The Sayings of Agur
1The message of Agur son of Jakeh. An oracle. F44 I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. F45 2I am too ignorant to be human, and I lack common sense. 3I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.
4Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son's name? Tell me if you know!
5Every word of God proves true. He defends all who come to him for protection. 6Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you, and you will be found a liar. 7O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. 8First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 9For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, "Who is the LORD?" And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy name.
10Never slander a person to his employer. If you do, the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.
11Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother. 12They feel pure, but they are filthy and unwashed. 13They are proud beyond description and disdainful. 14They devour the poor with teeth as sharp as swords or knives. They destroy the needy from the face of the earth.
15The leech has two suckers that cry out, "More, more!" F46 There are three other things—no, four!—that are never satisfied:
16 the grave,
the barren womb,
the thirsty desert,
the blazing fire.
17The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.
18There are three things that amaze me—no, four things I do not understand:
19 how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman.
20Equally amazing is how an adulterous woman can satisfy her sexual appetite, shrug her shoulders, and then say, "What's wrong with that?"
21There are three things that make the earth tremble—no, four it cannot endure:
22 a slave who becomes a king,
an overbearing fool who prospers,
23 a bitter woman who finally gets a husband,
a servant girl who supplants her mistress.
24There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise:
25 Ants—they aren't strong,
but they store up food for the winter.
26 Rock badgers F47 —they aren't powerful,
but they make their homes among the rocky cliffs.
27 Locusts—they have no king,
but they march like an army in ranks.
28 Lizards—they are easy to catch,
but they are found even in kings' palaces.
29There are three stately monarchs on the earth—no, four:
30 the lion, king of animals, who won't turn aside for anything,
31 the strutting rooster,
the male goat,
a king as he leads his army.
32If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, don't brag about it—cover your mouth with your hand in shame.
33As the beating of cream yields butter, and a blow to the nose causes bleeding, so anger causes quarrels.
F44: Or son of Jakeh from Massa.
F45: The Hebrew can also be translated The man declares this to Ithiel, to Ithiel and to Ucal.
F46: Hebrew two daughters who cry out, "Give, give!"
F47: Or coneys, or hyraxes.