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Here are mingled, with other divine things, a collection of Proverbs, as before: but it should seem to be not of the writings of Solomon. Their tendency is, however, the same; and, no doubt, they are of divine inspiration, being a part of the sacred canon of scripture.
Proverbs 30:1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,
The Author, or writer, makes this first verse a preface to the subject. His name is Agur Ben Jakeh. And it is called a prophecy, what he here delivers. He seems to have addressed it to two persons, Ithiel and Ucal. But this is not certain. Indeed, from the names themselves of those persons, if they may be supposed to have any signification more to the doctrine herein contained, than to their own character, it should seem to be important. Ithiel means in the compound, God with me: and Ucal means mighty. So that it hath been supposed, that what is here delivered by Agur, is not to Ithiel, and Ucal, but concerning Christ, to whom those names are applicable. And this seems to be the more probable, because Agur means; in its original, a gatherer. So that if this be the intention, then the preface will be the word's which are gathered by Agur, in prophecy of Ithiel, even of God the mighty one with me. And this seems yet more probable from the similar prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 and again in Isaiah 9:6 . But if there be the least authority for this interpretation of Agur's preface, we shall be sure to find somewhat corresponding in the prophecy itself, in relation to Christ. I pray the Reader to be very diligent in looking out on this ground. And I yet pray more earnestly for that gracious God, whose office-character it is to take of the things of Jesus, and shew to us, to be with us in our going through this chapter!
Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
Certainly these verses contain what may well be supposed to form the creed of one taught of God. He begins his discourse in the best manner, in disclaiming all self-knowledge, and all self-righteousness. Thus far we may safely conclude, that if the writer is about to discourse of Christ, his preface is quite in point.
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell? Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Surely the writer, be who he may, is speaking of God and of his Christ. Nay, he seems to have been speaking in the same words, as Christ! See John 3:13 . I refer the Reader also to those other scriptures by way of confirmation. Isaiah 40:10-16 ; John 1:1-5 ; Ephesians 4:9-10 . And when the Reader hath duly pondered over the different passages, I beg of him to say, whether any prophecy can be more pointed than what is here contained, to the person and glories of Jesus? And I beg the Reader to remark yet farther, that in the delightful method he hath here adopted of asking his name, and his Son's
name; is it not decided by saying that his name then was secret, which hereafter was to be revealed openly. Jacob asked his name and it was then secret. Genesis 32:29 . Moses at the bush desired also to have some name of authority to go by, and all he learnt was, that it was a Being self-existent, and eternal, that could, and would give a being to all his promises, I am, that I am. Exodus 3:14 . And Manoah was told to the same amount, Judges 13:18
Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
Here is the memorable prayer of Agur. In every point of view, as respecting providence and grace, it is very full. Reader! when a child of God hath learnt with full assurance of faith to commit his soul into the hands of Christ, he finds the greater confidence to depend upon a faithful God in Christ for the supplies of the body. He that saveth the greater will be sure to provide for the less.
Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty. There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.
All the several generations here spoken of are to be accounted for the same way. Every unawakened sinner is sleeping in the security of self-confidence, and his eyes have never been opened to see the spots of his own soul. And how then shall he be washed from his filthiness who denieth, because he knoweth not his own uncleanness. How sweet that prayer of David: Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Psalms 19:12 . And how becoming that prayer of the leper: Lord! if thou wilt thou canst make me clean. Matthew 8:2 . Reader! can you adopt the language of both? If so, surely you are not of the generation Agur speaks of.
The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough. The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid. Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness. For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress. There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces. There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up. If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth. Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.
I include the whole of these verses into one reading. They are all descriptive of one and the same thing, namely, the depth of iniquity in the human heart, which, as the Lord hath said by the Prophet, none but He that searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins can know. Jeremiah 17:9-10 . But reader! what a strength of argument do all these things furnish, to endear, and make interesting, Jesus, and his great salvation. Where, or to whom, blessed Lord, can such poor polluted creatures as are here described, look for deliverance, but to thee, who art the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS! Reader! while meditating these things, and learning therefrom the universal depravity and corruption of the heart, can you join issue in that blessed scripture, in a consciousness of being the happy partaker of it? And such were some of you: but ye are washed: but ye are sanctified; but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
BLESSED Lord Jesus! I desire to adore thee, for having added to all thy servants the Prophets in their testimonies concerning thee, this charming portion of Agur. Indeed, 0 Lord, I cannot but accept what is here said by him, as referring to thee. For who is the Ithiel of the scripture, but JESUS? And who is the Ucal of his people, but He, that is the Lord our righteousness, mighty to save? I may well find interest in the words of Agur; for I can truly say with him, as referring to nature, void of thy divine teaching; I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. And hadst thou not, by the teaching of thy blessed Spirit, brought me acquainted with thyself, I might have been forever asking, without obtaining an answer: what is the name of Jehovah; and what the name of Jesus? But now, Lord, through thy grace preventing me, I do know thee, and desire to love thee, and to live to thee, and rejoice in thee. And because of the savor of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth. They that know thy name, will put their trust in thee.
Matchless Instructor! let all the divine parables of thy word, be opened and explained to me by thyself. May I see in them, and through them, Christ Jesus; and then in Him I shall find all I need. And, however, to the unwakened, they may remain as a vision sealed, yet if thou, Lord, wilt open mine eyes, 1 shall see the wondrous things of thy law.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 30". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany