This and the following chapter are an appendix to Solomon's proverbs; but they are both expressly called prophecies in the first verses of both, by which it appears that the penmen of them, whoever they were, were divinely inspired. This chapter was penned by one that bears the name of "Agur Ben Jakeh.' What tribe he was of, or when he lived, we are not told; what he wrote, being indited by the Holy Ghost, is here kept upon record. We have here,
- His confession of faith (v. 1-6).
- His prayer (v. 7-9).
III. A caution against wronging servants (v. 10).
- Four wicked generations (v. 11-14).
- Four things insatiable (v. 15, 16), to which is added fair warning to undutiful children (v. 17).
- Four things unsearchable (v. 18-20).
VII. Four things intolerable (v. 21-23).
VIII. Four things little and wise (v. 24-28).
- Four things stately (v. 29 to the end).
Some make Agur to be not the name of this author, but his character; he was a collector (so it signifies), a gatherer, one that did not compose things himself, but collected the wise sayings and observations of others, made abstracts of the writings of others, which some think is the reason why he says (v. 3), "I have not learned wisdom myself, but have been a scribe, or amanuensis, to other wise and learned men.' Note, We must not bury our talent, though it be but one, but, as we have received the gift, so minister the same, if it be but to collect what others have written. But we rather suppose it to be his name, which, no doubt, was well known then, though not mentioned elsewhere in scripture. Ithiel and Ucal are mentioned, either,
- As the names of his pupils, whom he instructed, or who consulted him as an oracle, having a great opinion of his wisdom and goodness. Probably they wrote from him what he dictated, as Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah, and by their means it was preserved, as they were ready to attest it to be his, for it was spoken to them; they were two witnesses of it. Or,
- As the subject of his discourse. Ithiel signifies God with me, the application of Immanuel, God with us. The word calls him God with us; faith appropriates this, and calls him "God with me, who loved me, and gave himself for me, and into union and communion with whom I am admitted.' Ucal signifies the Mighty One, for it is upon one that is mighty that help is laid for us. Many good interpreters therefore apply this to the Messiah, for to him all the prophecies bear witness, and why not this then? It is what Agur spoke concerning Ithiel, even concerning Ithiel (that is the name on which the stress is laid) with us, Isa. 7:14.
Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Proverbs 30,
Proverbs 30:1-Chapter 30 contains the teachings of Agur (which means “gatherer”). We do not know for sure who he was. The early church fathers identified him as Solomon.
Proverbs 30:2-He begins by saying that he has no special intellectual capacity of his own.
Proverbs 30:3-4-He then continues by reflecting on the infinite nature of God and man’s inability to comprehend it.
Proverbs 30:5-6-God's words are absolute and perfect. Be careful that you do not add anything to what God says.
Proverbs 30:7-10-He tells God that He asks nothing more, or less than what is normal. But, that He does have two very special requests (:7)…
- That he will give him the wisdom to be a man of character (:8).
- That no matter what life brings him, no matter what he has to deal with…that God will give him the strength to always be faithful to Him (:9).
Proverbs 30:10-Don’t falsely speak evil against anyone. If you do, the truth might surface and you will be held accountable.
Proverbs 30:11-14-He describes four kinds of men…
- the one who rebels against his parents;
- the one who is self-righteous;
- the one who is arrogant and proud;
- the one who ruthlessly attacks others.
Proverbs 30:15-The “leech” comes from a root word that means…
a leech…from a root…to adhere; hence used as a female monster or spectre, an insatiable sucker of blood…
It was typically used of a leech that was found on horses. Here, it is speaking of a man who lives off others. His daughters have inherited his attitude. They are named the same thing and their names are indicative of their nature…”Give me what I want!” Like the leech, there are four things that are never satisfied and have enough. They are…
- He specifies four other things which are insatiable, to which those devourers are compared, which say not, It is enough, or It is wealth. Those are never rich that are always coveting. Now these four things that are always craving are,
- The grave, into which multitudes fall, and yet still more will fall, and it swallows them all up, and returns none, Hell and destruction are never full, ch. 27:20. When it comes to our turn we shall find the grave ready for us, Job 17:1.
