The comments interspersed throughout are in non-bold italics.
20. This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats and wipes her mouth
and says, “I have done no wrong.” Biblically adultery is sin. Yet here the response of the adulterous woman is satisfaction in that she can feed herself plentifully without a sense of wrongdoing.
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 maidservant when she displaces her mistress. Here we again see the Hebraic poetic use of a number + one more. Of these four all are very sad.
- An uninformed, untrained leader.
- An appetite satisfied fool who thinks that is enough.
- A wife without love from her husband
- An unfaithful husband.
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 rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
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. Creation is amazing and we should be amazed, and there is plenty we can learn from it.
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 rooster, the he-goat,
and a king whose army is with him. These are all examples of determination. I guess it can be overdone in humans but many lack enough of it to make the success of life for which they have been created.
32.If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth. Don’t keep on putting your foot in your mouth. Learn to ‘shut up’ when it’s wise.
33. For pressing milk produces curds,
pressing the nose produces blood,
and pressing anger produces strife. A very symbolic way of saying anger is often ruinous and harmful.
Prayer: Thank you for including the proverbs of Agur in this book. Help me to learn his simple but fundamental lessons, please.