|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:8. Those who set their hearts upon money, will do any thing for it. What influence should the gifts of God have on our hearts! 9. The way to preserve peace is to make the best of every thing; not to notice what has been said or done against ourselves. 10. A gentle reproof will enter, not only into the head, but into the heart of a wise man. 11. Satan, and the messengers of Satan, shall be let loose upon an evil man. 12. Let us watch over our own passions, and avoid the company of furious men. 13. To render evil for good is devilish. He that does so, brings a curse upon his family. 14. What danger there is in the beginning of strife! Resist its earliest display; and leave it off, if it were possible, before you begin. 15. It is an offence to God to acquit the guilty, or to condemn those who are not guilty. 16. Man's neglect of God's favour and his own interest is very absurd. 17. No change of outward circumstances should abate our affection for our friends or relatives. But no friend, except Christ, deserves unlimited confidence. In Him this text did receive, and still receives its most glorious fulfilment. 18. Let not any wrong their families. Yet Christ's becoming Surety for men, was a glorious display of Divine wisdom; for he was able to discharge the bond.
Verse 18. - A man void of understanding (Hebrew, heart) striketh hands; clinches the bargain which makes him responsible (see on suretyship, Proverbs 6:1, etc.; and note, Proverbs 20:16). Becometh surety in the presence of his friend; to his friend for some third party. What is here censured is the weakness which, for the sake of perhaps worthless companions, lets itself be hampered and endangered by others' obligations. For, as our adage runs, he that is surety for another is never sure himself. The Septuagint takes the "striking of hands" to be a sign of joy (Vulgate, plaudet manibus), "The foolish man claps (ἐπικροτεῖ) and rejoices in himself, so also he who pledges himself for his friend."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A man void of understanding striketh hands,.... With his friend's creditor, and becomes surety for him; and thereby acts a very unwise part, and shows himself to want understanding, by taking such a step, which may prove the ruin of himself and family: for though a man may and should love his friend at all times; yet he is not obliged, under a notion of friendship, to injure himself and his family, or to run the risk of it; if he does, it is a plain case he wants wisdom and discretion, see Proverbs 6:1;
and becometh surety in the presence of his friend; not the creditor, but the debtor; and to pass his word for him, when he is present, shows that his own word will not be taken; and that he is either thought to be in bad circumstances, and incapable of payment at the proper time; or else that he is a bad man, of dishonest principles, and will not; and in either case it is not advisable to become surety for such a man: and besides, doing it in his presence may make him more careless and unconcerned about making good his payment or contract at the appointed time, when he knows his friend is engaged him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. (Compare Pr 6:1-5; 11:15).
in the presence, &c.—that is, he either fails to consult his friend, or to follow his advice.
Proverbs 17:18 Parallel Commentaries
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