Scripture Reading: Proverbs 30:1-3, 5-6
“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal.” (Proverbs 30:1)
Agur: Agur was an unknown Hebrew sage who collected the Proverbs which we read in chapter thirty. His name means “member of a gathering.”
His father’s name was Jakeh. He is also unknown. The name “Jakeh” means “one who hears, one who obeys.”
Ithiel: Ithiel was one of two persons to whom Agur spoke the Proverbs. His name means “God is with me.”
Ucal: Ucal was unknown. His name means, “I am scorned, disdained.”
Some Bible scholars think they refer to two types of people; one type who is scorned and disdained, and another that is favoured by God. This could mean that the Proverbs are for all people — good and bad, righteous and wicked. There is no doubt that anyone who will read the Proverbs and take them to heart can be greatly benefited by them. One cannot read and study them without being changed.
“Surely I am more brutish [set on fire, consumed] than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.” (Proverbs 30:2)
Agur, who undoubtedly has spent a long time collecting Proverbs is humbled as he reads them. Some of them, no doubt date from the time of Noah, and perhaps, even Seth! He feels altogether unworthy. I can understand how he feels. This is the second time I have written most of this book, because much of the first manuscript was lost in the fire just as we were ready to go to press with it [the original office building at our headquarters burned down on November 17, 1990]. As I am writing out the meanings and the applications of these wonderful words of wisdom I am humbled by their brilliance, their beauty, their depths of meaning, and the practicality of their words — words that were written by sages in ancient times.
I find that human nature has not changed. People need these words of wisdom just a much today as they did so long ago.
Agur is so overwhelmed by the practical wisdom of these words that he cries out, “I have not the understanding of a man.”
“I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.” (Proverbs 30:3)
He realizes that he knows nothing compared with the holy men who wrote these Proverbs. There is a wisdom that comes with holiness which is very high. The sinner cannot even begin to attain unto this greatness. Yet God makes it available to the least educated of us through the Holy Spirit.
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” (Proverbs 30:5)
He reminds us of the purity in these Proverbs, that they are the actual Word of God, and if we will live by these righteous rules, God will be a shield to each one of us, “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:6)
We are warned not to tamper with these words by adding to them. The simplicity of truth makes them great. The man or the nation that tries to live by any other law than the Holy Laws of a Holy God will soon fall.
Gems of Wisdom by Gwen Shaw
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