“The words of Agur
Son of Jakeh
Who is this Agur? Agur was the compiler of this collection of proverbs that bears a great similarity to the prophet Isaiah, chapter 40. This Agur might be another name for Solomon. Another explanation is that Agur means someone brave in the pursuit of wisdom. It is highly unlikely that these two Hebrew terms refer to personal names since the names of Agur and Jakeh are not seen anywhere else in the Bible or in any other Israelite document. The lack of parallel language elsewhere makes it difficult to settle on a particular meaning. Perhaps Agur is a foreign sage from the East since sometimes this oracle is translated as Masa, a land east and outside of Israel. Either this was a real person, or as some have suggested, it was a fanciful or symbolic name for Solomon.
“All of this has been set forth by Jason of Cyrene in five volumes. We shall attempt to condense it into a single book. There is a considerable flood of statistics involved. The difficulty is that those who wish to enter upon the narratives of history find a mass of material. We have aimed to please those who wish to read it by making it easier for those who are inclined to memorize, and thus profit all readers. For us who have undertaken the toil of abbreviating, it is no light matter but calls for sweat and loss of sleep. It is not easy for one who prepares a banquet and seeks the benefit of others. Nevertheless, to secure the gratitude of many we will gladly endure the uncomfortable toil. We leave the responsibility for exact details to the compiler, while devoting our effort to arriving at the outlines of the condensation.”
Apparently there was a 5 volume work on the history of the Maccabees by a Jason of Cyrene. That work is now lost. This anonymous biblical author wanted to condense it down into 1 volume. This might be called the “Reader’s Digest” of the Maccabees story. He claimed that there was a lot of statistics and material about Judas Maccabeus and his brothers. He was going to make it easy to read and memorize in his abbreviated version. However, doing so was not easy, but like an uncomfortable task, like preparing a banquet. He was not going to sweat the details since he was more concerned with the outline in his condensation.