Proverbs 30:1
The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spoke to Ithiel, even to Ithiel and Ucal,
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30:1-6 Agur speaks of himself as wanting a righteousness, and having done very foolishly. And it becomes us all to have low thoughts of ourselves. He speaks of himself as wanting revelation to guide him in the ways of truth and wisdom. The more enlightened people are, the more they lament their ignorance; the more they pray for clearer, still clearer discoveries of God, and his rich grace in Christ Jesus. In ver.See the introduction to Proverbs. According to the different reading, there noted, the inscription ends with: "the man spake," and the words that follow, are the beginning of the confession, "I have wearied myself after God and have fainted."

Spake - The Hebrew word is that commonly used of the utterance of a divine oracle.

The words of Agur the son of Jakeh,.... Here begins, according to Aben Ezra, the fourth part of this book; though, according to others, it is the fifth; See Gill on Proverbs 22:17; Who this Agur was is a matter of doubt; some of the Jewish writers, as Jarchi and Gersom, and likewise some Christian writers (f), take him to be Solomon himself, who calls himself Agur, which is said to signify "a gatherer"; and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "the words of the gatherer, the son of the vomiter"; just as he calls himself Koheleth, or "the caller", or "preacher", Ecclesiastes 1:1. The reason given of this name is, because he gathered wisdom and the law (g); or, as Jarchi, he gathered wisdom, and vomited it; that is, delivered it out to others; so he did, he sought after and attained to more wisdom than any before him, for he was wiser than all men; and it may be added, that he "gathered" silver and gold, and the treasure of kings, and increased in riches more than any before him, Ecclesiastes 1:13. But then all this does not agree with the person whose words these are; for he speaks of himself as being very ignorant, and as not having learned wisdom, Proverbs 30:2; and desires neither poverty nor riches, Proverbs 30:8; besides, the word "Agur" signifies not "a gatherer", but "gathered", as Hillerus (h) renders it; and so Cocceius, who thinks also that Solomon is meant, yet not for the above reasons, but translates the clause thus, "the words of the recollected son of the obedient"; as if it described Solomon the son of David, the obedient one, the man after God's own heart, when he was restored by repentance; but it seems better, with Aben Ezra, to understand this of some very good, knowing, and worthy man, who lived in those times, either before the times of Solomon, or in the same, whose pithy sayings and sentences he had a great regard for, and joined them to his own; or who lived in the times of Hezekiah, or before, whose proverbs were collected by his men, and added to those of Solomon's they had copied in the preceding chapters; see Proverbs 25:1;

even the prophecy; or "burden" (i), as many of the prophecies are called; it designs something received from the Lord, taken up and carried to others; so Balaam is said to "take up his parable", Numbers 23:7. Here it does not design a prediction of future events, unless it can be thought that there is in the following words a prophecy of the Messiah; but an instruction, a declaration of things useful and profitable; so preaching in the New Testament is called prophesying often, 1 Corinthians 14:1. This is a part of the word of God, of the prophecy which came not by the will of man, but by the inspiration of God, 2 Peter 1:19; which prophecy

the man spake, this excellent good man Agur, who was divinely inspired; see Numbers 24:3;

unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal; who were either the children of Agur, whom he instructed in the knowledge of divine things; or they were, as Aben Ezra, either his companions with whom he conversed about sacred things, or his disciples who inquired of him about these things, and learned them of him. Some think (k) these are titles of God himself, to whom Agur directs his speech, and acknowledges his ignorance of the divine Being, whom he might justly call Ithiel and Ucal, that is, "God with me", and "the mighty One"; and certain it is that Agur does direct a prayer to God, Proverbs 30:7; And some read these words themselves as a prayer, "let God be with me, and one shall prevail" (l), that is, over all mine enemies; for, if God is on the side of his people, who shall be against them? or, "I shall be able" to do all things through the Lord's strength, Romans 8:31; But I rather think the words should be read, as Jarchi observes, "concerning Ithiel and Ucal" (m); that is, concerning the Messiah, to whom these names agree. Ithiel, or "God with me", is very similar to a phrase used by Christ himself in the days of his flesh, John 8:29. God was with him as the eternal Word, and his only begotten Son, from all eternity, which denotes his co-existence, nearness of union, equality of nature, and distinction of persons; he was with him as Mediator before the world began, in the council of peace, which was between them both; in the covenant of grace made with him, in which all things were agreed upon respecting the salvation of his people; he was with him in the beginning of time down to his incarnation; he was with him in the creation of all things, in the sustentation of them; in the works of providence, and in the government of the church; he was with him during his state of humiliation; in his infancy, to protect him from the malice of Herod; he was with him when disputing with the doctors in the temple, to direct him; he was with him at his baptism, transfiguration, and other times; he was with him throughout his public ministry, from the beginning to the end of it; he did good and healed all manner of diseases, and wrought amazing miracles, God being with him, John 3:2, Acts 10:38; and he was with him in his sufferings and at his death; and so he is with him in his exalted state; he raised him from the dead, set him at his own right hand, and ever attends to his prevalent intercession; and will be with him in raising the dead and judging the world. "Ucal", which has the signification of being able, strong, mighty, and powerful, agrees with Christ, who is the mighty God the most mighty, the Almighty; and which appears by the works he did before his incarnation, as the creation of all things out of nothing, the preservation of all things, and the several wonderful events in which he was; concerned, as the confusion of languages, the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, the conducting the children of Israel through the wilderness, with others; also what he did when here on earth, the mighty works and miracles done by him, and especially the great work of man's redemption, and also the raising of himself from the dead: moreover, what he now does and will do for his people show him to be the mighty One; taking the care of all the churches and providing for them; supplying all the wants of his people, bearing all their burdens, supporting them under all their temptations, and delivering them out of them; strengthening them for his service, protecting them from their enemies, keeping them from falling, raising their dead bodies, and bringing all the sons of God to glory: or if the word should be rendered, as it may, "eaten" or "consumed" (n), it is true of Christ, whose zeal ate him up, Psalm 69:9; and who is the antitype of the sacrifice consumed by fire.

(f) De Dieu, Cocceius, Teelman. Specimen. Explicat. Parabot. p. 378. (g) Jelammedenu apud Buxtorf. Lex. Rab. Colossians 26. (h) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 39. (i) "onus", Mercerus; "prophetia gravis", Tigurine version. (k) Jermin in loc. (l) See Trapp in loc. (m) So Junius & Tremellius, Aamama, Calovius, Cartwright. (n) Vid. Teelman. Specimen. Expliicat. Parabol. p. 391.

The words of {a} Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spoke to Ithiel, even to {b} Ithiel and Ucal,

(a) Who was an excellent man in virtue and knowledge in the time of Solomon.

(b) Who were Agur's scholars or friends.

The following group begins with a proverb which rhymes by מדון, with מנון of the foregoing, and extends on to the end of this Hezekiah collection:

22 A man of anger stirreth up strife;

     And a passionate man aboundeth in transgression.

Line first is a variation of Proverbs 15:18 and Proverbs 28:25. אישׁ and בּעל as here, but in the reverse order at Proverbs 22:24.

(Note: For אישׁ־אף (Lwenstein after Norzi) is to be written, with Baer (Thorath Emeth, p. 19), אישׁ אף ,)91. Thus also in Cod. Jaman.)

