What does Proverbs 30:14 mean?
ESV: There are those whose teeth are swords, whose fangs are knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, the needy from among mankind.
NIV: those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among mankind.
NASB: There is a kind of person whose teeth are like swords And his jaw teeth like knives, To devour the poor from the earth And the needy from among mankind.
CSB: There is a generation whose teeth are swords, whose fangs are knives, devouring the oppressed from the land and the needy from among mankind.
NLT: They have teeth like swords and fangs like knives. They devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among humanity.
KJV: There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.
NKJV: There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.
Verse Commentary:
Each proverb in this section (Proverbs 30:11–13) becomes more extravagant in depicting certain sins. Here, Agur (Proverbs 30:1) describes those who take advantage of the weak as vicious, terrible predators. The Hebrew terms used here apply to more than just those with financial hardship. These are the afflicted, the hurting, and the powerless. Rather than caring for the needs of those who suffer (Proverbs 14:31; 29:7, 14), the evil men depicted by Agur prey on them like wild animals.

The psalmist asks: "Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lᴏʀᴅ?" (Psalm 14:4). He points out that God is present among the righteous and defends the poor. He writes: "God is with the generation of the righteous. [Evildoers] would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lᴏʀᴅ is his refuge" (Psalm 14:5–6).

Someday, Jesus will make things right. When He reigns on earth, He will judge the poor with righteousness. He will also "strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked" (Isaiah 11:4).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 30:5–14 continues the "oracle" attributed to Agur. He begins by praising God's Word as true. He warns against adding to what God says. Agur then prays asking for God's protection from certain spiritual errors. He then begins making wise observations about life and certain kinds of bad behavior. Several comments in this passage include the phrase "there are those," commenting on various common sins. Agur's humility and desire for honesty shine through in this passage of Scripture.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains the teachings of Agur, who is only known through this passage. Humility and a sense of one's own limitations are key themes in this section. Agur prays for God's providence and warns about the sins of arrogance, greed, and rebelliousness. He marvels at how the ungodly can sin without care, not realizing their fate. He then notes the way some insignificant animals accomplish great things and comments on the effects of confidence. The chapter ends with a reminder that stirring up anger leads to trouble.
Chapter Context:
This chapter falls between a collection of Solomon's wise sayings (Proverbs 25—29) and King Lemuel's proverbs (Proverbs 31). Chapter 30 contains the wise sayings of Agur, who is otherwise unknown. He may have been the son of Jakeh. His teachings are called an oracle: a weighty message from God. Humility and warnings about arrogance are recurring themes in this chapter.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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