At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, Yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; The earth that is not filled with water; And the fire that saith not, It is enough (KJV).
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” (ESV).Proverbs 30:15–16
A leech is a worm that has suckers on both ends. Many of them are parasitic, blood-sucking worms, while the remainder are predators. If you like, you may file the next thing under the category of things you were not expecting to learn today, and that is the remarkable fact that a leech has 32 brains. The worm is divided up into 32 sections, and each one has its very own brain. Apparently getting blood out of your ankle after your dip in the pond is a more complicated task than you thought.
The point of this proverb is that a leech has two daughters, and each one of them is named Give. In modern English, we might be tempted to nickname each of them as Gimme. They are the Gimme Gimme twins. These two daughters are never going to say anything like “that’s enough,” or “that’s satisfying,” or “enough for me, thanks.” It is not in their nature.
Agur then gives us a short list of the sorts of things he has in mind. He does this in the typical Hebraic fashion of giving us an enumerated list, and starting with the penultimate number. “Three things I have in mind—no wait, there are four actually . . .”
The four ravenous things he lists are Sheol, a barren womb, parched earth, and fire in search of more fuel. Sheol has been receiving the dead for a long time now, and will continue to do so until the day of resurrection. A childless womb does not want to forsake the hope of becoming fruitful. And when you pour a jug of water into the desert dirt, a moment later it is like you have done nothing at all. It is as dry as ever. And fire goes out, not because it is tired of burning, but rather because the combustible material is no longer available.