אף here means anger, not the nose, viz., the expanded nostrils (Schultens). In רב־פּשׁע the פשׁע is, after Proverbs 14:29; Proverbs 28:16; Proverbs 20:27, the governed genitive; Hitzig construes it in the sense of פשׁע רב, Psalm 19:2, with יגרה, but one does not say גּרה פשׁע; and that which is true of רבּים, that, after the manner of a numeral, it can precede its substantive (vid., under Psalm 7:26; Psalm 89:51), cannot be said of רב. Much (great) in wickedness denotes one who heaps up many wicked actions, and burdens himself with greater guilt (cf. פשׁע, Proverbs 29:16). The wrathful man stirreth up (vid., under Proverbs 15:18) strife, for he breaks through the mutual relations of men, which rest on mutual esteem and love, and by means of his passionate conduct he makes enemies of those against whom he thinks that he has reason for being angry; that on account of which he is angry can be settled without producing such hostility, but passion impels him on, and misrepresents the matter; it embitters hearts, and tears them asunder. The lxx has, instead of רב, ἐξώρυξεν, of dreaming, כרה (Proverbs 16:27).


Pr 30:1-33.

1. This is the title of this chapter (see [648]Introduction).

the prophecy—literally, "the burden" (compare Isa 13:1; Zec 9:1), used for any divine instruction; not necessarily a prediction, which was only a kind of prophecy (1Ch 15:27, "a song"). Prophets were inspired men, who spoke for God to man, or for man to God (Ge 20:7; Ex 7:14, 15, 16). Such, also, were the New Testament prophets. In a general sense, Gad, Nathan, and others were such, who were divine teachers, though we do not learn that they ever predicted.

the man spake—literally, "the saying of the man"; an expression used to denote any solemn and important announcement (compare 2Sa 23:1; Ps 36:1; 110:1; Isa 1:24, &c.). Ithiel and Ucal were perhaps pupils.

The words of Agur the son of Jakeh - The words Agur, Jakeh, Ithiel, and Ucal, have been considered by some as proper names: by others, as descriptive characters. With some, Agur is Solomon; and Jakeh, David; and Ithiel and Ural are epithets of Christ.

The Vulgate translates, Verba congregantis filii vomentis: visio, quam locutus est sir, cum quo est Deus, et qui Deo secum morante confortatus, ait. "The words of the collector, the son of the vomiter: the vision of the man who has God with him, and who is fortified by God dwelling with him, saith."

Coverdale makes the following words a title to the chapter:

"The wordes of Agur the sonne of Jake.

"The prophecie of a true faithfull man, whom God hath helped; whom God hath comforted and nourished."

The whole might be thus translated, keeping near to the letter: -

"The words of the epistle of the obedient son." Or,

"The words of the collector, the son of Jakeh. The parable which הגבר haggeber, the strong man, the hero, spake unto him who is God with me; to him who is God with me, even the strong God."

The visioun that a man spake with whiche is God, and that God with him, wonyng confortid. - Old MS. Bible.

From this introduction, from the names here used, and from the style of the book, it appears evident that Solomon was not the author of this chapter; and that it was designed to be distinguished from his work by this very preface, which specifically distinguishes it from the preceding work. Nor can the words in Proverbs 30:2, Proverbs 30:3, Proverbs 30:8, Proverbs 30:9, be at all applied to Solomon: they suit no part of Solomon's life, nor of his circumstances. We must, therefore, consider it an appendix or supplement to the preceding collection; something in the manner of that part which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, had collected. As to mysteries here, many have been found by them who sought for nothing else; but they are all, in my view of the subject, hazarded and precarious. I believe Agur, Jakeh, Ithiel, and Ural, to be the names of persons who did exist, but of whom we know nothing but what is here mentioned. Agur seems to have been a public teacher, and Ithiel and Ucal to have been his scholars; and what he delivers to them was done by prophesy. It was what the prophets generally term משא massa, an Oracle, something immediately delivered by the Holy Spirit for the benefit of man.

30:1 Jakeh - Who lived either in Solomon's time, or rather afterwards, and was famous in his generation for wisdom and piety. The prophecy - The prophetical instruction; for as the prophets were public preachers as well as foretellers of things to come, so their sermons, no less than their predictions, are commonly called their prophecies. And Ucal - Two friends and co - temporaries of Agur, who desired his instructions.
Proverbs 29:27
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