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SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 30:1-4

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SIH TOTT ICONHe layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous (Prov 2:7)

 

The Proverbs Of Agur: Agur’s Identity and Humility: Proverbs 30:1-4

1) The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, [even] the prophecy: 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?

In this chapter we may have a new author, a man by the name of Agur.  Very little is known about this man but, from the context of our text, it seems as if he is a teacher who is instructing his two students Ithiel and Ucal.

However, many sound scholars believe that “Agur” is simply another title for King Solomon….
“Agur the son of Jakeh” is translated from the Hebrew phrase “the one of the harvest who is the son of the obedient one”.

Both parts of this title could easily apply to Solomon:
1.  Solomon was “the one of the harvest” , he is the one that had gathered (or harvested) all of this wisdom throughout his lifetime and then compiled it into this book.
2.  He was clearly the son of “the obedient one”, David, who was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14).

My own personal thoughts are that “Agur” is probably not a title for Solomon.  As we read down through this chapter, we will see the sentence structure seems to be somewhat different…
1.  Solomon was making constant comparisons of opposites by using the form a:b (a compared to its opposite b).  please refer to 29:2-4 for one of MANY examples of this.  This form is not found once in this chapter.
2.  Also, many of the verses in this chapter are much longer in length than the previous chapters we have studied. They do not appear like the writings of Solomon.
3.  Some of the descriptions of himself do not seem to match Solomon.  For example his limited education (vs 1-3) and his mid class lifestyle (vs 7-9) cannot apply to Solomon, one of the most highly educated and rich men who ever lived.

I am the first to admit I have a limited knowledge of the Biblical Hebrew language, so I certainly cannot speak with any certainty on this subject.  But I did want to mention my thoughts on the subject.

 

 EXPOSITION:

In this section of his writings, the author describes himself and gives us a glimpse of his humble spirit…

1) The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, [even] the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,
Agur recognized the great importance of his calling….
1.  The advice and counsel of Agur was received as a “burden” (a heavy responsibility).
2.  Agur spoke as an oracle (one who speaks as a representative of God) to Ithiel and Ucal

Agur was a man that was given the responsibility to represent God by teaching wisdom that originates from God.  He took this responsibility very seriously and therefore it “weighed heavy” upon him.  It is with this recognition of the great importance of the teachings of God that he presented his message to his students.

 

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.
Agur understood that, apart from the Lord, he was unable to fulfill the great responsibility given to him….
1.  Truly Agur believed he was ignorant and foolish (like a beast) in comparison to other highly educated men.
2.  He recognized himself as not possessing the human discernment that others exhibited in their lives.
3.  He recognized that he did not attend schools that taught the philosophies and psychologies of men
4.  Nor did he have the same level of knowledge of religious things like other men.

Here, we see that Agur quickly acknowledges his shortcomings in the eyes of other men.  He was not highly educated in religion, philosophy, or psychology of men.   When others looked at him, there was no compelling reason for them to listen to his message.

He recognizes his shortcomings in the eyes of the world.  Yet he knows he must fulfill his calling and reveal the words of God to men.  It would be a matter of faith on his part, knowing that the Lord must enable him to speak the truth and open the hearts of those to whom he would speak.

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?
His explanation why others should listen to his message…
1.  Show me the person who has risen to heaven (reached a level equal with God)
2.  Show me the person who has come down from heaven (is God, Himself, come down to man)
3.  Show me the person who has restrained and possessed the winds with his hands (possesses the authority of God)
4.  Show me the person who has captured the fountains in their clothing (possesses the strength of God)
5.  Show me the person who has founded the entire earth (has accomplished works equal to that of God)
6.  Who can show me, specifically, any highly humanly educated fallen man and his son who rise to the level of the Lord in any area of existence?

This is a rhetorical question when the answer is limited to fallen mankind.  NO SINFUL HUMAN can begin to claim equality with God in any area of their life.

