Proverbs 30:33

ESV For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.
NIV For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.'
NASB For the churning of milk produces butter, And pressing the nose produces blood; So the churning of anger produces strife.
CSB For the churning of milk produces butter, and twisting a nose draws blood, and stirring up anger produces strife.
NLT As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels.
KJV Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.

What does Proverbs 30:33 mean?

Agur's last teaching (Proverbs 30:1) in this passage speaks about the expected outcomes of certain actions. Whether one wants that result is irrelevant. Each of the three components of this teaching use the same Hebrew word: miyts. This refers to forceful handling: as one would "churn" milk or "twist" someone's nose or "agitate" a person's anger. Modern readers also miss a subtle wordplay: the Hebrew word for "anger" is a reference to flaring nostrils, so it begins with the syllable used for the word "nose."

Much of the book of Proverbs warns about the consequences of natural cause-and-effect (Proverbs 8:33–36; 10:16; 14:24; 18:6; 19:23). Agur's warning is that stirring up anger leads to controversy and unhappiness. That's not merely one possible outcome—it's the natural result of those actions. If you thrash milk, it turns into butter. Whether you intended to make butter or not, that's what happens. Wrenching on a person's nose or punching them squarely in the face causes a nosebleed. Likewise, agitating other people's anger leads to conflict (Proverbs 10:12; 29:22). A person cannot provoke someone else and be shocked when they react angrily. For that reason, it's worth taking strong measure to avoid sin (Proverbs 30:32).

"Pressing" people into anger is usually driven by some level of arrogance. In his teaching, Agur has insisted that humility is far superior to slander and cursing (Proverbs 30:10–11). He rebukes those who use threatening words. He compares their words to the use of swords and knives (Proverbs 30:14). In the New Testament, the apostle Paul decries uncontrolled anger (Colossians 3:8), and associates it with a pre-salvation, unconverted way of life (Colossians 3:9). Writing to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of love's patience (1 Corinthians 13:4). He points out further that love "does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful" (1 Corinthians 13:5).
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