The wise words of Agur
1 These are the wise words of Agur the son of Jakeh. The man spoke to Ithiel and to Ucal.
2 I am sillier than any other man is. And I do not have the wisdom of a man.
3 I have never known words of wisdom and I do not know anything about God.
4 Tell me who has gone to God's home. And tell me who has come back. Tell me who has held the wind in his hands. Tell me who has covered the waters with his coat. Tell me who has created the world. If anybody has done this, tell his name to me. Tell his son's name to me. Tell me, if you know.
5 God does everything that he promises to do. You can trust him and be safe. He is like something that you can hide behind.
6 Do not mix your words with his words. If you do, he will say, ‘You are wrong.’ And he will show that you tell lies.
More wise words
7 I ask you, God, to do two things for me before I die. Please do not say, ‘No’.
8 Keep me from lies. Do not let me be rich or poor. Give me only as much food as I need.
9 I might have more than I need. Then I might say that I do not need you. But if I am poor, I might rob people. Then I would make you ashamed of me.
10 Do not say bad words to a servant about his master. If you do, the servant will punish you.
11 There are people who say very bad words about their fathers. They are not kind to their mothers.
12 Some people think that they are always right. But they do bad things anyway.
13 Some people think that they are very good. Oh, how good they think that they are!
14 Some people seem to have teeth like knives. They rob and destroy the poor people. That is the work that they do.
15-16 A leech has two daughters. ‘Give! Give!’ they shout.
There are 3 things that are never happy. And there are 4 things that are never full:
· the world of dead people
· a woman without children
· dry ground that needs rain
· a fire that never stops.
17 There is a man who looks at his father. And he says bad things to him. There is a man who laughs at his old mother. Big birds will pick out that man's eyes and they will eat them.
18-19 There are 3 things that are too difficult for me to understand. There are 4 things that I do not know about:
· how a large bird flies in the sky
· how a snake moves on a rock
· how a ship sails over the sea
· the way of a man with a young woman.
20 This is the way of an adulteress.
She eats and she washes her mouth. Then she says, ‘I have not done anything wrong.’
21-23 There are 3 things that bring trouble on the earth. Yes, there are 4 very bad things:
· a slave who becomes a king
· a fool who eats too much
· a woman that nobody loves who marries a husband
· a female servant who pushes out the woman that she works for.
24-28 There are 4 small animals in the world that are very wise:
· Ants are weak, but they prepare their food in the summer.
· There are small animals that are weak. But they make their homes among the rocks.
· Locusts have no king. But they all fly together in one direction.
· You can catch a lizard with your hand. But you can find them in kings' houses.
29-31 There are 3 things that seem powerful. They seem powerful when they walk. There are 4 things that are good to see. They are good to see walking:
· Lions are the strongest of all animals and they are not afraid of anything.
· the cockerel that wakes the farmer in the morning
· a male goat
· a king with his army round him.
32 You may think about yourself as good when you really are not so good. If you think like that, you are silly. Put your hand over your mouth. Also put your hand over your mouth if you want to do bad things.
33 If you mix milk for a long time you will make butter. If you hit someone's nose, it bleeds. If you make people angry, you will cause a quarrel for yourself.