Proverbs 30-31 Revised Standard Version

The Observations of Agur

30 1  The words of Agur son of Jakeh of Massa. The man says to Ith'i-el, to Ith'i-el and Ucal: 2  Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. 3  I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. 4  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! 5  Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6  Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

7  Two things I ask of thee; deny them not to me before I die: 8  Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 9  lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, "Who is the Lord?" or lest I be poor, and steal, and profane the name of my God.

10  Do not slander a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be held guilty. 11  There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers. 12  There are those who are pure in their own eyes but are not cleansed of their filth. 13  There are those--how lofty are their eyes, how high their eyelids lift! 14  There are those whose teeth are swords, whose teeth are knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, the needy from among men.

15  The leech has two daughters; "Give, give," they cry. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, "Enough": 16  Sheol, the barren womb, the earth ever thirsty for water, and the fire which never says, "Enough." 17  The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.

18  Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: 19  the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden. 20  This is the way of an adulteress: she eats, and wipes her mouth, and says, "I have done no wrong." 21  Under three things the earth trembles; under four it cannot bear up: 22  a slave when he becomes king, and a fool when he is filled with food; 23  an unloved woman when she gets a husband, and a maid when she succeeds her mistress.

24  Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: 25  the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; 26  the badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the rocks; 27  the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; 28  the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings' palaces.

29  Three things are stately in their tread; four are stately in their stride: 30  the lion, which is mightiest among beasts and does not turn back before any; 31  the strutting cock, the he-goat, and a king striding before his people. 32  If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth. 33  For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.

Admonitions to a King

31 1  The words of Lemuel, king of Massa, which his mother taught him: 2  What, my son? What, son of my womb? What, son of my vows? 3  Give not your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings. 4  It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink; 5  lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. 6  Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; 7  let them drink and forget their poverty, and remember their misery no more. 8  Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all who are left desolate. 9  Open your mouth, judge righteously, maintain the rights of the poor and needy.

Praise of a Good Woman

10  A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12  She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13  She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14  She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from afar. 15  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and tasks for her maidens. 16  She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17  She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong. 18  She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19  She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20  She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21  She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 22  She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23  Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 24  She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers girdles to the merchant. 25  Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27  She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29  "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." 30  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

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