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?
– Proverbs 30:4

Agur asks six questions and most commentators have asked a lot more. The questions echo passages like Job 38, where the loftiness of God above humans is highlighted. The questions ask of might works, like Proverbs 8:24-29, which are creative acts of divine power and so, separate from men. Opinions vary about the “son” mentioned in the last line. Ultimately, Agur writes that wisdom belongs to God alone and comes down to earth in his Son.

Proverbs 30:3

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

Learning wisdom means gaining knowledge of God (Proverbs 9:10). Agur’s confession points to the human deficit of wisdom and the need for humble, reverent submission to acquire wisdom.

Proverbs 30:2

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

The word for brutish means stupid and can refer to animals as opposed to humans. Agur begins confessing he is more like a dumb beast than a human being in terms of wisdom. Beasts are without spiritual insight or concern, and are rather driven by animal needs such as safety and food (Psalm 73:21-22). The wisdom of Proverbs generally tends to humility (Proverbs 3:5-7; 26:12; 28:26). It could be said that wisdom is unattainable without it.

Proverbs 29:3

Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
– Proverbs 29:3

This saying echoes a long line of wisdom sayings pertaining to sons who acquire wisdom blessing their fathers (Proverbs 10:1; 15:20; 23:15, 24-25; 27:11). The second line gives the contrasting parallel for the foolish sons (Proverbs 5:8-10; 6:26; 21:17, 20; 28:7, 19). The contrast is between loving and pursuing wisdom or loving and pursuing folly. Wisdom and folly are personified as women in Proverbs (Proverbs 9:1-18), and so loving wisdom is pictured through finding a virtuous wife (Proverbs 31:10-31) and folly through chasing prostitutes (Proverbs 5:1-23; 7:1-27). Jesus told of such a foolish son, who went on to forsake folly for wisdom (Luke 15:11-32).

Proverbs 28:26

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
– Proverbs 28:26

This saying begins with a contrast from the last phrase of the previous verse. The very essence of folly is trusting in one’s own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). The fool follows his own way and walks by the suggestions of his own mind (Proverbs 14:12, 15; 15:14; 17:24). The first phrase emphasizes wisdom is from outside of us and must be received. To walk wisely is not to trust in oneself. Those who walk wisely will find safety (Proverbs 3:5-6; 28:18; 29:25).

Proverbs 28:11

The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
– Proverbs 28:11

Being wise in one’s own eyes is a characteristic of a fool, regardless of the particular avenue the fool walks down (Proverbs 3:7; 12:15; 26:5, 12, 16). The foolish rich find false security in wealth (Proverbs 18:11) and here, they take credit for their situation in life. The saying contrasts the foolish rich man with the poor man who has wisdom, understanding. Wisdom looks past the facade of riches and success.

Proverbs 27:27

And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.
– Proverbs 27:27

This verse ends the saying and the consideration of the reward for diligence. The word for maintenance means alive and has the idea of lively, or active. It speaks of health. The general picture of the faithful farmer-shepherd is a vibrant estate, well supplied.

 


 

 

Proverbs 27:26

The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.
– Proverbs 27:26

This verse describes the reward for diligent care of the flocks and herds. The care for living things provides sustainability and stability. Applying the metaphor to a kingdom, it is the downfall of king and kingdom when the shepherd-king steals, kills, and devours the flock (2 Samuel 12:1-12; Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34:1-6).

 


 

 

Proverbs 27:25

The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.
– Proverbs 27:25

This part of the saying reflects the divine provision of growth from the earth. The whole saying captures the cyclical nature of life lived in the created world. The hay appears. The grass shows itself. The herbs are gathered. These provide food for the house, servants, and animals. The wise farmer-shepherd-king lives wisely within the created order.

 


 

 

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