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17 the righteous shall see their fall. Correct thy son, and he shall

give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul, to see 18 him reclaimed from his evil courses. Where (there is) no vision,

no public instruction, no knowledge of religion, the people perish; grow licentious and wicked, and so are destroyed : but he that

keepeth the law, happy [is] he ; he shall remain in a prosperous, 19 preaceful condition. A servant will not be corrected by words :

for though he understand he will not answer : a servant that

will not bear a reproof, or take a hint of advice, but is of a conceited, 20 sullen spirit, is a wretched character. Seest thou a man (that is)

hasty in his words, who is rash and conceited, and will not take advice nor submit to direction ? (there is) more hope of a fool than

of him ; better employ a man that has scarce common sense, if he 21 will be ruled. He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a

child shall have him become (his) son at the length ; he who treats servants with too much familiarity and indulgence, will often find them become insolent and saucy, and expect as much as childrena

Where servants are created with kindness, it should be their care 22 not to abuse it, but to be so much the more solicitous to please. An

angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in

transgression against God and man; therefore we should take great 23 care io command our passions. A man's pride shall bring him

low ; shall make him the contempt and derision of all : but honour

shall uphold the humble in spirit ; an obliging disposition will 24 win upon others and gain many friends. Whoso is partner with

a thief hateth his own soul ; endangers both his life and everlast. ing salvation : he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth [it] not, that is, he hears the adjuration, yet does not discover the truth; alluding

to a law that appointed the oath of the Lord to be given to a person 25 suspected of theft. The fear of man bringeth a snare ; cowar

dice and excessive complaisance lead men 10 do wicked things : but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe ; shall find security in the greatest dangers, though men should be displeased

with him for not complying with them. It is of more importance 26 to please God than men. Many seek the ruler's favour ; but

every man's judgment (cometh] from the Lord, therefore it is

of more importance to secure his favour than theirs, since final 27 judgment comes from him, as well as worldly prosperity. An .

unjust man, though ever so great and powerful, [is] an abomination to the just, and ought not to be courted or countenanced : and [he that is) upright in the way, though ever so excellent and useful, [is] abomination to the wicked, yet he is highly esteemed of the Lord. Therefore let us secure an interest in the friendship of God, for his judginent is always uccording to truth,


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1 THE words of Agur* the son of Jakeh, [even) the pro

phecy : the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and 2 Ucal, Surely I (am) more brutish than (any) man, and have

not the understanding of a man ; an expression of great modesty 3 and humility. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge

of the holy ; I have no great natural abilities or acquired learn

ing, but will plainly instruct you in the precepts of a pious life. 4 Being asked, What is God ? he answers, 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? Who hath ascended and descended to learn his mind and declare it? Who can ex

plain his nature and operations ? 5 Every word of God (is) pure : he [is] a shield unto them

that put their trust in him ; rather, have a regard to his revealed

will, and trust in him ; then you will be guided and protected. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be

found a liar ; lest he take vengeance on thee as a deceiver. 7 Two (things] have I required of thee, deny me (them) not

before I die : they inquired, What is a happy life, and what they 8 should pray for ? Remove far from me vanity and lies ; immod

erate desires after the world, and deceitful methods of seeking and gaining it: give me neither poverty nor riches ; feed me with food convenient for me ; fix me in the middle condition of life,

and if I should be so vain as to think riches will be no snare to me, 9 disappoint my expectations : Lest I be full, and deny (thee,) and

say, Who [is] the Lord ? lest I become ungodly and irreligious : or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God (in

vain ;] forswear myself to cover the theft. 10 Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and

thou be found guilty ; make not any one unnecessarily your enem my, no not the meanest. It is kind to tell a master a servant's faults, if he does not know them ; but we are not to slander him, or accuse him falsely, lest he call upon God for justice, and he pune ish us accordingly. They then ask, What company shall we choose ? He answers,

