What does Proverbs 30:9 mean?
ESV: lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?" or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.
NIV: Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
NASB: So that I will not be full and deny You and say, 'Who is the Lord?' And that I will not become impoverished and steal, And profane the name of my God.
CSB: Otherwise, I might have too much and deny you, saying, "Who is the Lord?" or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.
NLT: For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
KJV: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
NKJV: Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.
Verse Commentary:
Agur (Proverbs 30:1) has prayed for two things from God (Proverbs 30:7). Broadly interpreted, these imply God's material and spiritual provision (Proverbs 30:8). God's hatred for deceptive attitudes explains the desire to be honest (Proverbs 12:22). Avoiding both poverty and extreme wealth are tied to the unique temptations of those conditions.

Of course, many wealthy people have chosen to follow Jesus, and have used their wealth for His glory. Yet the rich can also become smug and feel self-sufficient. Being able to solve many problems with money makes a person feel more in control than they really are. Surrounded by possessions, he might see no need of God, and he might credit his own strength and wisdom as the sole reason for his success. Jesus told the story of a rich man who anticipated a lavish lifestyle for his future years. Instead, God called him a fool and noted the man's life was destined to end the very night he was boasting (Luke 12:16–21). In another example, a rich man rejected following Christ because he put more importance on being wealthy (Luke 18:22–23). Jesus commented on the spiritual numbness caused by money (Luke 18:24–25).

Poverty creates its own, more obvious temptations. Among those are the temptation to steal or lie to improve one's lifestyle.
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.
Accessed 6/13/2024 2:10:54 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.