Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 30:8

Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blessing;   Contentment;   Covetousness;   Food;   Poverty;   Riches;   Vanity;   Thompson Chain Reference - Poverty;   Poverty-Riches;   Prayer;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Contentment;   Lying;   Prayer;   Riches;   Vanity;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Proverb, the Book of;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Poor;   Steal;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Bread, Bread of Presence;   Wealth;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Agur;   Jakeh;   Lord's Prayer;   Massa;   Prayer;   Proverbs, Book of;   Vanity;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Lord's Prayer (I);   Lord's Prayer (Ii);  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Agur;   Convenient;   Poverty;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Lord's Prayer, the;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for October 23;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Remove far from me vanity and lies -

  1. שוא shav, all false shows, all false appearances of happiness, every vain expectation. Let me not set my heart on any thing that is not solid, true, durable, and eternal.
  • Lies, כזב דבר debar cazab, all words of deception, empty pretensions, false promises, uncertain dependences, and words that Fail; promises which, when they become due, are like bad bills; they are dishonored because they are found to be forged, or the drawer insolvent.
  • From the import of the original, I am satisfied that Agur prays against idolatry, false religion, and false worship of every kind. שוא shau is used for an idol, a false god. Jeremiah 18:15; : "My people have forsaken me; they have burnt incense to Vanity;" לשוא lashshav, "to an Idol." Psalm 31:6; : "I have hated them that regard lying Vanities;" שוא הבלי habley shave, "vain Idols." See also Hosea 12:11; Jonah 2:8. And כזב cazab, a thing that fails or deceives, may well apply to the vain pretensions, false promises, and deceptive religious rites of idolatry. So Jeremiah 15:18; : "Wilt thou be unto me as a liar," אכזב כמו kemo achzob, like the false, failing promises of the false gods; "and as waters that fail;" נאמנו לא lo neemanu, that are not faithful; not like the true God, whose promises never fail. According to this view of the subject, Agur prays,
    1. That he may be preserved from idolatry.
  • That he may put no confidence in any words but those pure words of God that never fail them that trust in him.
  • Give me neither poverty nor riches - Here are three requests:
    1. Give me not poverty. The reason is added: Lest, being poor, I shall get into a covetous spirit, and, impelled by want, distrust my Maker, and take my neighbour's property; and, in order to excuse, hide, or vindicate my conduct, I take the name of my God in vain; תפשתי taphasti, "I catch at the name of God." Or, by swearing falsely, endeavor to make myself pass for innocent. Forswere the name of my God - Old MS. Bible. Coverdale, "deny or apostatize from him."
  • Give me not riches. For which petition he gives a reason also: Lest I be full, and addict myself to luxurious living, pamper the flesh and starve the soul, and so deny thee, the Fountain of goodness; and, if called on to resort to first principles, I say, Who is Jehovah! Why should I acknowledge, why should I serve him? And thus cast aside all religion, and all moral obligation.
  • 3. The third request is, Feed me with food convenient for me, חקי לחם הטריפני hatripheni leechem chukki ; the meaning of which is, "give me as prey my statute allowance of bread," i.e., my daily bread, a sufficient portion for each day. There is an allusion made to hunting: "Direct so by thy good providence, that I may each day find sufficient portion to subsist on, as a hunter in the forest prays that he may have good speed." It is the province of a preacher to show the importance and utility of such a prayer, and dilate the circumstances, and expand the reasons, after the commentator has shown the literal sense.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-30.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    The order of the two requests is significant. The wise man‘s prayer is first and chiefly, “truth in the inward parts,” the removal of all forms of falsehood, hollowness, hypocrisy.

    Neither poverty … - The evil of the opposite extremes of social life is that in different ways they lead men to a false standard of duty, and so to that forgetfulness of God which passes into an absolute denial.

    Food convenient for me - literally, “give me for food the bread of my appointed portion.” The prayer foreshadows that which we have been taught by the Divine Wisdom: “Give us, day by day, our daily bread.”

