A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
The last 2 chapters of Proverbs contain the sayings of two individuals and an epilogue. Agur, son of Jakeh is quoted in 30:1-33, and King Lemuel is quoted in 31:1-9. Then the character of a noble wife is described at some length and the book concludes.
Agur's description can be translated (as in the New International Version), The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh B an oracle, or (as in the New English Bible), Sayings of Agur son of Jakeh from Massa. The distinction has to do with the Hebrew which must be interpreted because the word literally means the burden but is almost identical with the word used for oracle or the place name Massa. The appeal of the latter translation is that it gives some identity to the writer, he would be an Ishmaelite (see Genesis 25:13-14).
Whatever his identity, Agur's sayings are united by their emphasis on lits and numbers of things in the context of a strong assertion of God's greatness and power to preserve His people through wisdom.
King Lemuel is also unknown apart from this passage. His sayings reveal the advice of his mother who counsels kings (and by extension, those in authority) to treat everyone fairly and give particular heed to those who are less fortunate or at least without anyone to plead their cause.
The Epilogue is an acrostic poem in praise of wives who love God and their families. A striking similarity is found between wisdom and a good wife: 1) both are more precious than rubies (see 31:10 in the light of 3:15 and 8:11); 2) both offer the one who finds them the favor of the LORD (compare 8:35 with 18:22).
Key sayings in these groups include:
30:05 Every word of God is flawless;...
Do not add to His words or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
31:08 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves ....
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Do you believe that God's Word is flawless? Are you willing to live your life by it? It is found in the Bible (which is even called God's Word). An interesting problem presents itself at this point: it is impossible to follow God's Word, even when we have access to it, if we never read it.
As you continue reading through the Bible each day, you are putting God's Word into your mind and, hopefully, into your heart and spirit as well. Pick a proverb today, and apply it in your own life. Do that each day for the next month and see what happens.
8 A. Eugene Pearson 2011