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Discover the Arts! Each day a different image from the Literary, Performing, or Visual Arts representing a portion of Scripture
plus an explanation with links

2018 November 1
Proverbs 30

Diogenes Seeks a True Man (1652)
Caesar van Everdingen (1616/17 - 1678)
Dutch Golden Age Baroque Style
Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands
Image Source: Web Gallery of Art

     [ Illustration: Today's painting has a theme that echoes Agur's confession that he was a brute: Diogenes goes forth seeking a "man;" but, in his judgment, he finds only "brutes." ]


[ I will again be working through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. I will be adding links, resources, images, and the like, upgrading the former work-through which began with the 2013-10-12 posting which can be found, along with the full Genesis to Revelation postings, in the Archive Page. Postings will be at midnight Eastern Time, as I am able. However, no chapters will be skipped, even though a posting may be late. And all postings will be housed in the Archive Page. ]

     Explanation: Proverbs 30 contains comparisons and contrasts between the righteous and the wicked. This chapter is a sub-division within the second main part of Proverbs (25-31). Most of the proverbs in this chapter are grouped thematically. The chapter begins with Agur's profession of brutishness and with a challenge to Ithiel and Ucal to learn wisdom. Agur then offers a series of lessons.
          The subjects of chapter 30 are these:
               This chapter was written by Agur the son of Jakeh, who may have been an ancient king; his words of "prophecy" or "burden" were given to Ithiel and Ucal, who may have been his sons, friends, or pupils. Some commentators think that the word translated "prophecy" or "burden" may instead be the name of an ancestor of Agur, "Massa" (Genesis 25:14), who was a son of Ishmael. The tribe may be located in Edom (Seir) or in the Northern Persian Gulf. Some think that Agur ("gatherer") may be Solomon by another name (perhaps during the time when he began to gather wisdom from the Lord - 1 Kings 3:5-13; 1 Chronicles 22:5; 1 Chronicles 29:1; 2 Chronicles 1:8-12). If so, then "Jakeh" ("obedient"), the father of "Agur" ("gatherer") would be another name for David or some other ancestor of Solomon. The theory, however, relies too heavily on speculation to be considered likely (1).
               Agur modestly said that he was brutish, that he did not have the understanding of a man, that he had not learned wisdom, and that he did not have the knowledge of the Holy One (2-3).
               Agur then challenged the knowledge of Ithiel and Ucal, asking them "Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know!" (4).
               Agur then exhorted Ithiel and Ucal to recognize that every word of God is true and that he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. For this reason, Agur warned them, "Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar." This warning is found in similar words in other passages of Scripture such as Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19; Job 13:7-9; and 1 Corinthians 15:15. Those who disobey these warnings create a religion of their own and suffer the consequences (5-6).
               Having said these things, Agur then begins a series of lessons. First, he asks that God would remove from him falsehood and lying (such as that promulgated by those who add to or take away from God's words). And he asks that he would have neither poverty nor riches and that he would be fed with the food which was appointed to him. This is reflected in the LORD's prayer (Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3): "Give us this day our daily bread." The purpose of this prayer was to keep Agur from being full and denying the LORD or from being poor, stealing, and thereby taking the name of God in vain (7-9).
               Agur follows these requests with an exhortation: "Do not slander a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be held guilty." This is the counterpart to Agur's previous words. Previously Agur warned that liars were in danger from God. In this exhortation he warns that liars are in danger from men -- specifically from judges (10).
               Next, Agur warns (implicitly) against certain types of people. Some curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers. Others are clean in their own eves but are not washed from their filth. Others are prideful with eyes and eyelids lifted up. Others devour the poor and needy with teeth like swords and fangs like knives (11-14).
               Agur then depicts the evils of insatiability. The leach has two daughters which cry "Give, give." Various things are never satisfied: the grave, the barren womb, the drought-stricken earth, and the fire. The implication is that insatiable people have this frustration in common with these (15-16).
               Agur then warns that the eye which mocks his father, and despises obedience to his mother will be plucked out by ravens and eaten by young eagles (17).
               Next, Agur returns to his opening professions of ignorance and mentions several things which are beyond his understanding: the way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship upon the sea, the way of a man with a virgin, and the way of an adulterous woman who "eats," wipes her mouth, and says that she has done no wickedness (18-20).
               Agur's next lesson concerns things which trouble the earth: a slave who becomes king; a fool who is filled with food; an unloved woman who gets a husband; and a maidservant who displaces her mistress (21-23).
               Agur's next lesson concerns things which, though small, are wise and effective: the ants which provide their food in summer; the rock badgers which are weak but make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts which have no king, yet all of them march in rank; and the lizard which you can capture with your hand, but are in kings palaces (24-28).
               Agur then speaks of stately things: the lion which is the mightiest of beasts and does not turn back for any; the strutting rooster; the he-goat; and a king whose army is with him (29-31).
               Agur then says that if you have been foolish by exalting yourself, or if you have devised evil, put your hand upon your mouth -- i.e., desist immediately (32).
               Agur's final lesson is a warning against anger: "Surely the churning of milk brings forth butter, and the wringing of the nose brings forth blood: so the forcing of wrath brings forth strife" (33).

