3

“Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know!” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:4‬

The surrounding verses are very intriguing, almost appear like leading questions/statements.

“I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:3‬ ‭

This is the preceding verse. One would like to think what the author has to say next is related or in relation to v3

Every word of GOD proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:5‬ ‭

And immediately afterwards a truth statement, as if to validate v4.

And just in case there is a temptation to reinterpret the obvious (apparently so) it’s followed by

Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:6‬ ‭

v4 is sandwiched in between. So who is He and why is it so obvious “surely you know” who he is and who his son is?

additional comments

I think that Sola Gratia did a fabulous job in his response. Really gave me a run for my money when he said that Israel is the name of the son. This is not a stomp-the-chumps question, I’d love to give him the check mark to this question.

The issues I have is that the text orders it this way, ascended and then descended. That seems possible at Creation the Father first ascended. And the context is about creation, as far as I can tell. The Mt Sinai example is great but it’s not obvious to me that the Father came on Mt. Sinai and furthermore that would require a descension first, so the order is wrong. Because if it’s Jesus who is does all these things in Egypt then either the son is not Israel or the father is Jesus and the son is Israel in v4.

Why v4 would talk about something like the Father descending centuries after Creation and then describe Creation seems inconsistent, out of place. I suppose if the Father can be placed as descending or ascending in the context of Israel then Israel is the answer or at least an answer.

I’m not convinced that Israel is the son that is being spoken of in v4. The NT clearly has it that it’s Jesus but I’d like OT texts that predates the Proverbs 30:4 passage to speak for themselves so as to address the idea that it was understood who the son was. Surely you know.

For instance Genesis 1:1 speaks of Gods (plural) in the beginning created Elohim eth... so that might indicate God and his son but it’s not conclusive that it is a son, it is indicative that it’s not a single El. J

edit

I’m including this picture I saw online which sparked the whole reason for the question in the first place, it is not intended to be used as a measure of answering the question as was suggested it might be in the comments. It is not. I don’t know how valid this is. If you read the Hebrew it’s fascinating the coincidence. enter image description here

Reason for answer choice

Sola Gratia explained that the father is the Creator, who from the NT we know to be Jesus and that Jesus’ son is Israel. Now whether the author of this verse knew it was Jesus or merely God in the generic doesn’t change its correct interpretation. So the acrostic is either misleading at the worst or coincidental at best. But it did help bring about an answer to a beautiful verse in Scripture. Thank you to all those who contributed especially to Sola Gratia and an honorable mention to ethos.

  • @Autodidac Job 38 answers your qn. it is not about 'obvious' but the other way around!. Job 38:4 ''Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. 5 Who fixed its measurements?**''Surely you know!''** Or who stretched...etc The context is about Agur in a face-off with a 'learned one', finding himself in similar circumstances as Amos in Amos 7:14. That's why Agur cautions the ''learned one'', saying ** “Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar**. Such were the struggles of newly inspired men, ref 1 Kings 22:24 etc.. – Witness Feb 14 at 23:48
  • 1
    The acrostic that you included in the "edit" is contrived to provide the answer that you want to see. That's hardly a coincidence. With a consonantal language like Hebrew it is easy to contrive this type of acrostic to say anything you want, sacred or profane. That the way people build crossword puzzles. Which is besides the fact that in this acrostic, dalet is mistaken as resh, bet is mistaken for caf, ... – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Feb 15 at 10:13
  • That’s why I didn’t include it from the beginning and I’m not using in it for the correct answer. For the correct answer I want to see that the Father is associated with the ascending descending in relation to Israel or whoever the son is claimed to be. Or some none ambiguous passages which Sola Scriptura provided one of. – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 15 at 12:34
  • See Proverbs 8:22-31. – Lucian Mar 11 at 3:42
3

Exodus 4:22-23 (DRB) And thou shalt say to him: Thus saith the Lord: Israel is my son, my firstborn. 23 I have said to thee: Let my son go, that he may serve me, and thou wouldst not let him go: behold I will kill thy son, thy firstborn.

God and his son is a theme in the Old Testament, and it's in reference to Israel. However, this isn't to exclude Christological interpretation. Not at all: for Christ was typified in many ways by Israel, God's "firstborn," after all.

I can give apostolic weight to this, and prove it quite easily.

Hosea 11:1 (DRB) As the morning passeth, so hath the king of Israel passed away. Because Israel was a child, and I loved him: and I called my son out of Egypt.

Matthew 2:13-15 (DRB) And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child [Jesus] and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him. 14 Who arose, and took the child [Jesus] and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: 15 That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Here, Matthew isn't taking this as a prophecy, but as a type. That is, the words do not say, "The Lord shall call his Son out of Egypt" but is descriptive of past events. Matthew takes Christ, God's Son, to have been foreshadowed by Israel, his "son."

