Proverbs 30:19
Parallel Verses
New International Version
the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman.

New Living Translation
how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.

English Standard Version
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.

New American Standard Bible
The way of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship at sea, and the way of a man with a young woman.

International Standard Version
The way an eagle flies 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 young woman.

NET Bible
the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship in the sea, and the way of a man with a woman.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The way of an eagle in the sky, the way of the snake upon a rock, the way of the ship in the heart of the sea and the way of a man in his youth.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
an eagle making its way through the sky, a snake making its way over a rock, a ship making its way through high seas, a man making his way with a virgin.

Jubilee Bible 2000
The track of the eagle in the air; the track of the serpent upon the rock; the track of the ship in the midst of the sea; and the track of the man in the maid.

King James 2000 Bible
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 maiden.

American King James Version
The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent on a rock; the way of a ship in the middle of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

American Standard Version
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 maiden.

Douay-Rheims Bible
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 in youth.

Darby Bible Translation
The way of an eagle in the heavens, 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.

English Revised Version
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.

Webster's Bible Translation
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.

World English Bible
The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent on a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maiden.

Young's Literal Translation
The way of the eagle in the heavens, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the heart of the sea, And the way of a man in youth.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

30:10 Slander not a servant to his master, accuse him not in small matters, to make mischief. 11-14. In every age there are monsters of ingratitude who ill-treat their parents. Many persuade themselves they are holy persons, whose hearts are full of sin, and who practise secret wickedness. There are others whose lofty pride is manifest. There have also been cruel monsters in every age. 15-17. Cruelty and covetousness are two daughters of the horseleech, that still cry, Give, give, and they are continually uneasy to themselves. Four things never are satisfied, to which these devourers are compared. Those are never rich that are always coveting. And many who have come to a bad end, have owned that their wicked courses began by despising their parents' authority. 18-20. Four things cannot be fully known. The kingdom of nature is full of marvels. The fourth is a mystery of iniquity; the cursed arts by which a vile seducer gains the affections of a female; and the arts which a vile woman uses to conceal her wickedness. 21-23 Four sorts of persons are very troublesome. Men of low origin and base spirit, who, getting authority, become tyrants. Foolish and violent men indulging in excesses. A woman of a contentious spirit and vicious habits. A servant who has obtained undue influence. Let those whom Providence has advanced from low beginnings, carefully watch against that sin which most easily besets them.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 19. - The way of an eagle in the air. You cannot by any outward sign know that an eagle has passed this or that way. Wisd. 5:11, "As when a bird hath flown through the air, there is no token of her way to be found," etc. The way of a serpent upon a rock. The snake's mode of progression by the lever-like motion of its ribs might well awake surprise, but the point is still the tracklessness of its course. On sand or soft ground its movements might be traced by the impression made. but this could not be done on hard rock; it could push itself along on such a surface without leaving any track. The way of a ship in the midst (heart) of the sea; i.e. in the open sea. You can trace a ship's course while she is near land or within sight, but when she reaches the open sea, you can follow her furrow no longer. Wisd. 5:10, "As a ship that passeth over the waves of the water, which when it is gone by, the trace thereof cannot be found, neither the pathway of the keel in the waves." The way of a man (geber) with a maid (בְּעַלְמָה); Septuagint, "The ways of a man in youth (ἐν νεότητι)." So Vulgate, Viam viri in adolescentia. But this is feeble, and almah is without doubt rightly rendered "maid," "virgin." The proverb says that the sinful act to which it alludes leaves no outward sign by which it can generally be recognized; it escapes man's knowledge. This is exemplified and confirmed in the following verse. It is not sufficient to refer the saying to the insidious arts of the seducer, by which he saps the principles and inflames the passions of his victim. The sin of unchastity is signified, which demands secrecy and affords no token of its commission. Two of the above parallels, says Cheyne, are given in a quatrain of a Vedic hymn to Varuna -

