Searching the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures…they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39
Author: Bob Moses
Proverbs Chapter 30
A Proverb is a short, traditional saying that expresses some obvious truth or familiar experience; adage; maxim: or a person or thing that has become commonly recognized as a type of specified characteristics; byword. An enigmatic saying in which a profound truth is cloaked. This, according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary.
The Book of Proverbs has traditionally been ascribed to wise King Solomon, who 1st Kings 4:32 states, “And he spake three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five.” While the first verse of Chapter One proclaims “The Proverbs of Solomon the son of David, King of Israel”; it is probable that he collected many of them from various sources. This Chapter 30 was apparently written by a man named Agur. Whether Solomon wrote most of them, or collected most of them, their present form is attributed to Solomon. The present form of the book possibly was organized by the savants of King Hezekiah (Prov. 25:1). There is also a possibility that certain sections were written by a school of savants (A learned person or eminent scholar) known as “the wise” (Prov. 22:17; 24:23). Each proverb is an independent saying, with no relationship to context. Hezekiah was king of Judah about 300 years after Solomon; thus the Book of Proverbs did not assume its final form until long after Solomon’s day. We also read in Prov. 25:1; “These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah, King of Judah “copied out”. The many sayings of Proverbs, seemingly so disjointed, all contribute to the full, rich life of a true redeemed follower of God. Each one well deserves thoughtful study and careful meditation, and all together show that God is directly concerned with every detail of our lives.
Chapter 30, verse 1: “The words of Agur, the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal.” None of these men are mentioned anywhere else in Scipture, however they must have been real men known by Solomon. The important thing is the message, which Solomon thought well to include in his repertory of various proverbs. The prophecy mentioned in this verse means essentially a divinely revealed message, not necessarily a prediction.
Verses 2 & 3: “Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy”. Agur specifically disclaims any wisdom of his own in transcribing his prophecy.
Verse 4: “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or decended? 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 can tell”. The answer to the seven questions can be none other than God Himself, together with His Son. The Lord Jesus gave the answer to the questions 1000 years later in His conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:13) “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” These seven questions asked by Agur are all answered in this discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus and God are One along with the Holy Spirit.
Verse 5: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Note it is every “word” of God is pure and worthy of his trust. Not just his thoughts, but every word! Verse 6: “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar”. We find nearly these same words written by John in the Book of Revelation. (Ch. 22: vs.18 & 19); “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of this book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this Book.” It is blasphemy for man to either augment or dilute the words of God.
Verses 7—9 “Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me; 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”. The two things Agur seeks to avoid are vanity and lies. He begs for Spiritual soul seeking peace with God. Neither poverty nor riches, enough food for his needs, but not so much as to make him full of himself (vanity) and possibly deny God. Or to be so poor as to take what does not belong to him and then blame the Lord for his sorrowful condition (lies). Oh, if only Christians of today would heed these words. Look how many have become full of themselves filled with pride and narcissistic in their walk. And when hard times come they blame God for their plight rather than their own sinfulness.
Now comes a series of several “fours”. Verses 10—14; “Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty. There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. 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.” These first four things speak a prophecy of a “generation” which cares only about oneself. They care less about father and mother, they see themselves as pure of heart, yet blind. They have forgotten about charity and helping the poor, but only in the way they think the needy should receive subsidy and assistance, through their being the benefactor. I am personally convinced that we are currently living in that generation, of which Agur speaks.
We are about to enter a most obscure section of this chapter. I must confess much research and prayer, to arrive at my conclusions, which shall come before us. I do strongly reply upon what I feel the Holy Spirit has revealed to me. Nevertheless, I am open to comments and suggestive criticisms offered regarding my commentary upon the matter at hand. Let us consider the five fours which now confront us.
Verses 15—17: “The horseleach (leeches) hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied. Yea, four things say not, it is enough. The grave: and the barren womb: The earth that is not filled with water: and the fire that saith not. It is enough.” How poignant and poetic, yet how true. The graveyard always seeks another customer. The barren womb ever seeks fulfillment, the dry earth cries out for water, and the wildfire seeks whatever else it can consume. What we see here is the Way of Man. He is never satisfied. Regardless how much he owns, how much he is worth, how much he is favored among his peers or the politicians of the day. He still thirsts for more. His thirst is never quenched. Then we see the consequences of this awful sin. “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.” His body shall rot at death and what has he gained? Eternal damnation; caring more for the flesh than the spirit of God.
