Proverb for the Day 30:21-23 — Tough-To-Deal-With People!

21 “Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: 22 a servant who becomes king, a godless fool who gets plenty to eat, 23 a contemptible woman who gets married, and a servant who displaces her mistress.

This is the third of four “three…four” comparisons in Proverbs 30. Here the focus is things under which “the earth trembles” and “it cannot bear up” (:21).

The context is life-situations which are hard to deal with — and they all involve other people. You may have your own list!

First is “a servant who becomes king” — a rags-to-riches story which sounds great for the servant! But, typically, such a one doesn’t really understand or appreciate the responsibilities that go with all the benefits. It could be tough working with them.

Second is “a godless fool who gets plenty to eat.” The fool has said in his or her heart “there is no God” (Psalms 14:1) and now that they’re full — they’re certain!

Third is “a contemptible woman who gets married.” “Contemptible” is the standard Hebrew word for “hated” — this is apparently a not-too-nice lady.

Don’t know why a guy would marry her…maybe for her money. But this won’t be a picnic!

Yet remember…these are the observations of a guy — Agur (:1). The reverse would be just as true!

Fourth is “a servant who displaces her mistress.” Whatever happened to the lady-of-the-house, this servant-girl is now her. Sort of a sad rerun of the servant-become-king scenario above.

These four statements are simply Agur’s observations about people and life. But we’re all familiar with the issues he’s discussing.

I think the message of this wise saying probably includes the following:

  1. Understand the reality of our situation
  2. Adjust our thinking so we can best deal with these realities
  3. And, just maybe, know that we can still make a difference and help effect change in some of these people, places or things!