     [ Sermons: Stuart Olyott. Various. ]

Bible Chronologies -- Genesis to Revelation

[Traditional Patriarchal Chronology. Judges Period Chronology 1. Judges Period Chronology 2. Kings of Judah and Israel #1. Kings of Judah and Israel #2].

[Post Exile Chronology 1. Post Exile Chronology 2. Post Exile Chronology 3.]

[Prophets Chronology 1. Prophets Chronology 2. Prophets Chronology 3. Prophets Chronology 4.]

[Intertestamental Period Chronology 1. Intertestamental Period Chronology 2. Intertestamental Period Chronology 3.
Intertestamental Period Chronology 4. Intertestamental Period Chronology 5.]

[New Testament Chronology 1. New Testament Chronology 2. New Testament Chronology 3. New Testament Chronology 4. New Testament Chronology 5.]


PLEASE NOTE: Use the resources on this and other sites thoughtfully, particularly the commentaries and encyclopedias. I have attempted to list conservative, scholarly resources. However, some providers use liberal or liberal-influenced commentaries such as the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (in Bible Hub). Such commentaries are undoubtedly included by the provider for the wealth of useful information and comments which they provide. By consulting several commentaries, it should be fairly easy to sort out the wheat from the chaff. If, however, you would like personal assistance, write to me at AD LIB ARTS EMAIL.

[1] Genesis 25:14.
[2-3] Job 42:3-6; Psalm 73:22; 1 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 8:2; James 1:5; Job 11:7-9; Romans 11:33; Ephesians 3:18-19.
[4] Deuteronomy 30:12; Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22.
[5-6] Psalm 12:6; Psalm 18:30; Psalm 19:8; Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19.
[7-9] Psalm 27:4; Psalm 119:29, 37; Matthew 6:11, 33; Luke 11:3; 1 Timothy 6:6-8; Job 31:24-28.
[10] Psalm 101:5; Romans 14:4.
[11-14] Proverbs 20:20; Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 21:20-21; Deuteronomy 27:16; Matthew 15:4-6; Mark 7:10-13; Proverbs 21:2; Psalm 36:2; Proverbs 6:17; Proverbs 21:4; Proverbs 12:18; Psalm 52:2; Proverbs 28:3.
[15-16] Isaiah 56:11-12; Romans 16:18; 2 Peter 2:3, 13-15; Proverbs 27:20; Habakkuk 2:5.
[17] Proverbs 20:20; Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 21:18-21.
[18-20] Job 42:3; Psalm 139:6; Job 39:27; Ecclesiastes 10:11; Job 9:26; Psalm 107:23; Exodus 22:16; Proverbs 7:13-23.
[21-23] Proverbs 19:10; Proverbs 19:13; Proverbs 21:9, 19.
[24-28] Job 12:7; Proverbs 6:6-8; Psalm 104:18; Joel 1:4, 6-7; Job 8:14; Leviticus 11:29.
[29-31] Psalm 34:10; Revelation 10:3; Proverbs 20:2.
[32] Proverbs 17:28.
[33] Proverbs 19:11; James 1:20.
     -- From Treasury of Scripture Knowledge & Others ]