  • Wait wait you can’t smuggle that in just like that. No. Did Israel ascend and descend to heaven? Of gather the wind in his fist? Or the waters did Israel wrap in a garment? Or establish the ends of the earth? I’m going to assume your passion overtook you and not downvote this response but unless Israel did those aforementioned then Israel is not the son that is being described here. I’ll upvote due to the Hosea passage but I doubt Solomon and Hosea were contemporaneous. – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 14 at 23:55
  • Am I assuming too much when I recognize that "the one who gathers the wind in his fist" is not the same person/entity meant by "his son?" – Sola Gratia Feb 15 at 0:00
  • My passion is getting the better of me but when has the Father ascended and descended? – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 15 at 0:02
  • One key example is Exodus 19:18: "And mount Sinai was altogether smoking, because the Lord descended upon it in fire..," if we interpret this as God the Father. However, I'm comfortable with Israel being Jesus' son (Jesus qua Yahweh) or the Father's. Yahweh's son. The Father is Yahweh, the Son is Yahweh, the Holy Ghost is Yahweh. As the NT teaches. – Sola Gratia Feb 15 at 0:11
  • I don’t liken this to God the Father for a number of reasons including but not limited to the eth and Stephen’s testimony saying Acts 7:30 & 38. The implication of this verse makes the son contemporaneous to the events been described. Even if the ascending and descending was on Mt Sinai, Israel was not present at the creation portion, garments for waters and ends of the earth. I’ll ruminate on this further but you have given me a lot more to consider. – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 15 at 0:22
2

Proverbs is a collection of Solomon's own documented words (Ch 1-24), the words of Solomon copied down (Ch 25-29) and then two short chapters of Agur's and Lemuel's words. Agur ("gatherer") son of Jakeh ("hearkening") speaks to Ithiel ("God is") and to Ucal ("eat").

Agur states his qualifications first. And they are zero. He has none.

Then he asks seven questions :

Who ascended up into heaven ?

Who descended ?

Who gathered atmosphere ?

Who bound waters together ?

Who established the containment of earth ?

What is his name ?

What is his son's name ?

No other questions need be asked, if one has the answer to these seven. Within the answer to these seven questions is every answer to every other question that could possibly be asked.

This man, with no qualifications, with no recognizable heritage, unheard of and his father a nonentity : this man asks seven profound questions whose scope encompasses every other possible question.

And because of the profundity of his words, he has earned a place in a book which contains the Proverbs of King Solomon, son of King David.

He asks not about 'the sons of God'. They are spoken of in the two primary books of scripture - Job and Genesis - and they are clearly aspects of creation itself.

But Agur asks specifically as to the name of the person who achieved five things : ascend, descend, gather, bound, and establish.

Well what is his name ?

I am that I am ? ..... Is that a name ?

Well, what is his son's name ?

If you can find his son, you might be able to ask his son, what his father's name is.

And if you find his son, he will tell you what he calls him.

Jesus calls him ..... 'Father'.

So if a man finds the Son of God, and believes on him, he shall become a son, too. And then he shall also call God, 'Father'.

That is his name. He has no other.

And none truly know him, but his own sons.

  • I’m going to chew on that before I take any action. Maybe read it several more times. Thank you for your response. On first impression it sounds like you are saying some Scripture is not inspired by God – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 14 at 20:55
  • I don't believe that and I do not see that I have stated it. If you could be more specific, I might be able to clarify. – Nigel J Feb 14 at 21:01
  • I wish the person who downvoted could explain why so I can understand multiple angles on this verse. – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 14 at 21:01
  • You’ve answered the question, it seems, from a NT perspective. I already know it’s Jesus. I want to know why they, back then thought it was obvious that God had a son. Based on what Scriptures? Because it’s not in the canonized writings. Also it’s not so obvious that the invisible God as opposed to Jesus who took off glory according John 17, that the Father, descended beyond the firmament in order to ascend and descend. And the oceans are gathered in a garment? Like what the flat earthers believe that Antarctica is holding the oceans in like a garment? So why was it obvious using the Tanakh. – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 14 at 21:45
  • Downvote is mine. 1) Agur as "gatherer" is folk etymology. "Itiel" better translated as "God is with me". 2) No reference to Exodus 4 or other possible cognate texts. 3) Does nothing to explain how the text was understood before the common era. If Agur was referring to Jesus, why couldn't he just say so? The prophets never had such reticence about mentioning Moses or Abraham 4) There are not seven, but six or five questions, depending on how you count the double מה in the last clause 5) Does not question the premise of the OP, that the question is intended to be answered or can be answered. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Feb 17 at 6:39
1

I would like to dovetail on to Sola Gratia's excellent answer regarding Proverbs 30:3-6

Keep in mind that Heb. 1:1-2 also tells us this answer too, by saying that in many different ways and in many different times God communicated things through the prophets. But now God speaks to us "in Son", or more literally, "within and in union with Son". That term "through the prophets" can often be an all-inclusive way of saying our phrase "in the Old Testament".