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-30.html. 1870.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    Remove far from me vanity and lies,.... This is the "first" request, to be preserved from sin, in general; which is a vain, lying, and deceitful thing; promising pleasure, profit, liberty, and impunity, which it does not give. Agur desires to have vain thoughts removed out of his mind, vain words from his mouth, and vain actions from his life and conversation; to have his eyes turned from beholding vanity, and his feet from walking in it; and his affections taken off from the vain things of the world, the lusts, pleasures, profits, and honours of it; as well as to be kept from all errors and false doctrines, which are lies in hypocrisy; with which men that lie in wait to deceive would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect: Agur conscious of his own weakness, and proneness to evil, desires the Lord would not lead him into temptation, but deliver him from all evil, doctrinal and practical. Some understand this of the forgiveness of sin; which is sometimes expressed by a putting or removing it away, 2 Samuel 7:13, Psalm 103:12;

    give me neither poverty nor riches; this is the "second" request, not to be extremely poor nor too rich; but to be in a middle state between both, neither rich nor poor; which HoraceF2Camin. l. 2. Ode 10. v. 5. calls the golden mean, and which Agur wisely judged to be the happiest state; most free from care, least liable to temptation, and the best situation to serve the Lord in: a like wish was made by TheognisF3Sententiae, v. 1151, 1152. , I neither love to be rich,

    "nor desire it; but to live on a little, having no evil;'

    so MartialF4"Nunquam divitias deos rogavi, contentus modicis, meoque laetus; paupertas, veniam dabis, recede", Epigr. l. 4. Ep. 65. . Both riches and poverty are of God; men are rich or poor, as the Lord pleases; he suffers poverty in some, and gives riches to others: Agur deprecates both, as having their separate, peculiar, snares and temptations; though no doubt this request was made with submission to the will of God; and not as considering either of them as evils in themselves, but as they might be attended with bad consequences, and what is next mentioned being more eligible;

    feed me with food convenient for me; not merely what was agreeable to his palate, suitable to his constitution, and sufficient for nature; nor for him personally, but for his family also; and what was proper and suitable to the condition and circumstances in which he was, and to the rank and quality he held, whether in a more private or in a more public capacity. Some render it, "the food of my allowance"F5לחם חקי "panem statuti mei", Montanus; "demensi mei", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens. ; what is allotted and appointed for me It seems to be the same which Job calls his "necessary food", and Christ "our daily bread": it takes in both food and raiment, which having, men should be contented with; see Job 23:12. The allusion seems to be to the stated measure of food allowed to servants by the day, or rather by the month, called "demensum", and which was but small and scantyF6Vid. Juvenal. Sat. 14. v. 126. & Not. in ibid. ; yet with this Agur could be content.

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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.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-30.html. 1999.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    vanity — all sorts of sinful acts (Job 11:11; Isaiah 5:18).

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    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-30.html. 1871-8.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:

    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.

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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.
    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-30.html. 1765.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    Proverbs 30:8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:

    Ver. 8. Remove far from me vanity and lies,] i.e., All sorts of sins, those lying vanities that promise much happiness to those that pursue them, but perform little enough; "shame" at the best, but usually "death." [Romans 6:21; Romans 6:23] Free me both from the damning and from the domineering power of sin; both from the sting and stain of it; from the guilt and filth; from the crime and curse; from the power and punishment. Let my person be justified, and my lusts mortified. "Forgive me my trespasses, and deliver me from evil."

    Give me neither poverty nor riches.] So that God must give to be poor as well as to be rich. He makes holes in the money bag, [Haggai 1:6] and he stops the secret issues and drains of expense at which men’s estates run out, they know not how nor when. Agur would have neither poverty, for the many inconveniences and discomforts that attend it, nor yet riches, for the many cares, cumbers, and other evils not a few that follow them; but a mediocrity, a competence, a sufficiency without superfluity. A state too big, he knew, is troublesome, as well as a shoe too big for the foot. They say it is not the great cage that makes the bird sing; sure we are it is not the great estate that brings always the inward joy, the cordial contentment. Glass keeps out wind and rain, but lets in the light, and is therefore useful in building. A moderate estate is neither so mean as to expose a man to the injuries, nor so great as to exclude a man from the influence of heaven. A staff may help a traveller, but a bundle of staves may be a burden to him; so may too great an estate to a godly man.

