Proverbs 30:8

ESV Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,
NIV Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
NASB Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion,
CSB Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me. Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need.
NLT First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
KJV Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:

What does Proverbs 30:8 mean?

In the prior verse, Agur (Proverbs 30:1) indicated he would make two requests of God (Proverbs 30:7). Here, those are described, and in the next verse, he will explain their importance (Proverbs 30:9). In literal terms, Agur asks to be kept from deceptive attitudes. He also requests a balanced lifestyle: free from the hardship of poverty and the risks of wealth. In a more general sense, he prays for God's provision of spiritual guidance and material needs.

The Lord detests deceitful attitudes. Proverbs 12:22 tells us that a lying lips are an abomination to Him, and the ninth commandment explicitly forbids giving false testimony (Exodus 20:16). The apostle Paul commanded the Colossian believers, "Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices" (Colossians 3:9). Scripture repeatedly contrasts godliness with a lying, crooked lifestyle (Proverbs 2:15; 11:20; 12:20). Those who struggle with poverty—or perceived poverty—may be tempted to lie, cheat, or steal to improve their situation (Proverbs 30:9).

Agur also asks the Lord to keep him from the extremes of poverty and wealth. That he would pray not to be poor seems obvious: few people desire to struggle to meet their daily needs. However, Agur also asks to be kept from excessive wealth. This reflects understanding that money brings unique temptations (Matthew 19:23). Among these are spiritual numbness (Proverbs 30:9). So, he puts his needs in God's hands. The writer to the Hebrews echoes Agur's sentiment: "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'" (Hebrews 13:5–6).
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