"The path of ships across the sea,
The soaring eagle's flight he knows."
Some of the Fathers and earlier commentators, and among moderns, Bishop Wordsworth, have not been content with the literal sense of this gnonic, but have found in it, as in the others, deep spiritual mysteries. Christ is the great Eagle (Revelation 12:14), who ascended beyond human ken; the serpent is the devil, who works his wily way in secret, and who tried to pass into the mind of Christ, who is the Rock; the ship is the Church, which preserves its course amid the waves of this troublesome world, though we cannot mark its strength or whither it is guided; and the fourth mystery is the incarnation of Jesus Christ our Lord, when "the virgin (almah) conceived and bare a son" (Isaiah 7:14), when "a woman encompassed a man (geber)" (Jeremiah 31:22). We can see the greater or less appropriateness of such accommodation, but the proverb must have been received by contemporaries only in its literal sense, whatever were the inner mysteries which the Holy Spirit wished to communicate thereby.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

The way of an eagle in the air,.... And so of any other bird; but this is mentioned, because it flies swiftest, and soars highest: but the way in which it goes is not known, nor can it be seen with the eye; it cuts the air, and passes through it, but leaves no track behind it which may be pointed to, and it may be said, that is the way the eagle took and flew towards heaven out of sight;

the way of a serpent upon a rock; a smooth hard rock; and wonderful it is that it should creep up it without legs; and where it leaves no impression, no footsteps by which it can be traced, as it may in soft and sandy places;

the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; it is marvellous that such a vessel should be supported upon the sea; that it should weather the storms and tempests of it; that it should be steered through the trackless ocean to distant countries; and, particularly, though it makes furrows in the waters, and divides the waves; yet these quickly close again, and there is no path to be seen in which it goes; there is no beaten road made by it, nor by the vast numbers which go the same way, which a man can see with his eyes or follow;

and the way of a man with a maid; or "to a maid" (x); the many artful ways and methods he uses to get into her company, who is kept recluse; and to convey the sentiments and affections of his heart unto her, to gain her love to him, and obtain her in an honourable way of marriage; or to decoy and deceive her, and draw her into impure and unlawful embraces: it may design the private and secret way of committing fornication with her; which sense seems to be confirmed by Proverbs 30:20. Some of the ancients, particularly Ambrose (y), interpreted the whole of this verse of Christ: "the way of an eagle in the air", of his ascension to heaven, with men his prey, taken out of the jaws of the enemy; and which is such as is beyond the comprehension of men, that one of so great majesty should vouchsafe to come down from heaven, or ascend thither: "the way of a serpent upon a rock" he understands of the temptations of Satan, the old serpent, with which he attacked Christ, the Rock; but could imprint no footsteps of his malice and wickedness on him; could find nothing in him to work upon, nor leave any sign behind him, as upon Adam: "the way of a ship in the midst of the sea" he interprets of the church; which though distressed with storms and tempests of persecution and false doctrine, yet cannot suffer shipwreck, Christ being in it: and the last clause he renders as the Vulgate Latin version does, "and the way of a man in youth"; which he explains of the journeys which Christ took, and the ways of virtue he pursued, to do good to the bodies and souls of men, which are so many as not to be numbered. But it may be better interpreted of the wonderful incarnation of Christ, his conception and birth of a virgin; which was a new and unheard of thing, and the way and manner of it quite inscrutable, and more hard and difficult to be understood than any of the rest; for the words may be rendered, "the way of a man in a maid" or "virgin"; that is, the conception of Geber, the mighty man, in the virgin; see Jeremiah 31:22. Gussetius (z) gives the mystical sense of the whole, as referring to the ascension of Christ; his coming out of the stony grave; his conversation among the people, like the tumultuous waves; and his incarnation of a virgin.

(x) "ad virginem", Glassius, Gejerus, Noldius, p. 144. No. 678. (y) De Salomone, c. 2, 3, 4, 5. (z) Ebr. Comment. p. 195.



Proverbs 30:19 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Words of Agur
18There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Four which I do not understand: 19The way of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid. 20This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, "I have done no wrong."…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 28:49
The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand,

Proverbs 30:18
"There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand:

Jeremiah 48:40
This is what the LORD says: "Look! An eagle is swooping down, spreading its wings over Moab.

Jeremiah 49:22
Look! An eagle will soar and swoop down, spreading its wings over Bozrah. In that day the hearts of Edom's warriors will be like the heart of a woman in labor.
Treasury of Scripture

The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent on a rock; the way of a ship in the middle of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

way of an

Job 39:27 Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make her nest on high?

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall …

midst

Exodus 22:16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, …

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