Proverbs 30:19

The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

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There are four special things on earth that are wonderful to consider. The prophet Agur marveled at these four things, as he taught them to his two students (Pr 30:1). The four things were very impressive and mysterious to his consideration (Pr 30:18).

The lesson of wisdom here is God’s glorious design in all four, with emphasis on the last one involving men and women. And he also used the four wonders to condemn the incredible audacity and lack of conscience of adulteresses (Pr 30:20).

The way of an eagle in the air is gloriously mysterious. Floating and gliding on thermal updrafts, the eagle can soar and circle majestically with hardly a movement of its 7-foot wings. Diving toward earth to catch unsuspecting prey in the air, on the land, or in the water, it can exceed 100 mph. Eagle courtship includes spectacular aerial displays in which the birds grasp each other’s feet high in the air and plummet toward the earth, cartwheeling with their wings and legs outstretched. Who can grasp its wise design?

The way of a serpent upon a rock is likewise amazing. The snake has no arms, legs, or feet. Slithering and twisting through grass or sand is one thing, still quite a sight to consider, but how about on a smooth rock? Where does it find any leverage? How can it move forward and upward on the slippery surface without hands or feet? Angry or frightened, it moves quickly and directly toward or away from an enemy. It uses no toeholds and leaves no tracks, yet it moves efficiently. Who can grasp its wise design?

The way of a ship in the midst of the sea is also remarkable. A sailing vessel has no propeller, oars, or other visible means of propulsion, yet it scoots along the water easily. Its huge size is directed by a very small helm and rudder. It leaves no path to follow behind its slight wake; it can handle most storms without capsizing; and it crosses large bodies of water without signposts or landmarks to its desired port. And it is the air in front of the sail that moves it, not the air behind the sail! Who can grasp its wise design?

The way of a man with a maid is wonderful and mysterious. A virgin girl – a maid – is protected well for 12-20 years. She can be happily content with chores, school, job, hobbies, nature, friends, and family. Love and sex barely disturb her. But consider the change when a man charms her! With attention, words, and promises, he lights a fiery response never seen before. A few embraces and kisses, and she is emotionally obsessed and physically willing to give him anything and everything. She will eagerly leave all to follow him, without fear, and in spite of any warnings. Who can grasp its wise design?

Since Agur described all four things in this proverb as wonderful and beyond knowing (Pr 30:18), there is no need or reason to condemn the fourth thing – winning a maid. Every married man is thankful he could win his maid for marriage. And most married couples fondly remember the passionate pleasure of early love and early sex.

It has been said, if guys were as content with being friends as girls can be, Adam and Eve would still be the only two people on earth, platonically holding hands and admiring the cute little animals outside Eden. Thank you, Lord, for the beauty and glory of romance. Thank you for love, marriage, and sex. Thank you for the wise design of the fourth thing.

The “chemistry” that occurs between a man and a maid is glorious. The emotional and sexual reaction is wonderful. The love and lovemaking described by Solomon in his Song are beautiful and passionate poetry and a good manual for couples. Romance is the basis for initiating most marriages, and it is a practice all marriages should continue to use.

There are lessons in this fourth thing. First, every husband should continue to win his wife as in the beginning. God required a year dedicated to the task (Deut 24:5). If a marriage is romantically cool, it is the husband’s fault. Any man can win most any woman, for that is the fourth wonder. If a boring husband were single again, he would not need lessons on winning the heart of another maid. Therefore, the Lord expects men to continue to win their wives (Pr 5:19; Eccl 9:9; I Cor 7:2-5; Eph 5:25-29; Col 3:19).

Second, every father must protect his daughters from seduction. Rather than expecting them to do something contrary to nature, they should not be put in situations where seduction can occur. Dinah, the daughter of Leah, should have been protected better (Gen 34:1-5). Jacob and her brothers did not send a chaperone with her, and a pagan Canaanite seduced her. A father guides a girl in childhood (Pr 5:7-13; 22:6,15; Num 30:3-5), and it is his duty to preserve her virginity and approve suitors (Deut 22:14-17; Ex 22:16-17).

Third, every woman must guard herself from seduction. She should avoid unnecessary conversation and activities with men. If she must work outside the home with other men, she should be very careful. The fourth thing is a wonder, for she is vulnerable to it. Let every woman be chaste, modest, and a keeper at home (Pr 7:11; Tit 2:3-5; I Pet 3:1-6).

Husbands must protect their wives from all kinds of men. If Adam had been a better husband, he would have kept Eve from Satan’s words (II Cor 11:3; I Tim 2:13-14). Both should recognize her weakness for false teachers that creep into houses and lead captive silly, or vulnerable, women that are confused by their own sins and lusts (II Tim 3:6-7).

Admire the eagle; respect the snake; appreciate sailing; consider emotional and sexual romance. God made all things wonderful in their own time and place, but men have invented ungodly changes and abuses of them (Eccl 3:1-11; 7:29). God made everything good, but men corrupted His way on the earth to their own shame and ruin (Gen 6:11-12).

All glory to Jesus Christ! The Son of Man came to win a maid from the world of sin to be his chaste and holy bride (Jer 31:3; Hos 11:4). There is no resisting His drawing power, and He will not fail to save a single one (John 6:37-39). His ministers labor daily in holy jealousy to present them practically as chaste virgins to Jesus Christ (II Cor 11:1-4).