on Proverbs 30 :8
Remove far from me vanity and lies -
1. שוא shav, all false shows, all false appearances of happiness, every vain expectation. Let me not set my heart on any thing that is not solid, true, durable, and eternal.
2. Lies, דבר כזב debar cazab, all words of deception, empty pretensions, false promises, uncertain dependences, and words that Fail; promises which, when they become due, are like bad bills; they are dishonored because they are found to be forged, or the drawer insolvent.
From the import of the original, I am satisfied that Agur prays against idolatry, false religion, and false worship of every kind. שוא shau is used for an idol, a false god. Jeremiah 18:15 : "My people have forsaken me; they have burnt incense to Vanity;" לשוא lashshav, "to an Idol." Psalm 31:6 : "I have hated them that regard lying Vanities;" הבלי שוא habley shave, "vain Idols." See also Hosea 12:11; Jonah 2:8. And כזב cazab, a thing that fails or deceives, may well apply to the vain pretensions, false promises, and deceptive religious rites of idolatry. So Jeremiah 15:18 : "Wilt thou be unto me as a liar," כמו אכזב kemo achzob, like the false, failing promises of the false gods; "and as waters that fail;" לא נאמנו lo neemanu, that are not faithful; not like the true God, whose promises never fail. According to this view of the subject, Agur prays,
1. That he may be preserved from idolatry.
2. That he may put no confidence in any words but those pure words of God that never fail them that trust in him.
Give me neither poverty nor riches - Here are three requests:
1. Give me not poverty. The reason is added: Lest, being poor, I shall get into a covetous spirit, and, impelled by want, distrust my Maker, and take my neighbour's property; and, in order to excuse, hide, or vindicate my conduct, I take the name of my God in vain; תפשתי taphasti, "I catch at the name of God." Or, by swearing falsely, endeavor to make myself pass for innocent. Forswere the name of my God - Old MS. Bible. Coverdale, "deny or apostatize from him."
2. Give me not riches. For which petition he gives a reason also: Lest I be full, and addict myself to luxurious living, pamper the flesh and starve the soul, and so deny thee, the Fountain of goodness; and, if called on to resort to first principles, I say, Who is Jehovah! Why should I acknowledge, why should I serve him? And thus cast aside all religion, and all moral obligation.
3. The third request is, Feed me with food convenient for me, הטריפני לחם חקי hatripheni leechem chukki; the meaning of which is, "give me as prey my statute allowance of bread," i.e., my daily bread, a sufficient portion for each day. There is an allusion made to hunting: "Direct so by thy good providence, that I may each day find sufficient portion to subsist on, as a hunter in the forest prays that he may have good speed." It is the province of a preacher to show the importance and utility of such a prayer, and dilate the circumstances, and expand the reasons, after the commentator has shown the literal sense.
on Proverbs 30 :8
The order of the two requests is significant. The wise man's prayer is first and chiefly, "truth in the inward parts," the removal of all forms of falsehood, hollowness, hypocrisy.
Neither poverty ... - The evil of the opposite extremes of social life is that in different ways they lead men to a false standard of duty, and so to that forgetfulness of God which passes into an absolute denial.
Food convenient for me - literally, "give me for food the bread of my appointed portion." The prayer foreshadows that which we have been taught by the Divine Wisdom: "Give us, day by day, our daily bread."
on Proverbs 30 :8
30:8 Vanity - All vanity of heart and life; a vain conversation, or a love of the vain things of this world. Lies - All falsehood and deceit in my words and carriage. Convenient - Moderate and suitable both to my natural necessities, and to that condition of life in which thou hast put me.