Proverbs 30:2

ESV Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man.
NIV Surely I am only a brute, not a man; I do not have human understanding.
NASB I am certainly more stupid than any man, And I do not have the understanding of a man;
CSB I am more stupid than any other person, and I lack a human's ability to understand.
NLT I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense.
KJV Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.

What does Proverbs 30:2 mean?

Scripture often uses a technique called "hyperbole:" exaggeration for effect. Such phrases are meant to be understood as excessive, yet the point is clear. In English, parents may claim "I've told my children a million times," using this same poetic style. Here, Agur expresses his lack of wisdom, because he understands that God is perfectly wise (Proverbs 30:3–4). Compared to God, Agur's mind is nothing. He realizes his understanding is closer to that of an animal: the phrasing used here is applied in other Scriptures to mean something animalistic (Psalm 73:22). Alternatively, if Ithiel and Ucal (Proverbs 30:1) are challenging Agur, he may be sarcastically saying they are much smarter than he is.

The real point of these words is the impossibility of understanding God and spiritual truth using nothing more than one's own flawed wisdom. Nicodemus was a learned rabbi and a leader among the Jews. But he could not comprehend spiritual truth. Jesus asked him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?" (John 3:10). Left to himself, every unbeliever is blind to spiritual truth (1 Corinthians 2:14).
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