Agur's lists continue: today we read about four small, but wise, creatures and four "stately" creatures. The first four creatures demonstrate the "life-skills" which are the essence of wisdom; the second set share the qualities of strength and confidence.
Four things on earth are small, yet they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people without strength, yet they provide their food in the summer; the badgers are a people without power, yet they make their homes in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard can be grasped in the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces. Three things are stately in their stride; four are stately in their gait: the lion, which is mightiest among wild animals and does not turn back before any; the strutting rooster, the he-goat, and a king striding before his people. (Prov. 30:24-31)
The ant is successful in finding food, the badger finds a secure home, the locusts are well-organized, and the lizard is welcomed in palaces (likely because it keeps down insects). The moral here is that wisdom is more important than size or strength. However, the next four creatures are strong or have a confidence about them that is reflected in their demeanor. The interesting thing is that the first four are identified as "exceedingly wise," while the second four are simply identified as "stately in their stride and gait."Agur isn't really critical of the last four, but he isn't effusive in his praise of them either.
Mediation: Ch. 30 ends with a call for humility and restraint: "If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth. For as pressing milk produces curds, and pressing the nose produces blood, so pressing anger produces strife (vv. 32-33)." It is a final reminder to stop being foolish (through self-promotion and scheming) because such behavior leads to anger and disunity. It seems that many of the proverbs come back to the negative impact of our pride and arrogance. What does that say about us, I wonder?