrax.

Proverbs 30:27 The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;

Proverbs 30:28 The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.

The spider. The Hebrew word is used only in this verse and is not the usual word for spider. Some authorities think it refers to a lizard. The statement in the verse is true in either case.

Proverbs 30:29 There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:

Proverbs 30:30 A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;

Proverbs 30:31 A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

Proverbs 30:32 If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.

Proverbs 30:33 Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.