Proverbs 27:13

Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
– Proverbs 27:13

Wisdom consistently warns against rash pledges and sureties (Proverbs 6:1-4; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26-27). This saying essentially parallels the one in Proverbs 20:16. The inclusion here could be an example or a warning for the previous saying that a simple person doesn’t perceive risks and comes to suffer the consequences.




Proverbs 22:27

If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
– Proverbs 22:27

Being surety, or striking hands, is like cosigning a loan for someone today. If the borrower defaults, the cosigner assumes responsibility for the debt. The warning of the previous verse comes home in harsh reality that you could literally lose your bed from under you. Wisdom takes a longer view and looks to the outcomes, or the end of the way you are going. Becoming surety opens yourself to vulnerability and puts you at risk of future loss.

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Proverbs 22:26

Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.
– Proverbs 22:26

Proverbs has repeated warnings about sureties (Proverbs 6:1-15; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 27:13). A surety, or a pledge, secures a debt and Proverbs cautions doing so, particularly for one whose reputation is bad or unknown. A pledge is a form of rash vows and puts a person in unnecessary risk. Solomon advised his son to get out of such a situation as fast as he could if he ever got in it (Proverbs 6:1-15).

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Proverbs 20:16

Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
– Proverbs 20:16

Pledges and sureties have to do with lending. The word for surety means to braid, or intermix. It connotes being mixed in a transaction. We can think of it as cosigning a loan, where one person contractually obligates himself to pay the loan of another if he defaults on it. The law did not forbid suretyship, but wisdom warned against it, particularly in the case of becoming surety for a stranger (Proverbs 6:1; 11:15). The word for pledge means to wind tightly, or to bind. The word refers to collateral that is given to secure a loan. Pledges were not required, but were permissible by the law and heavily regulated when it concerned lending to the poor (Exodus 22:25-27; Deuteronomy 24:6-17). The point of the proverb is that a man who would become surety for a stranger or mingle with strange women is not to be trusted, or considered reliable. If you lend to such, take a security from him, or otherwise you expose yourself to great risk.

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Proverbs 17:18

A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.
– Proverbs 17:18

The word for surety means a security, or guaranty. The phrase striketh hands refers to entering into an obligation to pay the debt of another, hence putting up the security, or collateral. The phrase void of understanding could be put more homely as, without a brain. Solomon touched on this in one of his addresses in Proverbs 6:1-5. It is generally portrayed as foolish in Proverbs to become surety and usually comes with negative consequences (Proverbs 11:15).

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Proverbs 11:15

He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretyship is sure.
– Proverbs 11:15

Proverbs consistently warns against striking hands, or becoming a guarantor for another (Proverbs 6:1-5; 17:18). The general truism is that one who becomes surety will have trouble for it. The earlier counsel was to get out of it as soon as possible and here to hate it or avoid it. Keeping from it is way to be sure, or confident and free from trouble.

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Proverbs 6:3

Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
– Proverbs 6:3

Solomon employs the language of urgency and immediate action. If you have found yourself in this situation, get out of it as soon as possible. Deliver means to tear away and answers to the image of being ensnared in the previous verse. Humble has the thought of trample. It is a picture of lying down on the ground and being walked on. The point is to humble yourself to whatever extent necessary. To make sure means to urge and implies strenuously. Solomon does not advise trickery or deceit, but he does implore to lower yourself however far necessary and to pursue urgently the release from your hasty suretyship.

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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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