          [ CHRONOLOGY: GENERAL. Patriarchs (Traditional). Judges # 1. Judges # 2. Kings # 1. Kings # 2. Prophets # 1. Prophets # 2. NT # 1. NT # 2. NT # 3. ]

          [ MAPS: Maps # 1. Maps # 2. Maps # 3. Maps # 4. Maps # 5. ]

          [ COMMENTARIES, ETC: GENERAL: Bible Study Tools; Bible Hub: Study Light; Blue Letter Bible // PSALMS: Monergism: Precept Austin: The Treasury of David; John Gill; John Calvin - Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

          [ MUSIC: GENERAL: The Cyber Hymnal // PSALMS: Genevan Psalter (Instrumental). PROVERBS: Proverbs 30. Book of Proverbs. VARIOUS ARTISTS: Micha'el Ben David. Sons of Korah. Fernando Ortega. Janet Isaac Morrison. Music of the Bible Revealed - Suzanne Haik-Vantoura. Dr. David Erb. Gregorian Chants. ]


John Calvin - CCEL | Analytical Chart - BLB


Gospel Harmony - Summary | The Harmony of the Gospels - Augustine | Gospel Harmony Chart - Online Bible

Greek Harmony of the Gospels - Robertson - (Downloadable PDF) | Gospel Harmony in English - Robertson - (Downloadable PDF)


Hebrew and Greek Interlinear Download - Scripture 4 All

Bible Hub Interlinear Hebrew and Greek Bible

Bible Hub Hebrew Interlinear | Scripture 4 All Hebrew Interlinear

Mounce Interlinear | Bible Hub Greek Interlinear | Scripture 4 All Greek Interlinear Bible

Proverbs Detailed Outline

The Proverbs are grouped into two Collections, each having 2 Sections, with various Sub-Sections. (See the Detailed Outline above and below).