If we were to paraphrase it, it might go like this:

In the Old Testament times, God spoke to our Hebrew forefathers in the mode of Bible stories by exposing the nature of a “thing” and communicating it to others through earthly means. But they did not receive the underlying nature of that “thing.” Now in New Testament times, in the days of the final outcome, God speaks to us in Son-mode by inwardly expressing the very nature that was only pictured before. (Heb 1:1-2 my paraphrase)

The design of what we call the Old Testament points to Jesus. See references below:

In John 5:39, Jesus says the Scriptures bear witness of Him. In Luke 24:44-45 Jesus repeats this about the Scriptures, and also says it this way …in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms… In Revelation 19:10, it says the spirit of prophecy is the witness-testimony of Jesus. This is just a sampling.

In addition to this, Hebrews even continues with that theme of comparing various Bible characters a Hebrew might esteem, including angels, with Jesus, the Son being seen in 2. In chapter 3 there is Moses over his house, then the Son, Whose house we are. Then we have the list of Bible characters in chapter 11, followed by 12:1-2 keep your focus on Jesus, followed by a discussion on sonship.

A lot more could be said about God's perspective of events at Passover. As was pointed out, Exodus 4:22 says

Israel, is My Son, My Firstborn. Yet, Israel is many people.

God sees Israel as a corporate Son.

So Moses goes from Mount Sinai, which is "high above" to Egypt "down below". There is a great victory wrought down in Egypt involving Israel and a lamb. The people have to "enter into the death of the lamb" by walking into the doorway. Then they put the dead lamb into themselves - fully partaking of the death of the lamb. The death of the lamb becomes integrated into them. Then they exit a bloody doorway - like the birth of a son. it is why, IMO, Heb 1:5 quotes "This day I have begotten you" speaking of the Son.

Then they exit Egypt and return back to the high above, exactly where Moses left from. At the beginning, Moses left as a man with a staff and then returned to Mt Sinai with a great company of Israel, over whom he was the head.it reminds me of what Jesus said in John 12:24 ESV.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

In John 16:28, Jesus said this, “I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father." ESV

It was in the Resurrection Jesus immediately spoke of sons, "'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" John 20:17. ESV

So I think there is your answer. It pictured Jesus all along.

  • Thank you for the response Cam... it’s not so simple. At least I’m not wrapping my head around it fast enough. Sola is saying the son is/can be Israel. Israel is not Jesus. I’m going to upload the picture that sparked this whole question in the first place. I’m trying to find an original scroll 📜 but I’ll upload it in the question anyhow. – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 15 at 0:30
  • Consider what Galatians 6:14-16 is saying. The Galatians believers are Israel of God. Also Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. – Cam F Feb 15 at 0:41
  • 1
    Rom 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, Rom 9:7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." Rom 9:8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. – Cam F Feb 15 at 0:43
  • I can give you a bunch of said verses. I’m mostly interested in generating the answer from the OT. “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬ any comments on the photo I uploaded in the question? – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 15 at 0:46
  • 1
    Jesus is Israel in whom we are. Jesus is the temple in Whom we are spiritual stones. Jesus is the Rock (of Horeb). Jesus is the Bread in the wilderness, and so on. – Cam F Feb 15 at 0:46
1

The questions in Proverbs 30:4 are rhetorical and not intended to be answered, because the reader already knows the answers.

You need to read the questions in context. The context is the eastern wiseman Agur ben-Yakeh's preface to his proverbs. The preface is verses 2, 3 and four.

In this preface, Agur ben-Yakeh disclaims any divine knowledge and presents himself in the begining of verse 2 as so unlettered as not to even be called a man, כי בער אנוכי מאש... Note that בער, unlettered, is close to בעיר, bovine.

This is a common literary device in prefaces to ancient and medieval literature. In this particular instance, the protestation of ignorance has a typical middle eastern flare of exaggeration.

Agur continues to say, "I don't have the intelligence of a man, I never learned wisdom, and I don't know any divine knowledge".

After presenting himself thus as a complete fool, Agur asks questions that a fool would ask, in a way that a fool with no knowledge of God would ask:

  1. Who went up in the sky and came down? (See Genesis 11:7, 18:21, Exodus 19:11...)
  2. Who gathered the winds in his hands?
  3. Who gathered the water into a garments (meaning clouds, see Job 26:8)?
  4. Who created the ends of the earth?

and ultimately,

  1. What is his name and what is his son's name?

As if the one behind these phenomenon were a human with a middle eastern kunya name base on his firstborn son's name like Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim.

