Proverbs 30:31

ESV the strutting rooster, the he-goat, and a king whose army is with him.
NIV a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and a king secure against revolt.
NASB The strutting rooster or the male goat, And a king when his army is with him.
CSB a strutting rooster; a goat; and a king at the head of his army.
NLT the strutting rooster, the male goat, a king as he leads his army.
KJV A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

What does Proverbs 30:31 mean?

This concludes Agur's list of four things that show confident majesty in their walk (Proverbs 30:29). First listed was the lion, the unchallenged pinnacle of their terrain (Proverbs 30:30). That example seems valid, while the first two named here are not quite as impressive.

Animal terms can be especially tied to a particular era and language. For example, an American might see the hyrax mentioned in an earlier verse (Proverbs 30:26) and call it a "woodchuck." A person living in the European mountains might identify that as a "marmot." Those in South Africa might call it a "dassie." One North American animal is infamously known as either a "puma," "mountain lion," "cougar," or "catamount," despite being the same thing. On the other hand, the word "eagle" is used in many areas to refer to birds of entirely different species. Here, the phrasing used by Agur leaves non-ancient-middle-easterners a bit puzzled.

The first example is from a phrase which literally means "girded loins." That might suggest a sleek runner such as a greyhound or hunting dog. Other commentators have suggested an armored war-horse, but this is a less likely option. A traditional translation is "rooster," partly inspired by the proud, confident walking implied in the passage. The second instance is the Hebrew word tā'yis, which means "to butt," as in running into something. Both phrases might be local expressions for certain animals, as referenced earlier.

Agur's last example is that of a king who is confident in the loyalty and power of his army. The original phrasing suggests someone ingrained within the people or deeply aligned with them. This contrasts to a hated or mistrusted ruler (Proverbs 12:7; 14:11). The beloved king can walk with the same reassured confidence as the lion.
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