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Agur’s Wisdom and the Coherence of Proverbs 30
Alexander T. Kirk
AIL 50
Publication Date
May 2024


In this first in-depth study of Proverbs 30, the Words of Agur, Alexander T. Kirk examines a puzzling text attributed to an unknown figure that has long fascinated scholars. While this material has been read as everything from a devout confession to a cry of despair, few interpreters have found any real coherence in the chapter. In this detailed philological study engaging both genre and tone, Kirk demonstrates that the chapter is best read as a coherent collection that mocks pride and greed while it commends humility and contentment. Kirk draws out many subtle literary features that augment Agur’s message, including humor and animal imagery. Ultimately, Proverbs 30 deepens the presentation of wisdom in the book of Proverbs by orienting it toward a proper relationship with God.

Alexander T. Kirk is Assistant Professor of Divinity (Old Testament and Hebrew) at Beeson Divinity School in Samford University. His academic work has appeared in journals, including Vetus Testamentum and Catholic Biblical Quarterly.