Things, Things

Proverbs 30:21–33 (NKJV)

21 For three things the earth is perturbed,
Yes, for four it cannot bear up:
22 For a servant when he reigns,
A fool when he is filled with food,
23 A hateful woman when she is married,
And a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.

24 There are four things which are little on the earth,
But they are exceedingly wise:
25 The ants are a people not strong,
Yet they prepare their food in the summer;
26 The rock badgers are a feeble folk,
Yet they make their homes in the crags;
27 The locusts have no king,
Yet they all advance in ranks;
28 The spider skillfully grasps with its hands,
And it is in kings’ palaces.

29 There are three things which are majestic in pace,
Yes, four which are stately in walk:
30 A lion, which is mighty among beasts
And does not turn away from any;
31 A greyhound,
A male goat also,
And a king whose troops are with him.
32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself,
Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.
33 For as the churning of milk produces butter,
And wringing the nose produces blood,
So the forcing of wrath produces strife.

Agur starts this passage with another list of things that perturb the earth.  When a servant reigns he may be arrogant, or he may be inept.  Either way, it is difficult to bear.  When a fool is well-fed, he makes people wary or else resentful.  When a hateful woman marries, she is hard to live with.  When a maidservant succeeds her mistress, she may be vindictive or inept as well.

Agur then describes four things that are small but wise.  Ants are tiny, but they store food, carrying many times their own body weight.  Rock Badgers are feeble, living in rocky crags for safety.  Locusts have no real organization, but they advance in ranks safely and efficiently.  The spider dwells in king’s palaces, grasping skillfully and weaving webs.  Some speculate that this could be a lizard instead of a spider, and it is stealthy and able to hide in a king’s house.

Agur then mentions three, yes four things that travel in majestic fashion: a lion, a greyhound, a male goat, and a king’s army.  He finishes up with a statement about foolish boasting or planning evil.  If you find yourself guilty of those things, close your mouth.  If wrath produces strife, it is like milk being churned to form butter, and a nose being twisted until is bleeds.    Be cautious with your words and actions, and appreciate the small things of life that can teach you how to live!

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