[There is) a generation (that) curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother ; avoid the company of disobedient, induti-. 12 ful children. [There is) a generation [that are) pure in their

own eyes, and (yet) is not washed from their filthiness ; who

are exact in external forms, but guilty of gross immoralities in 13 secret. [There is) a generation, O how lofty are their eyes !

and their eyelids are lifted up ; their pride discovers itself in their

• Who this Agur was it is impossible to say. Some ancient 'versions do not read it as a proper naine, and suppose the chapter to be part of Solomon's writings; others suppose he was a person of eminent wisdom and piety, who lived in Hezekiah's time, and that these were his instructions to his pupils, or answers to some questions that they proposed to him.

countenance, and they disdain to look on their inferiors ; do not 14 learn their haughty, senseless manner8. [There is) a generation,

whose teeth Care as] swords, and their jaw teeth (as) knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy froni (among) men ; tyrannical, arbitrary people, who oppress and grind the poor ; have no connection with such men as these. The next

question is, What is most insatiable ? 15 The horseleach hath two daughters, a forked tongue, whick

greedily seeketh blood, (crying,) Give, give. There are three

[things that) are never satisfied, [yea] four [things) say not 16 [It is) enough ; are as insatiable : The grave, that swallows every

succeeding generation ; and the barren womb, that is eagerly desirous of children ; the earth, particularly in hot countries, [that] is not filled with water; and the fire [that] saith not, [It is] enough, but devours all that is thrown into it. He then adds the

doom of the disobedient children mentioned in the eleventh verse. 17 The eye [that] mocketh at [his] father for his infirmities,

and despiseth to obey [his] mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it ; his body shall be exposed as a malefactor, or he shall die in some desolate place ; the vengeance of God shall

find him abroad, though the tenderness of his abused parents may spare him at home.

To the next question, What is most obscure and unaccountable ? 18 he answers, There be three (things which) are too wonderful for 19 me, yea, four which I know not : The way of an eagle in the

air, that flies high and strong ; the way of a serpent upon a rock, that without feel climbs up rocks ; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea, that sometimes sinks and sometimes rises, and moves

very swisily along ; and the way of a man with a maid, the arti. 20 fices of a man to gain the woman he is courting. Such [is] the

way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness : this is a modest way of expressing a detestable action ; she puts on an artful appearance, behaves outwardly like an honest woman and a kind wife. We

have then an answer to the question, What things are most intoler21 able ? For three (things) the earth is disquieted, and for four 22 (which) it cannot bear : For a servant when he reigneth, when

he gets into power and authority; and a fool when he is filled with 23 meat, a petuleni, rude fellow when he is drunk ; For an odious

(woman,) that is, a cross, ill tempered woman, when she is married, a happiness 100 great for her to expect, and yet which only shows her ill temper the more ; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress, to whom her mistress leaves her estate, or who hath supplanted her mistress and married her master.

In answer to the query, What things are small and contemptible 24 in themselves, and yet wise, he replies, There be four (things

which are] little upon the earth, but they (are) exceeding wise : 25 The ants (are) a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat

in the summer, and thus teach us to prepare against a time of ad26 versily ; The conics, or Arabian mice, (are but] a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks, and thus teach as caution in 27 avoiding those dangers we cannot resist ; The locusts have no

king, yet go they forth all of them by bands, and their numbers

make them terrible, which should teach us union in prosecuting good 28 designs ; The spider takéth hold with her hands, and is in king's

palaces ; and by indefatigable diligence repairs her web ; which should teach us perseverance, and not to be discouraged. The

question then is, What things are most stately and majestic ? 29 There be three [things] which go well, yea, four are comely 30 in going: A lion (which is] strongest among beasts, and turn31 eth not away for any; A greyhound, or horse prepared for the

battle ; an he goat also; and a king, against whom (there is] no rising up, a king that reigns in the hearts of his people, this gives him a consciousness which adds dignity to his appearance. Having thus advised his pupils to be innocent and pious in order to be happy, he adds the two last verses, upon a supposition that they

