For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:
– Proverbs 30:21
Verses 21-23 give another numerical saying where all the items are parallel to illustrate the wisdom point, which in this case is given at the beginning in verse 21. The list gives four unbearable circumstances. Where these occur, the earth is disquieted. The word literally means to tremble, quake, or shake. When used of people it can refer to fear, panic, or anger. When used with the earth, as here, it can refer to the literal quaking of the earth. Here the term is used in a common idiomatic way of referring to the upsetting of the usual order of the world. We experience the upsetting of the social order like the chaotic upheaval caused in a city by an earthquake. This saying fits well with the book of Ecclesiastes.