Proverbs 6:1

Chapter 6, verses 1-15, bring forward three follies or traps for a young man to avoid. Solomon continues his fatherly addresses and speaks plainly and practically. He warns of being hasty and obligating oneself, sloth, and avoiding unprofitable friendships or partnerships. Verses 16-19 is the famous list of seven abominations and verses 20-35 return to warnings against going after an evil woman. The repetitive and extensive way Solomon addresses this alerts us to attention to its importance.

My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger;
– Proverbs 6:1

Solomon begins a new address here that runs through verse 15. Verses 1-5 address the issue of hastiness in becoming obligated for the debt of another. He doesn’t use the usual call to attention, but begins simply, “My son.” Surety refers to giving a pledge to pay a debt if a person defaults and striking hands refers to the method then of entering into a contract. The point is speaking of becoming legally obligated to pay the debts of another. Friend here doesn’t necessarily indicate closeness. It could be anyone, so the relation is not important. The point is this being done willingly. In other words, it’s a situation where you are not under any binding obligation and so Solomon is warning against rashly obligating oneself voluntarily.

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