The opening verses of Proverbs 30 are not as practical as the majority of the proverbs; however, a little “gold mining” into word meanings and we find nuggets of truth that are applicable to the lives of 21st century Christians.
The human author of Proverbs 30 is debated among scholars. Some believe “Agur” is another name for Solomon; however, the reference of “Agur, the son of Jakeh” would seem to negate that suggestion. In addition, the personal admissions in verses 2-3 and 8-9 would seem out of character for Solomon, a man renown for his wisdom.
Proverbs 30:1 – “The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy [utterances inspired by God]: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,”
The words of “Agur” are described as “the prophecy” (30:1), thereby attributing his words to be the inspired word of God. We may be unable to identify the human author; however, there is no doubt that God the Holy Spirit is the divine author. The apostles Paul and Peter testified that the scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments were God-breathed, inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
The prophecy of Agur was delivered to two men of whom nothing is known save their names, “Ithiel and Ucal” (30:1). Perhaps Ithiel and Ucal had come to Agur seeking words of wisdom and instruction. Agur, acknowledging the magnitude of his duty to speak on behalf of God, was overwhelmed with the responsibility.
Proverbs 30:2 – “Surely I am more brutish [stupid; foolish; lacking an ability to reason] than any man, and have not the understanding [knowledge and wisdom] of a man.”
Agur admitted his inadequacy to impart wisdom apart from God, confessing he was a “brutish man”, wandering like a beast without reasoning. In my opinion, Agur expresses the humility that should be true of every man. Apart from God’s mercy and grace, we are all sinners, brute beasts, without direction (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 1:28).
Proverbs 30:3 – “I neither learned [have not learned] wisdom, nor have [know] the knowledge [discernment; ex. Between good and evil] of the holy [sacred; pure].”
Agur’s confession in verse 3 expresses the humility required of those who would seek the wisdom of God. The foolish reject God (Psalm 14:1) and the proud are unwilling to humble themselves. Before a man can acquire the wisdom of God, he must confess his woeful ignorance, expressing the humility of Isaiah when he was given a vision of God’s heavenly glory and cried out, “Woe is me! for I am undone…for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).
From whence comes the wisdom of God? From quietly residing in the presence of the Lord and meditating in His Word. Set aside a time and a quiet place; read God’s Word and pray for wisdom.
James 1:5 – “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”