10 “Do not slander a servant to their master,
or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.
11 “There are those who curse their fathers
and do not bless their mothers;
12 those who are pure in their own eyes
and yet are not cleansed of their filth;
Does anything good come from slander? You may consider it deserved, but what is its effect? There are ways to inspire better service, but slander is not one of them. If you must speak about a servant to their master, find a way to do it constructively. You do not want to be despised by those who serve you.
“There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers.” Agur, the author of this chapter, now proceeds to acknowledge four traits of wretchedness. The first is ingratitude. Though all parents are flawed, the Lord commands his people to honor them. Yet he also commands them to “love your neighbor.” Those you know the most are often the hardest to love, but they ought to at least be honored.
“Those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth.” The second trait of wretchedness is self-righteous hypocrisy. This is perhaps the worst form of pride, as blindness to one’s faults is impotence to correct them. Yet they are well aware of the faults of others and quick to point them out, to the benefit of no one. No one is further from cleansing than the one who believes he is already clean.