Proverbs Reading Challenge – Chapter 30

Only one day and one chapter left in Proverbs (after today).  This has been an amazing journey with so many insights and clear directions for living.  God’s Word is relevant for us today.

New Guy

Chapter 30 is written by a guy named Agur (30:1a) the son of Jakeh.  There is no other mention of them in the bible.   Agur may have been an adviser in Solomon’s or Hezekiah’s administration.  Their Hebrew names, (like all Hebrew names) do mean something. “Agur” means “gatherer’ and “Jakeh” means “pious.”  Some versions translate the names as common nouns: “The words of a gatherer, the son of the pious.”   We see the same thing in verse 1b  the New International Version, King James Version translate the second part of this verse using Proper Nouns “This man declared to Itiel, to Ithiel and to Ucal.”   The New Living Translation uses the common nouns:  “I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God”

I am weary and worn out fits best with what comes in verse 2.

Human Limits

30:2–3 The author declares ignorance in v. 2 that he has struggled to come to an understanding of the truth, and he must confess that he has reached his limit.   It is an acknowledgment of the limits of human understanding and a humble confession that only God is truly wise.

Jesus Christ

30:4.   Jesus Christ! These are direct references ( in the Old Testament) to Jesus.  In a series of rhetorical questions that allude to the creative power of God (and human lack of that power), he implies that no one can explain the metaphysical powers behind the visible creation. This is much like God’s confrontation of Job (Job 38:8–11).

The line “What is his name, and the name of his son?” Since “God” is the only possible answer to the first question, it is striking that the verse speaks of his “son.”   The Son of God came down from above to reveal the truth to his people (John 3:31–33). Also, Colossians 1:16,17  reveals  that through Christ the world was created.

God’s Word is Helpful

      30:5  The word of God, in contrast to human wisdom, is a reliable source of truth. In the real world of experience, people have found that God’s revelation stands true. So God is a shield to those who trust Him. The knowledge offered is not just abstract but is practical for dealing with day-to-day life.

Don’t Add to God’s Word

30:6 Verse 6 is an injunction against adding to God’s words similar to the injunctions found in Deut 12:32 and Rev 22:18. It is noteworthy that this verse does not warn the reader not to reject or take away from divine revelation; it is more concerned that no one try to add to it. It is what Paul called “going beyond what is written” (1 Cor 4:6). Such a practice makes people think   some Bible teachers have profound insight into the Bible and can find hidden truths. Sooner or later these super Bible teachers will be shown to be wrong (v. 6b).

Just Enough

      30:7–9  The author recognizes his weaknesses, both in his tendency to forget God when life is too easy and to turn in desperation away from God when life is too hard.   Like Paul, we can learn how to live whether we have little or plenty (Philippians 4:12),  the key is to learn contentment.

Slander

     30:10  More about slander.  Slander is talk meant to hurt another person. If you try to hurt someone’s reputation, they will find out and you will pay.  This is in the setting of talking bad about someone to their employer (trying to go over their head) but the lesson is the same, they will find out and you will pay: with a law suit or with a reputation of being malicious person.  Slander is bad and this behavior is always condemned in the Bible.

Four Types of Really Bad People

     30:11–14 This is description of four types of sinners: those who curse their parents (v. 11), those do wrong but will not recognize it as wrong, (v. 12), the highly arrogant (v. 13), and those who prey upon the poor and needy (v. 14 ).

The Greedy

     30:15–16  “The leech has two “daughters” (the two suckers at either end of the leech’s body) that always want more.  It probably was used as a taunt; anyone who gained a reputation as a parasite may have heard this proverb echoing in his or her ears.   True observations of greedy  or parasitic people, they never have enough.

What Happens to Parent Haters

   30:17 This verse looks back to v. 11 which already describes parent haters as big problem.  Notice what happens to them…  The image is especially graphic:  if birds are picking out the eyes it implies that the bodies lie unburied. To mock and scorn parents is to live a life characterized by lack of discipline and excessive violence, and such people are naturally prone to die a violent death, alone and with no one who really cares.

A Riddle and A Clue    

     30:18–20 What is there about an eagle in the sky, a snake on a rock, a ship on the sea, and a man with a young woman that mystifies the author? What do these four have in common? This is a riddle.   The eagle, the snake, and the ship can cross the sky, a rock, or the sea and leave no tracks.  No permanent trace of their passing remains. The link between these three and the way of a man with a young woman is in v. 20, which serves as a clue. Wiping her mouth after eating means that the adulteress treats sexual liaisons the same way she does eating: she just finishes up and goes home without a care and certainly without a sense of guilt.   It is the attitude of the couple, their moral indifference that astounds the writer. How can two people involve themselves in something as intimate as sexual union and then think nothing of it.

Four More Problem People

     30:21–23  No more riddles, just four types of people (2 male, 2 female) that cause problems: an unqualified individual who gains authority over others but doesn’t have the training or disposition to lead, a fat and satisfied fool, a bitter woman desperate for love, and one who destroys those around her.

 Four Animals to Learn From

30:24–28. The lesson of the ant is to provide for bad times during good times.  The lesson of the badger is to provide for personal security and build well.  The lesson of the locust is to cooperate. The lesson of the lizard is that you can succeed in spite of disadvantages. The lizard is relatively defenseless; lacking in significant claws or teeth, even a child can grab it.  But it can live in a palace, the best place in the country.

More Animals to Learn From

30:29–31 The lion is fearless, he goes straight ahead and doesn’t detour.  A lion is known for its unflinching boldness, and this trait should characterize the Christ follower.  The next animal is a strutting rooster.   He is not a powerful animal, but holds his head high.  He walks with confidence like one who walks with Christ should walk, not in fear or embarrassment. The other animal mentioned in this verse is the goat. The mountain goat is a climber who lives way up in the top of the mountains. He finds both pleasure and safety how he lives, like a Christ follower should.  And the last is the king.  The dignity of a king as he exercises his authority is to be respected.  Like these examples, we should live for Christ without fear, with dignity, security and respect.

Troublemakers Beware

30:32–33 Those who make trouble get into trouble. In v. 33  “churning milk makes butter, and twisting the nose produces blood, but who make trouble are liable to get punched in the nose!

More good stuff today, personally I enjoyed all the references to animals.  Until tomorrow!   Darrell

 

Sources:
Classic Bible Commentary
J  Vernon McGee’s Through the Bible
Life Application Bible Notes
Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary
New American Commentary

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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