The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:
Leeches, or blood-suckers, can teach you wisdom. Leeches are never content or satisfied. They always want more. No matter what is given, it is never enough. Leeches will gladly suck the lifeblood out of a host. How content and satisfied are you? Or are you a leech?
Proverbs can be dark sayings (Pr 1:6). They are often not plain (Jn 16:25,29). They are to make you think, to enjoy interpreting them correctly, and to remember the lesson. The inspired prophet Agur used a creative metaphor to teach an important lesson. God created leeches, or blood-suckers, and He can perfectly apply their most unique trait to your life.
Why is it common to call discontent or greedy people leeches, or blood-suckers? Because that is what God called them in the Bible! Agur wrote these words at least 3,000 years ago, and the Bible has carried this lesson to most languages and nations. Lady Wisdom’s offer of wisdom is very available to men (Pr 1:20-21; 8:1-5; 9:1-6). Will you learn it?
You know the lesson of this proverb by its words and context. Its words introduce four things in life that are never satisfied or content, four things that always want more. Its context lists the four things – the grave, a barren womb, dry ground, and fire. You easily know the lesson is about things that are never content, satisfied, pacified, or satiated.
What is a horseleach? It is a blood-sucking leech. It is an aquatic sucking worm larger than common leeches, and it fastens on the tongues and nostrils of horses when they drink stagnant water from marshes or pools in the Middle East. Some of them can store blood of their victims up to five times their body mass. When fully loaded, they fall off.
God and Agur are not teaching veterinary science here, so you know they are introducing never-satisfied, always-wanting-more, and never-content persons and things. Agur is starting one of his lists of four things, which occupy much of this chapter (Pr 30:11-31). The bloodsucker is a great introduction, for men still use it to describe insatiable people.
What are the two daughters? They are more things or people of the same character, which the Bible indicates by references to children (Ezek 16:44-45; Matt 23:31; John 8:44; Acts 7:51). The two means no more than does the three, though Agur plans a list of four! Unless the noun or context requires its importance, the number is irrelevant (II Kgs 9:32).
This obscure proverb teaches a powerful rule for life. Here is fabulous wisdom from God. If you learn this lesson, you can be happy and thankful from today forward, you can avoid the world’s advertising traps, you can keep yourself from many sins, you can rise above the world’s rich and famous, and you can be satisfied with life day and night.
Contentment is a choice and a command (I Tim 6:6; Heb 13:5). It is a choice to trust God that you have what He wants you to have and to be thankful. He commands it because He wants you happy with His plan for you. No one can take contentment from you, once you choose it; and it has nothing to do with circumstances, because it is a chosen mindset.
Hear Paul’s instruction to Timothy, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Tim 6:6). Do you want great gain in your life? You can achieve it right now, this very minute. Choose to be content with your height, your parents, your job, your spouse, your looks, your nation of birth, your children, what’s in your refrigerator, your car, and so forth.
Contentment is learned behavior. It is a mindset that you choose, and then you work at it to make it a habit. Paul learned to consider himself full, even when hungry (Phil 4:11-13). Instead of wishing you had a different house, make the house you have the most happy and pleasant home you can. Instead of desiring a different spouse, love the one you have.
Covetousness is the opposite of contentment. It desires what you do not have so much that it upsets your heart and mind and/or leads to considering sin to get those things. The sins of greed and lust will never let you be happy, because they make you think about things you do not have so you hate the things you do have that could make you happy.
A man fantasizing of sex with the neighbor or porn models he looks at is a masochistic fool. He cannot have the women of his lusts (they would not have him either!), so he is perpetually frustrated. This causes dislike and irritation with the woman God gave him, who is more than enough to satisfy him, if he would but choose to love and invest in her.
Your sin nature from Adam covets and lusts for everything you do not have so that you lose enjoying what you do have. Young children rip into one wrapped gift after another hardly grasping what they received, only asking, “What’s next?” Advertising and mass marketing is designed to enflame those lusts, and peer pressure in school only adds to it.
Your flesh has many lustful daughters with insatiable greed, which you must put to death (Job 15:16; Eph 4:17-19; Col 3:5-7). Riches will not satisfy the man who desires them, until it has destroyed him (Eccl 5:10; I Tim 6:7-10). Women will not satisfy the man who craves them, until they destroy him (Judges 16:16-17; I Kings 11:1-11; Eccl 7:26-28). Hate all complaining in yourself and others, and learn contentment with thanksgiving.
The only insatiable appetite you should have is for God’s glory and spiritual blessings (Gen 32:26; Mat 5:6; Rom 9:1-3; 10:1; I Cor 12:31). If God Himself is your desire and portion in life, He will cure your lustful cravings and bring contentment and satisfaction like nothing else in the whole world (Ps 73:25-26; Pr 3:13-18; Phil 3:8; Heb 11:24-26).