The last two chapters of Proverbs are sort of appendices to the rest of the book. Solomon seems to have compiled the first 24 chapters personally. Hezekiah had his guys put together 5 more chapters that Solomon didn’t include. But these last two are completely different.
First, we don’t know anything about the writers (Agur, Lemuel’s mother) or the recipients (Ithiel, Ukal, King Lemuel). Secondly, the proverbs are more like paragraphs than short, pithy sayings.
So, here are some thoughts from chapter 30.
Every word of God is purified; he is like a shield for those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he reprove you, and prove you to be a liar. (30:5-6)
Many people are familiar with the prophecy of Revelation 22:18-19 that someone who adds to or subtracts from the Revelation (sometimes misapplied to the entire Bible) will be severely punished.
The results in Proverbs 30 don’t seem nearly as harsh, but the point remains the same – don’t put words in God’s mouth. Don’t try to make him say something he never said. This is actually the point behind the third commandment (Exodus 20:7), which I will be teaching on at OTCC later this spring.
There is a generation who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers.
There is a generation who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not washed from their filthiness.
There is a generation whose eyes are so lofty, and whose eyelids are lifted up disdainfully.
There is a generation whose teeth are like swords and whose molars are like knives to devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among the human race. (30:11-14)
Four times Agur says, “There is a generation.” From the description, it seems to me like this is a recurring “generation”, and ours is no different.
Consider the national decay that a generation with these morals will bring:
- no respect of parents; probably includes rebellion against any authority
- no sense of right and wrong; they think they’re “pure” because they can’t see their own “filthiness”
- no humility; rather than locking eyes and looking at people, they look down on or away from them
- no compassion for others; their response to the “poor” and “needy” is to get rid of them so they don’t mess up the scenery (read: euthanasia, abortion-on-demand, etc.)
This is the way of an adulterous woman: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have not done wrong.” (30:20)
I know this can be taken a couple of different ways, but here’s how I read it. I get the picture of the adulterous person (woman or man) as a predator feeding off of their victims. Think vampire. When they’re done with the “meal”, they calmly wipe their mouths, look up, and say, “What?”
Under four things [the earth] cannot bear up…an unloved woman who is married… (30:23)
Wow – this one caught me off guard. Of all the things nature could abhor, a married woman unloved by her husband? Remember, the Bible is God’s very own heart and mind written down for us. What does this tell us about him? What does this tell me about me?