Jakeh - Who lived either in Solomon's time, or rather afterwards, and was famous in his generation for wisdom and piety. The prophecy - The prophetical instruction; for as the prophets were public preachers as well as foretellers of things to come, so their sermons, no less than their predictions, are commonly called their prophecies. And Ucal - Two friends and co-temporaries of Agur, who desired his instructions.
Surely - This he utters from a modest and humble apprehension of his own ignorance.
I neither learned - I have not been taught in the schools of wisdom. Of the holy - Of the holy prophets. I have not such Divine inspirations as prophets strictly so called have received.
Who - What mere man? None at all. Ascended - To learn the mind of God who dwells there. Descended - To teach men below what he had learned above. No man can fully know and teach us these things unless he hath been in heaven, and sent down from thence to the earth for that end. In his fists - To hold them in, or let them out at his pleasure? And none but he who made and governs all creatures, can know and teach these things. The waters - Those above the clouds, and those below, the sea which God keeps as it were within doors, and the water which he shuts up in the bowels of the earth. The earth - The whole earth from one end to another, which God upholdeth in the air, by the word of his power. If - If thou thinkest there be any man who can do these things, produce his name; or if he be dead, the name of any of his posterity.
Pure - You must not expect the full knowledge of Divine mysteries from me, nor from any man, but from the word of God.
Vanity - All vanity of heart and life; a vain conversation, or a love of the vain things of this world. Lies - All falsehood and deceit in my words and carriage. Convenient - Moderate and suitable both to my natural necessities, and to that condition of life in which thou hast put me.
Deny thee - By trusting to riches, which is a denial of God, and by unthankfulness for, and abuse of his mercies. Who is the Lord - That I should serve him. Lest I take - Use false oaths either to vindicate myself when I am suspected, or to gratify others, as poor men frequently do.
Accuse not - Without sufficient cause: for otherwise, in some cases this may be a duty. Curse thee - Desire God to punish thee. Guilty - By God, who is ready to plead the cause of the afflicted.
A generation - A sort of men.
Not washed - Who imagine they are truly religious, when they live in a course of wickedness.
Devour - Extortioners, and cruel oppressors.
The horse-leach - An insatiable creature, sucking blood 'till it is ready to burst. Two daughters - The following things resemble the horse-leach in its insatiableness; nothing being more ordinary than to call those persons or things the sons or daughters of those whose examples they imitate. Three - Though he begins with two, yet he proceeds from thence to three, and four, all which are said to be the daughters of the horse-leach.
The eye - He that scorneth or derideth his parents, tho' it be but with a look or gesture, and much more when he breaks out into opprobrious words and actions.
Wonderful - The way whereof I cannot trace.
Such is - So secret and undiscernible. Eateth - The bread of deceit in secret.
Four - Which are intolerable in human societies.
A servant - For such an one is commonly ignorant, and therefore commits many errors; he is poor, and therefore insatiable, he is proud and imperious, and usually injurious and cruel. A fool - A conceited fool. When - When he abounds in wealth.
An odious - Proud, and perverse. Married - For then she displays all those ill humours, which before, she concealed. Is heir - Which great and sudden change transports her beside herself, and makes her insufferably proud and scornful.
Bands - Several companies, in exact order.
Hands - With her legs, which he calls hands, because they serve her for the same use, to do her work, to weave her web, and to catch gnats or flies. Palaces - Is not only in poor cottages, but many times in palaces also.
An he-goat - Which marches in the head of the flock in a grave and stately manner, conducting them with great courage and resolution, and being ready to fight for them, either with beasts or men that oppose him. A king - Heb. a king and his people with him, a king when he hath the hearts and hands of his people going along with him in his undertakings.
Thought - Designed any injury against thy neighbour. Lay thine hand - Do not open thy mouth to excuse it, but repent of it, and do so no more.
The forcing - The stirring up of wrath, either in a man's self towards others, by giving way to passion; or in others by reproaches, or any other provocations. Bringeth forth - Is the cause of many quarrels.