Verses 18—19: “There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: 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.” These are the things of God. The magnificence of the eagle which flies through the air dominating the heavens. The beauty of the serpent sunning itself upon the rock; remember it was the symbol which Moses held up before the children of Israel, to rid the poisonous bite of the vipers, in the Book of Exodus due to their (Israel’s) unbelief. The way of a ship in the midst of the sea, reminds us of God protecting those whose lives are entrusted unto Him, while tossed about though the storms of this earthly life. And the way of a man with a maid (virgin). His love for her and all that this love entails, becoming betrothed to her, making his vows to her in marriage, until death do they part. Just as Christ Jesus has vowed to His Church. These are indeed, to wonderful to express as Agur testifies.
Vs. 20—23: “Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness. For three things the earth is disquieted, and four which it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; for an odious (disgusting, loathsome, offensive) woman when she is married; and a handmaid that is heir to her mistress.” It is most interesting to observe that Agur claims that for these things the “earth” is disquieted. Disquiet meaning anxious, disturbed, uneasy feeling, fretful. And well it should be, because these things are contrary to natural order of things upon the earth. An adulterous woman who claims she has done no wickedness, a servant who reigns, a fool, a handmaid that is heir to her mistress. These are unnatural. The adulterous woman must repent, no servant reigns over his master, a fool is a fool regardless of how much he eats or drinks, and handmaidens do not become heirs of family fortunes. Everything topsy-turvy. Particularly today, our world is truly upside down. Political correctness, not allowing Christmas scenes in public, banning of the Ten Commandments in public places, not allowing prayer or even the Pledge of Allegiance to our nation in schools. One cannot but wonder if the earth is disquieted today. I would guess a resounding “Yes”.
Ca. 24—28: “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; the cronies (a small rodent like a mouse that lives in caves and rocks) are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; the locusts have not a king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; the spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.” This time we see the smallest of creatures much wiser than man. The ant, builds their colony to prepare for winter, the cronies carve out a home in rocks, the locusts have been known to swarm the earth, yet they have no leader and show me any dwelling place where there is not a spider hidden somewhere. All tenacious “little ones” who make do just fine with what they have. Nevertheless, man continues to toil and always strive for something better. Who is the wiser? Sow, water, and reap the harvest, work for your substance, the Bible says if you do not work, you do not eat (Ref. Gen. 3: 17—19). It speaks nothing of welfare or being paid for doing nothing. What a great country, America. Where else can you go and get paid for not working? Truly God’s smallest critters are wiser than politicians and most all of mankind.
Vs. 29—31: “There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely (tough, strong, as good as they come, among the best) in going. A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; A greyhound; and he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.” These are the strongest and toughest among earths’ creatures. Who can challenge a lion face to face? What man can out run a greyhound? Who would dare confront a he goat protecting his herd? And who would rise up against a king who rules favorably among his people? It is the hand of God who makes these comely in going about, for there is none who would be foolish enough to oppose them.
Vs. 31—32: “If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth. 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.” The thought here is that sin will manifest itself in its’ own revelation. If you continue to have evil thoughts; evil will prevail. Should you stir the pot of discontent long enough dissatisfaction will be the ultimate result. Winging the nose until it bleeds is self-imposed torture therefore torment and unpleasantness shall be present with you. Unfortunately we bring our ills or our own baggage upon ourselves. And then often, blame everyone else for our plight. Woe is me!
Our lesson has taught us vs. 15—17, the way of Man. It is never enough. Vs. 18—19, the way of God. Too Wonderful for me. Vs. 20—23, things that disquiet the earth. Out of the natural order. Vs. 24—28, the wise beyond man. The smallest of God’s creatures. Vs. 29—31, the strongest among earths’ creatures. It bears noting that four (the earthly number) is here represented. Man, whom God has placed at head of the earth. The earth itself, and then in order the smallest and then the strongest of God’s creatures. These three seemingly work outside the circle of man. They go about their day to day business usually without the interference of man. Man on the other hand is so concerned with himself that he does not even see the activities of earth, the smallest nor the mighty of what surrounds him. Job writes it well in Job 12, 7—9. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee: and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not (in other words; can you not see?) in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?” How profound. Job tells man where to find the answers, but man heeds him not. I have often said, just look around you and behold Gods mighty works. You do not have to be a Bible Scholar, just observe Gods creation. The End