Proverbs 30:2
Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(2) Surely I am more brutish than any man.—Rather, than that I can be called a man, one “formed in the image of God.” (Comp. Psalm 73:22.)

Proverbs 30:2-3. Surely I am more brutish, &c. — This he utters from an humble and modest apprehension of his own ignorance. I neither learned wisdom — I have not been taught in the schools of wisdom; nor have the knowledge of the holy — Hebrew, קדשׁים, of holy persons, namely, of the holy prophets. I have not such divine inspirations as prophets, strictly so called, have received. 30:1-6 Agur speaks of himself as wanting a righteousness, and having done very foolishly. And it becomes us all to have low thoughts of ourselves. He speaks of himself as wanting revelation to guide him in the ways of truth and wisdom. The more enlightened people are, the more they lament their ignorance; the more they pray for clearer, still clearer discoveries of God, and his rich grace in Christ Jesus. In ver.A confession of ignorance, with which compare the saying of Socrates that he was wise only so far as he knew that he knew nothing, or that of Asaph Psalm 73:22. 2-4. brutish—stupid, a strong term to denote his lowly self-estimation; or he may speak of such as his natural condition, as contrasted with God's all-seeing comprehensive knowledge and almighty power. The questions of this clause emphatically deny the attributes mentioned to be those of any creature, thus impressively strengthening the implied reference of the former to God (compare De 30:12-14; Isa 40:12; Eph 4:8). You come to me with a great opinion of my wisdom, and you expect that I should inform and instruct you in all things, yea, even in the greatest mysteries: but you are much mistaken in me; I am as ignorant and foolish as other men generally are, yea, more than many others; which he utters either,

1. From a deep sense of the common corruption of human nature, and of the blindness of men’s minds in things concerning God and their own duty, and of the necessity of instruction from God’s word, and of illumination from his Spirit, without which they can never understand these matters. Or,

2. From a modest and humble apprehension of his own ignorance, which hath extorted such-like expressions even from heathen philosophers; whence Pythagoras rejected the title of a wise man when it was ascribed to him; and Socrates, though reputed the wisest man of his age, professed that he knew nothing but this, that he knew nothing. Surely I am more brutish than any man,.... "Every man is become brutish in his knowledge"; man in his original state was a knowing creature but sinning lost his knowledge, and "became like the beasts that perish"; hence we read of the "brutish among the people": but Agur thought himself not only brutish among the rest, but more brutish than any. So Plato (o) says of some souls living on earth, that they are of a brutish nature; see Jeremiah 10:14. Or I think the words may be rendered, "a brute am I rather than a man" (p); have more of the brute than of the man, especially in the sight and presence of God; a very beast before him, or in comparison of other wise, holy, and good men; or with respect to the knowledge of spiritual, divine, and heavenly things, Psalm 73:22; or "a brute was I from the time", or "ever since I was a man" (q); as soon as be was born, being born in sin, and like a wild ass's colt, Job 11:12;

and have not the understanding of a man; or "of Adam" (r); who was made after the image of God, which consisted in knowledge as well as holiness; who knew much of God, his nature, perfections, and persons; of the creatures, and the works of his hands and of all things in nature; but affecting more knowledge than he should lost in a great measure what he had, and brought his posterity in and left them in a state of blindness and ignorance, one of whose sons Agur was: or his meaning is, that he had not the understanding, as not of Adam in innocence, and of prophets and other eminent men of God, so not of ordinary men of those who had, he least share of the knowledge of divine things. Aben Ezra, who takes Ithiel and Ucal to be scholars or companions of Agur, supposes, that they asked him questions concerning the divine Being, nature, and perfections, to which he answers in this strain; showing his insufficiency to give them any instruction or satisfaction in such matters, or to discourse on such sublime subjects: or rather his view was to show the blindness and ignorance of human nature with respect to divine things he was about to treat of; and particularly to observe, that the knowledge of a Saviour, and salvation by him, were not from nature, and attainable by that; and that a man must first know himself, his own folly and ignorance, before he can have any true knowledge of Ithiel and Ucal, the mighty Saviour and Redeemer; of the need of him, and of interest in him. Some think his view is to prove that his words, his prophecy, or what he was about to say, or did say, must be owing entirely to divine inspiration; since he was of himself; and without a divine revelation, so very blind, dark, and ignorant; it could not be owing to any natural sagacity of his, who was more brutish than any; nor to any acquired knowledge, or the instruction of men, since he had none, as follows; and so with which the words begin, may be rendered "for" or "because" (s), as it usually is, "for I am more brutish, than any man", &c.

(o) De Leg. l. 10. p, 959. (p) "bardus sum prae viro", Mercerus; "brutus ego prae viro", Cocceius, Schultens. (q) "Nam brutus sum ex quo vir sum", Junius & Tremellius, so Cartwright. (r) "Nec est mihi intelligentia Adami", Cartwright. (s) "nam", Junius & Tremellius; "quia", Pagninus, Montanus; "quoniam", Michaelis.

Surely I am more {c} senseless than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.

(c) In this he declares his great humility who would not attribute any wisdom to himself but all to God.

Verses 2 and 3 confirm what is said in ver. 1 concerning the fruitlessness of the investigation there mentioned; the more he sought and studied, the more conscious he became of his own ignorance and of God's incomreprehensibility. Verse 2. - Surely I am more brutish than any man "Surely" (ki) should be "for" (see note on ver. l). Cheyne, "I am too stupid for a man;" I am a mere irrational beast (comp. Proverbs 12:1; Psalm 73:22). And have not the understanding of a man. I am not worthy to be called a man, as I possess not the intellectual faculty which a man ought to have. This is not ironical, as if he did not desire the statement to be taken in its full sense, and meant to say, "Of course it is my own stupidity that is in fault;" but it is a genuine confession of incompetence to investigate the subject matter, which is too mysterious for his mental powers to penetrate. Thus Solomon acknowledges that he is but a little child, nod prays for an understanding heart (1 Kings 3:7, 9; comp. Wisd. 9:5; Matthew 11:25). Proverbs 29:23 passes from anger to haughtiness:

A man's pride will bring him low;

But the lowly attaineth to honour.

Thus we translate תּתמך כּבוד (Lat. honorem obtinet) in accord with Proverbs 11:16, and שׁפל־רוּח with Proverbs 16:19, where, however, שׁפל is not adj. as here, but inf. The haughty man obscures the honour which he has by this, that he boasts immeasurably of it, and aspires yet more after it; the lowly man, on the other hand, obtains honour without his seeking it, honour before God and before men, which would be of no worth were it not connected with the honour before God. The lxx: τοὺς δὲ ταπεινόφρονας ἐπείδει δόξῃ κύριους. This κύριους is indeed not contrary to the sense, but it is opposed to the style. Why the 24th verse should now follow is, as regards the contents and the expression, hard to say; but one observes that Proverbs 29:22-27 follow each other, beginning with the successive letters of the alphabet א (ב), ג, ח, ח, ר, ת (ת).

Proverbs 30:2 Interlinear
Proverbs 30:2 Parallel Texts

Proverbs 30:2 NIV
Proverbs 30:2 NLT
Proverbs 30:2 ESV
Proverbs 30:2 NASB
Proverbs 30:2 KJV

Proverbs 30:2 Bible Apps
Proverbs 30:2 Parallel
Proverbs 30:2 Biblia Paralela
Proverbs 30:2 Chinese Bible
Proverbs 30:2 French Bible
Proverbs 30:2 German Bible

Bible Hub

Proverbs 30:1
Top of Page
Top of Page