    Feed me with food convenient for me.] Heb., With food of mine allowance, or which thou seest fit to allow me: so much as my demensum comes to; the piece that thou hast cut for me; the portion that belongs unto me; the bread of the day for the day; give me daily bread that I may in diem vivere, live on today, as Quintilian saith the birds do, the little birds, that have their meal brought in every day by their dams without defeatment. And hereunto the original here seems to allude. Pomponius Atticus thus defineth riches, Divitiae sunt, ad legem naturae composita paupertas, Riches are such a poverty or mediocrity as hath enough for nature’s uses. If I may have but offam et aquam, a morsel of meat, a mouthful of water, and convenient clothing, I shall not envy the richest Croesus or Crassus upon earth. {See Trapp on "Matthew 6:11"} {See Trapp on "1 Timothy 6:8"}

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-30.html. 1865-1868.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Remove far from me; from my heart, and from the course of my life. This is the first of Agur’s petitions.

    Vanity; either,

    1. All vain and false opinions concerning God, or the things of God; all unbelief, idolatry, or misbelief. Or,

    2. All vanity of heart and life; a vain conversation, an affectation of the vain things of this world, as riches, pleasures, or honours, the bewitching power and sad effects whereof he had observed in others, and feared in himself, as the following request implies.

    Lies; all falsehood and deceit in my words and carriage towards God or men.

    Give me neither poverty nor riches: this is his second request, which may seem to have some reference to the former, poverty being commonly the occasion and temptation to the sin of lying, and riches being the great occasions and enticements to vanity. Thus, as his first petition was against the sins themselves, so this latter is against the occasions of them.

    Food convenient for me; moderate, and suitable both to my natural necessities, and to that estate and condition of life in which thou hast put me, and to that work and service which thou hast for me to do. And this mediocrity of estate is so amiable, that it hath been oft desired by wise heathens, as more eligible than a state of the greatest plenty and glory.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-30.html. 1685.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Words, which are so opposite to thine, ver. 5. --- Riches. The former often prompts men to deceive, the latter to grow proud and forget God.

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-30.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    lies = word of falsehood.

    poverty = need. Hebrew. rush. See note on Proverbs 6:11.

    Feed me = Cause me to be fed.

    food convenient = allowance of food. Compare Job 23:12.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-30.html. 1909-1922.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (8) Vanity.—Falsehood either towards God or man.

    Food convenient for me.—Literally, bread of my portion, such as is apportioned to me as suitable by the care of the heavenly Father. Comp. “daily bread” (Matthew 6:11) in the sense of “proper for our sustenance.”

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-30.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
    Remove
    21:6; 22:8; 23:5; Psalms 62:9,10; 119:29,37; Ecclesiastes 1:2; Isaiah 5:18; 59:4; John 2:8; Acts 14:15
    feed
    Genesis 28:20; 48:15,16; Exodus 16:15,18,21,22,29,35; Matthew 6:11,33; Luke 11:3; 1 Timothy 6:6-8
    convenient for me
    Heb. of my allowance.
    2 Kings 25:30; Jeremiah 37:21; 52:34
    Reciprocal: Genesis 27:24 - I am;  Exodus 16:4 - a certain rate every day;  Deuteronomy 6:11 - when thou;  Deuteronomy 17:17 - neither shall he;  Ruth 1:6 - in giving;  1 Chronicles 4:10 - that thou;  Psalm 10:7 - vanity;  Psalm 119:163 - hate;  Proverbs 13:5 - righteous;  Proverbs 27:27 - enough;  Matthew 6:13 - lead;  Matthew 19:23 - That;  Luke 22:40 - Pray;  1 Timothy 6:8 - General

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-30.html.