A Lesson from the Leech

By Jason Jackson

There are some things that never say, “That’s enough.” Agur, the son of Jakeh (see Proverbs 30:1), sets before our minds this idea of “insatiable things.”

The leech has two daughters: give and give. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough”—Sheol, the barren womb,the land never satisfied with water, and the fire that never says,“Enough” (30:15-16).

These verses form a proverbial riddle (see 1:6). What do you think is the point of these verses? The “answer” is not expressly stated; I assume we are supposed to think about this for a minute. I imagine that we need to give it some thought for a while. “Hmm . . . there are some things that never say, ’That’s enough.’”

A clue here is that the writer uses a “numeric proverb” (see 6:16). The numeric proverb is a list of certain things, and when it appears that the list is complete, something else is added to the list. In other words, the list is by no means exhaustive.

In this proverb the moral message is not so much what is in the list, but what could be added to the list, or what is figuratively implied by the list. These “insatiable things” remind us of insatiable people. And the reality is that we can be people who are never satisfied. The moral of the story is to find contentment.

Listen to Paul:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:12-13).

Suppose that someone called you a “leech.” Would you take that as a compliment? I suppose you would, if you were one. But most of us would be offended, because parasitic people are simply disgusting.

The warning is twofold. One the one hand, learn to be content; but on the other, watch out for leeches.

The alcoholic wants another drink.
The adulterer wants another affair.
The covetous wants another dollar.
The jealous wants what you have.
The sluggard wants another freebie.
The rebellious wants no accountability.
The apostate wants your tolerance.

And all of these types will, to varying degrees, destroy their relationships, sacrifice their own happiness, trying to get more of what they want.

But nobody has to go on living an insatiable life. When a
person wants salvation, they can find real satisfaction (John 8:32).

What Satan offers in the “fruit” is actually an illusion. “You can be as wise as God. You won’t need anyone to tell you what to do. You can be your own moral guide, free from all restraint.” In that temptation is a hook, and it’s a life of misery wherein empty illusions and avoiding personal accountability never satisfy. But godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).

C. S. Lewis put it like this: “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.”

Reflect upon this proverb today.