What does Proverbs 30:7 mean?
ESV: Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die:
NIV: "Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die:
NASB: Two things I have asked of You; Do not refuse me before I die:
CSB: Two things I ask of you; don’t deny them to me before I die:
NLT: O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.
KJV: Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:
NKJV: Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die):
Verse Commentary:
Humbly, Agur (Proverbs 30:1) asks the Lord for two things. The following verses name those things and why he thinks they are important (Proverbs 30:8–9). Specifically, he asks to be free from deceit and to have exactly the right amount of resources. More broadly, Agur is asking God to provide spiritual guidance, to meet his basic needs, and to keep him from the temptations of excess.

A life that honors the Lord exhibits honesty and gratitude. When believers contemplate death, they are motivated to honor God before they go to be with Him. The apostle Paul underwent a lengthy and dangerous courtroom trial. He hoped he would not be ashamed but would honor Christ, whether the authorities granted him life or sentenced him to death (Philippians 1:20). He testifies, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Eventually, he was released from prison, took another missions trip, but was apprehended again. As he faced execution, he looked beyond death: "Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8). Every believer should honor the Lord in life and death.
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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