- The barren womb, which is impatient of its affliction in being barren, and cries, as Rachel did, Give me children.
- The parched ground in time of drought (especially in those hot countries), which still soaks in the rain that comes in abundance upon it and in a little time wants more.
- The fire, which, when it has consumed abundance of fuel, yet still devours all the combustible matter that is thrown into it. So insatiable are the corrupt desires of sinners, and so little satisfaction have they even in the gratification of them.
Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Proverbs 30,
Proverbs 30:17-A person such as this will be judged. The severity of that judgment is described in part here. The body will not be buried, but will lie on top of the ground, and the birds will feed on it.
Proverbs 30:18-19-He says that there are four things that are so wonderful that they are beyond his comprehension…
- How it is possible for an eagle to fly.
- How it is possible for a snake to move in the patterns it makes.
- How it is possible for a ship to navigate across such vast empty seas.
- How it is possible for a man and woman to produce a child.
Proverbs 30:20-An adulterous woman sees no wrong in her behavior.
Proverbs 30:21-23-He describes four situations of life that are unbearable (are beyond understanding)…
- When a slaved rises to become king.
- A person who thinks that the only thing that matters in life is what he eats.
- When a hateful woman gets married.
- A maid who takes the husband away from the woman of the house.
The Message translation says it this way…
Three things are too much for even the earth to bear, yes, four things shake its foundations—
when the janitor becomes the boss,
when a fool gets rich,
when a whore is voted “woman of the year,”
when a “girlfriend” replaces a faithful wife.
Proverbs 30:24-28-He identifies four small creatures that seem to display great wisdom…
- “ants”…they plan for the future
- “badgers”…they build strong homes
- “locusts”…they work together
- “lizard”…they keep company with royalty.
Proverbs 30:29-31-He identifies four individuals that have dignity…
- “lion”…his strength is on display
- “cock, rooster” (NIV, NASV, NLT)…he struts around proudly; the KJV uses a variant translation, “greyhound”…he is known for his speed
- “male goat”…he leads the flocks
- “king”…is army in parade formation
Proverbs 30:32-33-If you have a problem with pride, or if you have done something that was wrong (but you are proud of it)…keep it to yourself, don’t tell anyone. If you start talking about it someone is likely to take revenge and it will only make things worse.
Proverbs 31:1-King Lemuel…we don't know for sure who he was, but some think that it was Bathsheba's name for her son, Solomon. It means "belonging to God". This is a mother's instruction on women...what to avoid, and what to look for in a woman in choosing a wife.
Proverbs 31:2-7-She warns him to not allow either women (:3), or alcohol to control him (:4-7). Both have the potential to destroy him.
Proverbs 31:8-9-She tells him to help those who cannot help themselves. The word “dumb” means those who cannot speak up for themselves (:8). She tells him to defend those who are being attacked and those who don’t have the financial resources to defend themselves (:9).
Proverbs 31:10-28-Now, she describes the perfect ("excellent") wife in terms of:
- her integrity (:11-12);
- her household (:13-15);
- her finances (:16-17);
- her work ethic (:18-19,27);
- her community service (:20);
- her diligence (:21-22);
- her respect for him (:23);
- her business ventures (:24);
- her positive attitude (:25);
- her wisdom (:26);
- her family (:28).
Proverbs 31:29-31-She now tells him the key to this woman's life: she fears the LORD...and as such, deserves respect. This is the key quality to look for in a woman...all of the other qualities are the result of this one.
Prayer: Lord, I pray for the married couples in our church. Help them to love each other and care for each other as described here. Let their marriages last their entire lifetimes and let their children be blessed as well. Thank You for my wonderful wife. You blessed me beyond measure when You gave her to me.