Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 30:3

Neither have I learned wisdom, Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Humility;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Proverb, the Book of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Agur;   Jakeh;   Massa;   Proverbs, Book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Proverbs, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Eliezer B. Nathan of Mayence;   Holiness;   She'elot U-Teshubot;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I neither learned wisdom - I have never been a scholar in any of those schools of the wise men, nor have the knowledge of the holy, קדשים kedoshim, of the saints or holy persons.

The Septuagint give this a different turn: yeov dedidace me sofian, kai gnwsin agiwn egnwka; "God hath taught me wisdom, and the knowledge of the saints I have known."

This may refer to the patriarchs, prophets, or holy men, that lived before the days of Solomon. That is, the translators might have had these in view.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-30.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He found, when he looked within, that all his learning was as nothing. He had heard of God only “by the hearing of the ear” Job 42:5, and now he discovered how little that availed.

The holy - The Holy One. Compare Proverbs 9:10.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-30.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I neither learned wisdom,.... Natural wisdom or philosophy, so as to understand the nature of things, and reason about them in a philosophical manner; or political wisdom, so as to know how to govern states, and manage the affairs of kingdoms; or in a lower sphere to transact the affairs of life to any peculiar advantage; he had not a polite or liberal education: or spiritual and evangelical wisdom; that is, not of himself through the mere strength and force of his genius and natural capacity, or of others; he was not the son of a prophet, nor brought up in the schools of the prophets; he did not learn it, nor was he taught it by men; for this is not acquired by human teaching; it is what comes from above, from heaven, and by the revelation of God;

nor have the knowledge of the holy; or "holies"F19קדשים "sanctorum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Gejerus, Cocceius, Schultens. ; either of holy persons, such knowledge as holy men of God had; or of the holy angels, not of their nature, capacities, influence and operations; nor such as they have: or rather of the holy Persons in the Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit; their nature modes of subsisting, perfections, purposes, and the like; at least not a full and comprehensive one: or of holy things, of the holy Scriptures, and the holy doctrines of them; however, not what is perfect and complete. It may be rendered, "but I have the knowledge of the holy"F20ודעת קדשים אדע "ad cognitionem sanctorum novi", Michaelis; "expers sum humanarnm artium, et divinarum guarus sum", Vatablus in Gejerus. , though he had not the advantage of human literature, nor had ever been under the instructions of men on one account or another, and therefore what he knew, or was about to discourse of, was from God. Some understand this verse and Proverbs 30:2 of Ithiel, or ChristF21Teelman. Specimen. Explicat. Parabol. p. 391. , as in the esteem of men, 1 Corinthians 1:23.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-30.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.

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.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-30.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 30:3 I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.

Ver. 3. I neither learned wisdom.] As he had it not by nature, (a) so neither had he attained unto it by any pains or skill of his own. "There is a spirit indeed in man" - a reasonable soul and a faculty of reasoning - "but the inspiration of the Almighty giveth understanding." [Job 32:8] Not that Agur neglected the means of knowledge, or put off the study of it (as Solomon’s fool, Proverbs 24:7), from a conceit of the impossibility of reaching to it. Neither yet was he of their mind of whom Augustine makes mention that they cast off the care of knowledge, because knowledge puffeth up; and so would be ignorant that they might be humble, and want knowledge that they might want pride. This was to do as the philosopher that plucked out his eyes to avoid the danger of uncleanness. Sed nihil aliud egit quam quod fatuitatem suam urbi manifestam fecit, saith Tertullian, (b) wherein he proclaimed his own folly to all the country. But holy Agur here assures us that flesh and blood never revealed these high things that follow unto him, but as Paul was an apostle, so was he a prophet "not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father," [Galatians 1:1] even "the Father of lights." [James 1:17] In nature’s school nothing is to be learned concerning Ithiel and Ucal. St Augustine, though much taken with Cicero’s "Hortensius," yet because he found not the name of Christ in it he could not so heartily affect it. (c) The philosophers much magnify the mind of man as full of divine light and perspicacy, when the truth tells us that it is

Mens oblita Dei, vitiorumque oblita caeno.

