These verses represent an extended comment attributed to Agur (:1). While his words are called an “oracle” (:1), he speaks very plainly about himself (:2-3) and it culminates with a series of rhetorical questions (:4).
Quite self-deprecating, Agur simply offers an honest assessment of himself as a “brute” (:2; often translated “stupid”) without even good “human understanding” (:2).
Consequently, he doesn’t claim to have “wisdom” or any “knowledge of the Holy One” either (:3). I appreciate his refreshing honesty.
The Apostle Paul said the same kind of things about himself (1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 7:14-19). I feel a lot in common with these two brothers!
Once he put it out there where he really was, Agur asked 5 rhetorical questions. I think it’s safe to say that back in the day he asked, honest people could only say, “God knows.” Hopefully, they were comfortable with admitting when they just didn’t have answers.
Years ago at Helping Up Mission, I coined the phrase “dirty rotten stinkin’ sinner.” I attributed it to everyone I know – even my momma – but especially to myself. HUM guys have shortened it to DRSS, but the message is clear – I’m pathetic and I know it!
But I must tell you, admitting my shortcomings has been absolutely liberating and empowering! I don’t have the pressure of trying to appear to be something I’m not.
In fact, this concept is the Biblical basis of Step 1 of the 12 Steps. It also leads to Step 2, where we get introduced to the One who can handle all the stuff I just admitted I can’t.
BTW, Step 3 says: since I can’t and He can, I just need to let Him do for me what I can’t do for myself. Thanks, Agur, I needed this reminder!