This completes Agur Ben-Yakeh's protestation of ignorance, while the subtext is that God is not a man, God created the ends of the earth, and God continues to be involved. The rest of the chapter presents Agur's wisdom.

There is no reason to look farther than this, the simplest and most straightforward explanation of the verse in scriptural and cultural context.

  • That’s an amazing response. On the one hand it’s one dimensional, simple and shouldn’t be understood other than from a fool’s perception who knows very little, exaggerates and conflates. On the other hand the same speaks pearls of wisdom. The interpretation of his name and son’s name is just that, an interpretation. I’ll take your word for it no need to provide similar examples. Is God allowed to communicate truth through this exaggeration? Can it be considered inspired if it’s using a lie(exaggerations are lies, inaccuracies)? +1 on the different angle. – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 15 at 15:46
  • The OT is chock full of lies, deceptions, misrepresentations and slight of hand, made by both the wicked and the righteous, as well true aphorisms and statements of faith, jokes, polemics and exaggeration. That doesn't mean it isn't God's word to us. It means that the word is no less subtle and complex that the reality that we are required to live in by its light. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Feb 17 at 6:48
1

Jesus himself answers your question Ruminator at:-

NWT John 3:13 "Moreover, no man has ascended into heaven but the one who descended from heaven, the Son of man."

because Jesus quotes part of Prov. 30:4

NWT Proverbs 30:4 " . . .Who has ascended to heaven and then descended?. . ."

and applies it to himself.

  • Ruminator?!? If you think I’m a different user, I am not Ruminator, I changed from Mt. Constantin. Right the NT makes the father in v4 Jesus and according to Sola Scriptura the son is Israel. I guess that works really well. That makes Jesus the Creator in v4, so to repeat my question, why was it obvious that it was Jesus and that Jesus has a son to the pre proverbs 30 generations of people who don’t have John 3:13? +1 – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 15 at 16:10
  • 1
    @ Autodidact Sorry about that Autodidact I did mean you. – user26950 Feb 15 at 17:43
  • 1
    @Autodidact Were in the OT is Jesus mentioned by name? – user26950 Feb 16 at 12:36
  • Great question. In Exodus. “And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.”Exodus 3:2 “When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!"” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭3:4‬ ‭ ‭‭‬ ‭”God said to Moses, " I am who I am." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel: ' I AM has sent me to you.'"” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭He calls Himself “I am” in the NT just like here in Exodus, John 8:56–59. He is one and the same I am. – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 16 at 12:57
  • @Autodidact That is only part of the story the rest goes on to say: Acts 7:35 ". . .This same Moses whom they had disowned, saying: ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge?’ is the very one God sent as both ruler and deliverer by means of the ANGEL who appeared to him in the thornbush." – user26950 Feb 16 at 13:07
1

Proverbs 30:4 (NASB)

The writer Agur asked:

4 Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in [a]His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son’s name? Surely you know!

Up to and until the time Agur asked his questions no human has gone up in heaven and descended,nor any human has been able to control the forces of nature such as the winds, earthquakes, tsunamis, then Agur asked, if anyone knows such a man or his son that has done all these things ?

THE ANSWER IS , NO MAN HAS DONE ANY OF THESE THINGS

It is a rhetorical question we find in the scriptures and compares the superhuman powers of the creator, to that of puny man. Isaiah also wrote:

Isaiah 40:12-14 (NASB)

12 Who has measured the [a]waters in the hollow of His hand,And marked off the heavens by the [b]span,And [c]calculated the dust of the earth by the measure,And weighed the mountains in a balance And the hills in a pair of scales?

13 Who has [d]directed the Spirit of the Lord,Or as His counselor has informed Him? 14 With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding?

CONCLUSION.

So with all these questions answered by humans , we have to look elsewhere to find them ,to the "Creator" who has the power to control all these elements and name the stars with their names. Paul wrote that we can see his powers, qualities and wisdom through his creation,it is as if He has descended from heaven and given us the information.

Romans 1:20 (NASB)

20 "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

He also gave his prophets information about himself and finally send his son who descended from heaven with additional details about the creator, so like Agur we have to turn to our creator to find true wisdom. God shares his wisdom with us regardless of our background or education, (1 Cor.1-26-29) but to receive it, we have to take the initiative to humbly pray and ask for it. We also have to put an effort to study his word, James wrote: "Draw close to God and he will draw close to you." James 4:8

  • Appreciate the response. It seems you take the position that the name and his son’s name are not significant to the text per se and certainly you laid a strong argument for it being God even if you didn’t address what his son’s name was. +1 – Nihil Sine Deo Feb 15 at 20:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.