1. Collection 1 - Proverbs of Solomon & the Wise (Solomon's Collection)
     (1:1 - 24:34) - 968 - 946 B.C., Israel
     A. Section 1 - Proverbs of Solomon (1:1 - 22:16)
          1). Sub-Section 1 - "The Proverbs of Solomon, Son of David" (1:1 - 9:18)
               a). Purpose: To teach the fear of the LORD, the beginning of wisdom (1:1-7, esp. 7)
               b). Precepts: The seductions of folly verses the attractions of wisdom (1:8 - 9:18)
                    (1). Part 1: (1:8 - 4:27)
                         (a). Folly: Wicked Companions Bring Death (1:8-19)
                         (b). Wisdom: Wisdom Brings Life and reward (1:20 - 4:27)
                    (2). Part 2: (5:1 - 6:19)
                         (a). Folly: Adulterous Women Bring Suffering and Death (5:1-15)
                         (b). Wisdom: Safety from Marital Love + Diligence in Wisdom (5:16 - 6:19)
                    (3). Part 3: (6:20 - 9:18)
                         (a). Folly: Adulterous Women Bring Deceit & Death (6:20 - 7:27)
                         (b). Wisdom: It Brings Favor from the LORD, Kings, & Rulers (8:1 - 9:18)
          2). Sub-Section 2 - "The Proverbs of Solomon" (10:1 - 22:16)
                    Note: This section builds on the previous section by offering a series of contrasts between the wise and the foolish and between wisdom and folly in general.
                    Having offered a strong persuasion in the previous section to follow wisdom, the author now shows what wisdom is in daily life.
                    In the latter sections the proverbs are generally arranged individually, and groupings are less frequent and mainly shorter.
     B. Section 2 - Sayings of the Wise: ["Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise"] - (22:17 - 24:34)
              Note: If Ecclesiastes 12:9 refers to Solomon, this collection may be one of those which he "searched out and arranged." (See also 1 Kings 4:32).
                       The same is true for the last group of proverbs (30:1 - 33:31).
          1). Sub-Section 1 - "The Sayings of the Wise" (22:17 - 24:22)
          2). Sub-Section 2 - "These Also are the Sayings of the Wise" (24:23 - 24:34)
2. Collection 2 - Proverbs of Solomon & the Wise (Hezekiah's Collection)
     (25:1 - 31:31) - 968 - 946 B.C., Israel
     A. Section 1 - Proverbs of Solomon (25:1 - 29:27)
          "These are also proverbs which the men of Hezekiah King of Judah copied out."
               Note: This shows that the Book of Proverbs reached its final form in Hezekiah's time (715-686 B.C.) - about 230 years or more after the death of Solomon (971-931 B.C.).
                         The copyists may have been Isaiah, Micah, Hosea, Eliakim, Joah, Shebna or other inspired men.
                         The proverbs may have been collected from the 3,000 Proverbs mentioned in 1 Kings 4:32 and / or official records.
                         The new collection may have been compiled about 713 B.C., around the time when Hezekiah invited Israelites from the other tribes
                            to partake of the Passover and to be instructed in the law (2 Chronicles 30).
     B. Section 2 - Sayings of the Wise (30:1 - 31:31)
          1). Sub-Section 1 - "The Sayings of Agur, Son of Jakeh" (30:1 - 30:33)
          2). Sub-Section 2 - "The Sayings of King Lemuel - an oracle his mother taught him" (31:1 - 31:31)
               Note: Some consider Proverbs 31:10-31 (The Excellent Wife) to be a separate section perhaps by someone other than Lemuel.
                         It is an acrostic poem and so is different from the previous material. However, it is different only in form, not in content.
                         It fits with Lemuel's previous material which warns against the wrong kind of women, strong drink, and injustice.
                         It gives a positive picture of a worthy woman who would make a good wife.
                         Also notice that Chapter 31 forms a fitting end to the Book of Proverbs. Solomon began the book with an exhortation to his son (Proverbs 1:8).
                         The book then devotes 30 chapters of instruction in how to become the right kind of man.
                         Chapter 31 closes with instruction in what kind of woman is suitable for a man who is thoroughly trained in wisdom.

Proverbs 30

Map 1: Bible Nations | Map 2: Empire of David and Solomon Map 3: Kingdoms of Judah and Israel | Post Exile Chronology.

1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh,
even the prophecy [burden]:
the man spake unto Ithiel,
even unto Ithiel and Ucal,

2 Surely I am more brutish than any man,
and have not the understanding of a man.
3 I neither learned wisdom,
nor have the knowledge of the holy.

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?

5 Every word of God is pure:
he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 Add thou not unto his words,
lest he reprove thee,
and thou be found a liar.

7 Two things have I required of thee;
deny me them not before I die:
8 Remove far from me vanity and lies:
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with food convenient for me:
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.

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

11 There is a generation that curseth their father,
and doth not bless their mother.
12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes,
and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
13 There is a generation,
O how lofty are their eyes!
and their eyelids are lifted up.
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.

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

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.

18 There be three things which are too wonderful for me,
yea, four which I know not:
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.
20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman;
she eateth,
and wipeth her mouth,
and saith,
I have done no wickedness.

21 For three things the earth is disquieted,
and for four which it cannot [not able to] bear:
22 For a servant when he reigneth;
and a fool when he is filled with meat;
23 For an odious woman when she is married;
and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

24 There be four things which are little upon the earth,
but they are exceeding wise [wise among wise]:
25 The ants are a people not strong,
yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
26 The conies are but a feeble [not powerful] folk,
yet make they their houses in the rocks;
27 The locusts have no king,
yet go they forth all of them by bands;
28 The spider taketh hold with her hands,
and is in kings' palaces.

29 There be three things which go well,
yea, four are comely in going:
30 A lion which is strongest among beasts,
and turneth not away for any;
31 A greyhound [slender waist];
an he goat also;
and a king,
against whom there is no rising up [irresistible].

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

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.

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