Things I Do Not Understand

things i do not understand is a set of small surreal drawings, still in progress. the series includes over 40 graphite drawings whose concepts are all inspired by a short piece of ancient hebrew text by an author named agur, a name roughly translated to mean “the compiler.”

this piece of writing is included in the collection of proverbs in the modern-day bible (both catholic and protestant), and many translations of it are readily available under the label “proverbs 30.”

i started creating this series in january of 2015. each piece of paper is seven inches tall, and i use a hard (and very well-sharpened) pencil for each drawing. i’ve combed systematically through the text, letting each unique concept stimulate its own drawing.

this series is a work in progress, and will end up containing about 48 unique drawings.

the weary man

the weary man

the words of agur son of jakeh. the oracle. the man declares, i am weary, o god; i am weary, o god, and worn out.

too stupid to be human

too stupid to be human

surely i am more stupid than any man, and i do not have the understanding of a man.

no knowledge of the holy one

no knowledge of the holy one

i have not learned wisdom, nor have i knowledge of the holy one.

ascension/descension

ascension/descension

who has ascended to heaven and come down?

the wind in his fist

the wind in his fist

who has gathered the wind in his fists?

the water as a garment

the water as a garment

who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?

the ends of the earth

the ends of the earth

who has established all the ends of the earth?

his name and his son's name

his name and his son's name

what is his name, and what is his son’s name? surely you know!

a shield to those

a shield to those

every word of god proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

do not add to his words

do not add to his words

do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

two things

two things

two things i ask of you; deny them not to me before i die.

neither poverty nor riches

neither poverty nor riches

remove far from me falsehood and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me.

too much or too little

too much or too little

lest i be full, and deny thee, and say, who is jehovah? or lest i be poor, and steal, and use profanely the name of my god.

slander a slave to his master

slander a slave to his master

do not slander a servant to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.

a kind of man

a kind of man

there is a kind of man who curses his father and does not bless his mother.

pure in his own eyes

pure in his own eyes

there is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, yet is not washed from his filthiness.

lofty eyes

lofty eyes

there is a kind—oh how lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance.

sword teeth

sword teeth

there is a generation whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives.

devouring the poor

devouring the poor

to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

the leech and her daughters

the leech and her daughters

the leech has two daughters: give and give.

things that never have enough

things that never have enough

three things are never satisfied; four never say ‘enough.’

the open grave and the barren womb

the open grave and the barren womb

sheol, the barren womb …

the dry land and the hungry fire

the dry land and the hungry fire

land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘enough!’

the eye that mocks

the eye that mocks

the eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.

wonderful and unknown things

wonderful and unknown things

there are three things which are too wonderful for me, four which i do not understand.

the way of the eagle

the way of the eagle

the way of an eagle in the air;

the way of the serpent

the way of the serpent

the way of a serpent upon a rock;

the way of a ship

the way of a ship

the way of a ship in the midst of the sea;

the way of a man with a maiden

the way of a man with a maiden

and the way of a man with a maiden.

she wipes her mouth

she wipes her mouth

this is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘i have done no wrong.’

it cannot bear up

It Cannot Bear Up

under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up.

a servant who becomes king

a servant who becomes king

a servant who becomes king …

a fool stuffed with food

a fool stuffed with food

a godless fool who has plenty to eat …

a contemptible woman

a contemptible woman

a contemptible woman who gets married …

displacing her mistress

displacing her mistress

and a servant who displaces her mistress.

four small things

four small things

there are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise.

creatures of little strength

creatures of little strength

ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer;

the hyrax in the crags

the hyrax in the crags

hyraxes are creatures of little power yet they make their home in the crags.

the locust has no king

The Locust Has No King

locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks;

a lizard in a king's palace

a lizard in a king's palace

a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.