However there is one human, the God/Man, Jesus, who can rightfully claim to be equal to God. Therefore, the only father and son who are equal to God are God the Father and Jesus, His son. This is the only possible correct answer to the question posed by Agur.

Agur’s basic argument is this….  Although other men may be more educated with a human education, really what good is it?  Of all these humanly educated men, none can begin to compare to the Lord.  Therefore, if Agur presents the teachings of the Lord (and not his own thoughts and wisdom) men should pay him much more attention than those who are highly educated in the wisdom of sinful fallen men.’

Please take notice… Agur is not finding fault with human education that would equip a person to supply the needs of his family etc.  He is specifically explaining that education in the fields of religion, philosophy and psychology, when based wholly upon the teachings of fallen man, are of no real value.  God alone has insight into the truth for these three areas, this is why the teachings of Agur (and the entire Word of God) are so valuable for each of us. It is through the Word of God that we all can come to an understanding of spiritual, philosophical, and psychological truths from the mind of God.

SUMMARY:

In these opening verses, Agur displays a genuine, humble attitude of one who recognizes his limitations and the need of Godly intervention for him to be faithful to his calling.  But he also understood the grave importance of his ministry.  God’s Word is the only source of truth in this fallen world.

May the Lord impress on all of our hearts, and especially the hearts of those who minister His Word, to recognize their shortcomings and need of His daily gracious intervention in their lives.  In doing so, this will give tremendous motivation to be sure to ONLY speak the truths of God while putting away our own personal thoughts, and the teachings of sinful, fallen mankind.

By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.

May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.

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11 Comments

  1. […] SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 30:1-4 « SettledInHeaven … […]

  2. pj54 says:

    Hey Rob! Loved this post, although it was a hard one for me to study. I looked it up in The Message Bible and the NLT version. (I shouldn’t have done that, because it confused me even more! LOL) This is what I found. It’s hard to tell if he is being “humble” by saying how lowly he is, or if he’s having a pity party.
    T
    The Message- 1-2 The skeptic swore, “There is no God! No God!—I can do anything I want!
    I’m more animal than human; so-called human intelligence escapes me. 3-4 “I flunked ‘wisdom.’ I see no evidence of a holy God. Has anyone ever seen Anyone climb into Heaven and take charge? grab the winds and control them? gather the rains in his bucket? stake out the ends of the earth? Just tell me his name, tell me the names of his sons.Come on now—tell me!”

    The NLT reads like he is just tired and ready to give up. He says he’s weary and worn out. Then he starts putting himself down by talking about how stupid he is. How he has not mastered “human wisdom, or does not know God. Yet when I read the King James version and your study, it didn’t seem like that. I have come to the conclusion, that it’s not necessarily good to get too deep into study with different versions.

    Thank you for your lessons!

    God Bless,

    PJ

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Hi PJ,

      That’s interesting that is for sure. But either way, I can understand his feelings. When we serve the Lord we certainly can get tired and discouraged over the years. He may be tired and feeling a bit sorry for himself, but in any case, he continues on in his service to the Lord by faithfully teaching the remaining parts of the chapter. I guess if we look at it that way, another great lesson we can learn from him is the need to continue on in faithful service no matter what we may feel at that moment. Whether encouraged or discouraged we should just keep on keeping on.

      Thanks for adding what you found… very interesting!

      Lord bless you my friend!

  3. Another one out of the ball field….excellent! I have to go brush the dust of those “lost books of the bible”….thank you.

  4. PASTOR DAVIS/MASTER TEACHER says:

    Thanks my brother, this is a great lesson in faith, and never giving up no matter how difficult the situation may be. Of course, sometimes we get tired but our patience in the Lord will not allow us to sit around and have pity pat parties. May the Lord continue to strengthen you as you continue to mine the scriptures and share your labor with us.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Yep, I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. It is so easy to get discouraged with our eyes off the Lord. So much better to look to HIm and just keep on keeping on. Lord bless.

  5. SLIMJIM says:

    I appreciate this introduction on the authorship of Proverbs 30. I too think this is not referring to Solomon. Thank you brother

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