The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,
I. "The ants are a people not strong," etc. (1) This is forecast. The ants know the time of their opportunity, and make the best of it. (2) Every man has a summer. "Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation."
II. "The conies are but a feeble folk," etc. The tenant is weak; the habitation is strong. Here is a puny, a very feeble folk, going up towards the great rock house. There is something very pathetic, very beautiful, in that—in weakness seeking the granite, in feebleness hiding itself in some pavilion of rock. There is a Rock provided for all weakness.
III. "The locusts have no king, yet they come forth all of them by bands"—a very beautiful and practical republic. They have no king, but every one of them has a little bit of kingliness in himself. Here I find co-operation. That is how it must be in business, in families, in Churches, in governments, in all great confederacies of life.
IV. "The spider taketh hold with her hands," etc. Does this mean skill? This skill will have its reward. Does it mean patience in working out elaborate and beautiful results? Then here is progress—getting into kings' houses, into high places, into palatial position. "In all labour there is profit."
Parker, City Temple, 1871, p. 52.
I. You must learn of the ants to take thought about time to come. Youth and childhood are your summer. Now is the best time for laying up food for your souls.
II. You must learn of the conies to have a place of safety to flee to in time of danger. Your souls have many enemies.
You need the help of One who can keep you safe. Those boys and girls are wise who put their trust in Jesus Christ, and ask Him to take care of their souls. Jesus is the true Rock for children to flee to.
III. You must learn of the locusts to love one another, to keep together, and help one another.
IV. You must learn of the spider not to give up trying to be good because of a little trouble. Keep on trying not to do what is evil, and trying always to do what is good and pleasing to God.
Bishop Ryle, Boys and Girls Playing, p. 45.
References: Proverbs 30:24.—Outline Sermons to Children, p. 80. Proverbs 30:26.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 327. Proverbs 31:1.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 2nd series, p. 392; E. Paxton Hood, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiii., p. 56. Proverbs 31:1-9.—R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. iii., p. 367. Proverbs 31:10-12.—E. H. Bradby, Sermons at Haileybury, p. 160. Proverbs 31:10-31.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 2nd series, p. 397; R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. iii., pp. 378, 400. Proverbs 31:26.—A. Rowland, Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 129. Proverbs 31:30.—E. W. Shalders, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 35. Proverbs 31:30, Proverbs 31:31.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 2nd series, p. 407.
Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.
I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.
There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.
There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.
There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.
The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:
The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.
The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:
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.
Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:
For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;
For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.
There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.
There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:
A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;
A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.
If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.
Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.