There is nothing great in the earth but man, nothing in man but his mind. Si eousque scandis, coelum transcendis, said Favorinus the philosopher; If you get up thither you ascend beyond heaven. But Agur "had not so learned Christ." He talks of natural blindness and other evils born with him. Erras si tecum vitia nasci putes; supervenere, ingesta sunt. You are out, Agur, saith Seneca, if you talk on that manner; blindness is not natural to you, but adventitious. Agur bewails his loss in Adam; this nature’s eye never saw, and therefore heart never rued. Those that were born in hell knew none other heaven, as the proverb is. Agur tells us here that he never learned true wisdom from any man, but must thank God for that measure thereof that he had attained to. On the contrary Cicero (d) tells us that, inasmuch as every man acquires to himself that virtue that he hath, no wise man ever yet gave God thanks for it. And Seneca saith, It is of the gods that we live, but of ourselves that we live well and honestly. (e) How different are the saints in Scripture from the world’s wizards!

Nor have the knowledge of the holy.] That is, Of the angels [Daniel 4:13; Daniel 4:17; Daniel 8:13] whom Jacob saw ascending and descending. [Genesis 28:12, compared with Proverbs 30:4 John 1:51] Moses made them looking intently into the mercy seat. [Exodus 25:18-19] Peter sets them forth as stooping down to look wishtly and earnestly (f) into the mystery of Christ [1 Peter 1:12] which was hid from them till the discovery, and ever since, that they are great students in it. [Ephesians 3:10] But how should Agur, or any man else that cannot tell the form and the quintessence of things, that cannot enter into the depth of the flower, or the grass he treads on, that cannot understand the nature and properties of so small a creature as an ant or bee - Pliny (g) tells of one that spent eight and fifty years in learning out the nature of the bee, and yet had not fully attained unto it - how is it possible, I say, that the wisest naturalist should have the wit to enter into the deep things of God? "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," &c. [1 Corinthians 2:9]

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-30.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I neither learned wisdom; I have not been taught in the schools of wisdom, as the sons of prophets were, but must own myself to be an unlearned man, as the prophet Amos was, Amos 7:14,15. Or, I have not learned it, neither by my own understanding and study, nor by the help of other men.

Of the holy; either,

1. Of the holy angels, who are called holy by way of eminency, as Deuteronomy 33:2 Job 15:15 Daniel 4:13,17,23 8:13. But it was vain to deny that angelical knowledge to be in him, which no man imagined to be in him, and which was not in Adam fix the state of innocency. Or,

2. Of the holy prophets. So the sense is, I have not such Divine inspirations as prophets strictly so called have received, whereby I should be enabled to know or explain those great mysteries wherein you desire information from me. Or,

3. Of holy things, of the mind and will of God concerning man’s salvation, and the way which leads to it; not that he denieth that he had any knowledge of these things, but only a full, and comprehensive, and perfect knowledge, which they falsely supposed to be in him.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-30.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3.Knowledge of the holy , (kedhoshim,) plural, holy ones, which is understood by some as meaning holy persons; saints or persons divinely illuminated, that is, inspired. Others take it as a plural of intensity, and translate Most Holy, that is, God. Comp. Proverbs 9:10. Proverbs 30:2-3 may be understood as expressing the author’s unaffected sense of his own deficiencies, intellectual and moral. We must, however, make allowance for the Oriental mode of expression, which is, perhaps, stronger than we would feel warranted to use.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-30.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

learned = have been taught; with emphasis on taught.

wisdom. Hebrew. chakmah. See note on Proverbs 1:2.

Nor have = Nor yet have I.

the holy = holy ones: or, the Most Holy One.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-30.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.

I nether learned wisdom, nor have (know) the knowledge of the holy - naturally. As in Proverbs 30:2 he disclaimed original knowledge, so in this verse he disclaims humanly acquired knowledge of the deep mysteries of God. A man must first "become a fool that he may be wise" (1 Corinthians 3:18). So long as he thinks he knows, he is unfit to be a vessel of the knowledge received from above (1 Corinthians 8:2; Isaiah 6:5). "The holy" (note, Proverbs 9:10), either all that concerns the holy God, or the holy God; q

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-30.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) The knowledge of the holy—i.e., the Holy One, God. (Comp. Proverbs 9:10.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-30.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
neither
Amos 7:14,15; Matthew 16:17
nor
Job 11:7-9; Matthew 11:27; John 17:3; Romans 11:33; Ephesians 3:18,19
have
Heb. know. the holy
Isaiah 6:3,10; 30:11; 57:15; Revelation 3:7; 4:8
Reciprocal: Job 37:23 - we;  Psalm 73:16 - When;  Proverbs 9:10 - the knowledge;  Ecclesiastes 8:17 - that a man;  John 9:36 - Who;  Acts 8:31 - How;  Ephesians 3:8 - who am

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-30.html.