Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Gatherer, &c., or, as it is in the Latin, Congregans, the son of Vomens. The Latin interpreter has given us in this place the signification of the Hebrew names, instead of the names themselves, which are in the Hebrew, Agur, the son of Jakeh. But whether this Agur be the same person as Solomon, as many think, or a different person, whose doctrine was adopted by Solomon, and inserted among his parables or proverbs, is uncertain. (Challoner) --- Vomiter may denote David, who delivered many excellent canticles; Eructavit cor, Psalm xliv. De Dieu translates, "The words of him who is recollected the son of obedience." The author styles himself foolish, and asks for neither beggary nor riches, (ver. 2, 8.) which seems not to agree with Solomon; though there can be no doubt but this chapter is inspired. (Calmet) --- In effect, that great king might form this petition, being mindful of the instability of human greatness, and confess that of himself he was foolish. --- Vision. Hebrew massa (Haydock) generally implies something disagreeable, but here it is put for a collection of moral sentences. --- With, &c. Hebrew also, "to Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal," (Protestants; Haydock) friends of Agur, (Calmet) or his children, (Menochius) or rather Solomon speaks to all the faithful. We never find Agur mentioned as a canonical writer; and if he were, he would have been placed after Solomon. (Worthington)
With me. He speaks of what he could claim of his own, abstracting from the prophetic light. (Calmet) --- In his humility, he supposeth that others are more perfect. The wisest know best their own defects. (Worthington)
Descended. How then could I acquire such a sublime science? (Deuteronomy xxx. 11.) (Calmet) --- Christ alone could impart it, (John iii. 13.; Haydock) who is the perfect wisdom. (Worthington) --- Hands. Septuagint, "breast." (Haydock) --- It is no less difficult to fathom the designs of Providence. Some understand the "spirit" of prophecy to be here meant. --- Son. Septuagint, "children." But many Greek copies, and all the interpreters, have Son, which the Fathers explain of the second person of the blessed Trinity, specified [in] chap. viii. 22. (Calmet)
Is fire-tried; that is, most pure, like gold purified by fire. (Challoner) (Psalm xvii. 31., and Jeremias xxiii. 29.) --- It cannot deceive.
And not any thing contrary, Deuteronomy iv. 2., and xii. 32. --- Liar. Our Saviour condemned the false explanations of the Pharisees, as his Church does those of all heretics.
Words, which are so opposite to thine, ver. 5. --- Riches. The former often prompts men to deceive, the latter to grow proud and forget God.
Accuse. Septuagint, "deliver not" to an idolater, Deuteronomy xxiii. 15. (Rabbins) --- Servant. Add not to his affliction. (Worthington) --- We must suppose that the accusation is frivolous or false. (Lyranus) --- A servant may do a person much injury: but this ought not to deter the other from performing what justice and charity require.
The horse-leech: concupiscence, which hath two daughters that are never satisfied, viz., lust and avarice. (Challoner)
Womb. Septuagint, "the love of a woman," (Haydock) a harlot, or rather Hebrew, "a barren woman." --- Enough. The more fuel, the brighter the flame. These four similitudes may denote cruelty, lust, avarice, and prodigality; (Calmet) or the first and last may be understood (Haydock) of envy and ambition. (Worthington)
Labour. Septuagint, &c., "old age." Hebrew, "the obedience or admonition." Those who curse their parents, were sentenced to death, Leviticus xx. 6.
Youth. Hebrew, "a virgin." The "conception of a mighty man (the Messias; Haydock) in a virgin," is fitly compared to the flight of an eagle in the air, which leaves no trace behind, and is the most difficult to comprehend. See Jeremias xxxi. 22.; Univ. Hist. iii. p. 144, note. Isaiah vii. 14.; Parkhurst in alm. (Haydock) --- Some of the Jews have admitted this explanation. (Cornelius a Lapide) --- Others understand that the marks of virginity are equivocal; (Bossuet, &c.) or, if we stick to the Vulgate and Septuagint, the difference betwixt a child and a young man is extremely great, and almost incomprehensible. (Calmet) --- Young people who follow their carnal appetite, can no more give an account of their actions than of the course of an eagle, &c. (Worthington) --- His wanderings are manifold. The Hebrew seems to contain a prophecy of Christ's conception.
Mistress, and is married to her master. She will generally prove insolent; like slaves on the throne, Regnabit sanguine multo ad regnum quisquis venit ab exilio. (Suetonius, Tib. 59.) (Calmet)
Bands, like an army. When one rises or falls, all do the like. They are so numerous in the East, as to darken the sun and spread destruction, Joel i., and ii. (Calmet)
The stellio. A kind of house lizard, marked with spots like stars, from whence it has its name. (Challoner) --- Hebrew semamith. (Haydock) --- It probably provides food against the stormy season, like ants. (Bochart) (Calmet) --- Others understand "the spider," (Kimchi) or "monkey." (Vatable, &c.)
Meeteth. If he retreat, he looks back with disdain, till the woods conceal the turpitude of his flight. (Pliny, [Natural History?] viii. 16.)
Loins. It rules, and is even terrible to lions. (Pliny x. 21.) --- The terms of the original are found nowhere else, and some understand the horse, the bee, and a soldier in arms. (Calmet) --- Whom. Hebrew, "and Alkum with him." (Montanus) --- But we know no animal or king of this name;; and it may imply, "in the midst of his court," or "assembly." (Chaldean) Some Latin copies read, Et Rex, nec est qui resistat ei, (Sixtus V.) which is more conformable to the Hebrew, (Calmet) and is here translated, though the Vulgate read, Nec est rex qui, &c. These four emblems (Haydock) denote fortitude, chastity, order, and justice.
Mouth. Fools ought not to govern. (Worthington) --- Many might have been deemed wise, if they had continued in a lower station. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "If thou hast acted foolishly in raising thyself, and if thou hast entertained evil thoughts, put thy hand to thy mouth." (Haydock) --- Chaldean, "put not thy," &c. Give not way to pride, or to insolent language. (Calmet)
And. Hebrew, "For he who presseth milk." (Calmet) --- Protestants, "Surely the churning of milk bringeth for butter," &c. (Haydock) --- Strife. Moderation is necessary, (Calmet) in all actions. (Worthington)