Proverbs 30:15-20

In Proverbs 30:15-20 Agur points out four things that are never satisfied. He was frustrated that people were never content – never had enough. The thought of the generation that greedily devours everything made Agur consider that there were four things that could never be satisfied. “The leech has two daughters; “Give” and “Give,” they cry. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough”: Sheol, the barren womb, the land never satisfied with water, and the fire that never says, “Enough.” The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.”

Here are the four things Agur lists:

  1. Sheol (the grave), the barren womb – The dead never stop dying and the grave of humanity never seems to be filled. The barren womb feels the ache of its emptiness and what is often felt like an unfulfilled purpose.
  2. The land never satisfied – The earth seems to continually drink and absorb the water poured out upon it, and fire will burn as long as there is fuel to burn. These all are examples of things that never seem to say, “Enough!”
  3. The eye that mocks a father – This eye belongs to the fool, the one who mocks and disobeys father and mother. This upsets the social order and sets the generations in conflict.
  4. The ravens of the valley – Agur used a vivid poetic description to tell of the ruin waiting for the child who mocks and scorns their parents. This fool was blind in his mocking and disobedience; this poetic image tells of a fit penalty for someone so morally and spiritually blind.

Agur then changes gears. He had just shared four things where we are never satisfied and always seeking more. Now he gives us four things too wonderful. Agur gave no advice in the proverb, but reminded us all that there are things that are too wonderful for our complete understanding, things we should simply be amazed at and a bit humbled in the presence of. “Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin. This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.”

Agur gave his list of four amazing things:

  1. The way of an eagle – The flight of a majestic eagle amazes us with its power, height, and grace.
  2. The way of a serpent on a rock – The serpent suns itself on the rock, yet is ready to flee at the slightest disturbance – and can slither itself over hard and sharp rock without injury!
  3. The way of a ship on high seas – A ship is so small in the midst of the sea, yet it virtually conquers the sea by using it as a road for travel and trade.
  4. The way of a man with a virgin – The power of young love and its desire seems that it would overwhelm both a man and a virgin, but they marry and make a productive life together.

Do these four things have anything in common? Guzik notes:

  • All four things are visible for a while, then hidden.
  • All four things progress without leaving a trace.
  • All four things have a mysterious means of progress or motivation.
  • All four things move in the domain of something else.

The four deal with things that can be difficult to deal with – air, rock, sea, and young women. There are things that are beyond our ability to truly comprehend. We merely need to trust God to lead.

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