For the penultimate chapter of the book, a new author takes the pen. Agur, son of Jakeh, writes what is called “an inspired utterance,” and in doing so, he models how a believer should pray. He begins by humbling himself, admitting how foolish and powerless he is compared to God. He honors God’s words, urging his readers not to add to them. Agur asks for protection and provision, so that he might better focus on the One who guards and gives in abundance, and he lists behaviors and characteristics that he wishes to avoid — slander, disrespect, impurity, pride, violence, and greed. Agur includes several comparisons that clearly imagine the vices and virtues of his world. He lists three things — no, four — that are never satisfied, that are too amazing to understand, that cause the earth to tremble, that are small yet extremely wise, and that are stately in their bearing. Finally, Agur ends with a warning to those readers who either play the fool or plan evil, both of which have been decried throughout the book; “clap your hand over your mouth….stirring up anger produces strife” (verses 32-33).
Verse 1: “‘I am weary, God, but I can prevail.'”
Verse 5: “‘Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.'”
Verse 8: “‘Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.'”