should say or do any foolish things. 32 If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast

thought evil, [lay) thine hand upon thy mouth; hambly acknowledge that thou hast done wrong, and make a proper apology, rather

than, from an insolent temper, defend what is wrong because thou 33 hast done it. Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter,

and the wringing of the noše bringeth forth blood : so the force ing of wrath bringeth forth strife ; the one is not more natural than the other. He that would live peaceably and happily, and be esteemed among men, should behave himself with modesty and hu. mility í for he that liftcih up himself, though he may think himself & wise man, does very foolishly, and all about him will despise him.



HE words of king Lemuel," the prophecy that his mother 2 taught him. What, my son ? and what, the son of my

womb ? and what, the son of my vows ? An abrupt and beautiful form of speech; as if she had said, What instruction shall I give thee, how shall I exfiress my love to thee, thou son of my wimb,

thou son of my vows, whom I have prayed for, and devoted to God 3 before thou wast born? Give not thy strength unto women, nor

thy ways to that which destroyeth kings; do not waste the vigour of your years in effeminate, sinful pleasures, like other eastern princes ; by which their constitutions are broken, and their reigns

dishonoured. Happy had it been for him had he taken this advice. 4 [It is) not for kings, O Lemuel, [it is) not for kings to drink

wine ; nor for princes strong drink, that is, immoderately; which 5 would not only injure themselves, but their subjects. Lest they

• I take it for granted, with the generality of commentators, that Lemuel is Solomon, a name which signifies one belonging to God; it is nearly of the same import with Jedediah. These are the divine lessons his mother Bathsheba taught him to comnit to memory.

drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of

the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine

to those that be of heavy hearts; when persons are in deep dis

tress, they need, and can bear cordials to support their spirits. 7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery 8 no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such

as are appointed to destruction ; who are in danger of suffering 9 considerable damage either in body, credit, or estate. Open thy

mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and

needy ; pronounce a bold and just sentence. 10 Who can find a virtuous woman, prudent, good natured, and

religious : for her price [is] far above rubies ; above all things

advising him to take heed in the choice of a wife ; or rather, it may 11 refer to the character of a good wife in general. The heart of her

husband doth safely trust in her, in her chastity, prudence, and fidelity; he has no jealousy, nor uneasy apprehensions ; so that he shall have no need of spoil ; he shall have no need of spoiling

others to enrich himself, and no fear of being plundered, as some 12 are by their wives. She shall do him good and not evil all the

days of her life ; she will take the greatest care to engage and

keep his affections, study to oblige and please him ; and this, not 13 only in sudden fits of good humour, but all her days. She seeketh

wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands ; she firo

vides employment for her servants, and sets them a good exumple. 14 She is like the merchants' ships ; she bringeth her food from 15 afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, before break of day,

and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens;

she giveth food to those that go abroad to work, and to her maidens 16 at home : she rises early to attend to her domestic cares. She

considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands

she planteth a vineyard ; by the commodities spun and woven in 17 the family, she buys land and plants vineyards. She girdeth her

Joins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms; she does not

make little difficulties an excuse for indolence, but acts resolutely. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandize [is] good : her candle

goeth not out by night ; she takes as much of the night as can 19 conveniently be shared from necessary sleep. She layeth her hands

to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. Ladies of the highest quality in the east were thus emfiloyed, as we find from

many passages in Homer, and other heathen writers ; and a much 20 belter employment it was than most modern ones. She stretcheth

out her hand to the poor ; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to

the needy ; she is not such a housewife as to lay up every thing, 21 but relieves the poor. She is not afraid of the snow for her house

hold : for all her household (are) clothed withi scarlet, or double 22 garments. he maketh herself coverings of tapestry ; ber cloth

ing [is] silk and purple ; the more glorious because her own work. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the

elders of the land, who congratulate him upon his haffincss in hazVol. V.


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