Proverbs 6:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,

New Living Translation
My child, if you have put up security for a friend's debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger--

English Standard Version
My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger,

New American Standard Bible
My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, Have given a pledge for a stranger,

King James Bible
My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor or entered into an agreement with a stranger,

International Standard Version
My son, if you guarantee a loan for your neighbor, if you have agreed to a deal with a stranger,

NET Bible
My child, if you have made a pledge for your neighbor, and have become a guarantor for a stranger,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
My son, if you are security for your friend, you have yielded your hand to a stranger.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
My son, if you guarantee a loan for your neighbor or pledge yourself for a stranger with a handshake,

Jubilee Bible 2000
My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,

King James 2000 Bible
My son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have struck your hand with a stranger,

American King James Version
My son, if you be surety for your friend, if you have stricken your hand with a stranger,

American Standard Version
My son, if thou art become surety for thy neighbor, If thou hast stricken thy hands for a stranger;

Douay-Rheims Bible
My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, thou hast engaged fast thy hand to a stranger.

Darby Bible Translation
My son, if thou hast become surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand for a stranger,

English Revised Version
My son, if thou art become surety for thy neighbour, if thou hast stricken thy hands for a stranger,

Webster's Bible Translation
My son, if thou art surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,

World English Bible
My son, if you have become collateral for your neighbor, if you have struck your hands in pledge for a stranger;

Young's Literal Translation
My son! if thou hast been surety for thy friend, Hast stricken for a stranger thy hand,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

6:1-5 If we live as directed by the word of God, we shall find it profitable even in this present world. We are stewards of our worldly substance, and have to answer to the Lord for our disposal of it; to waste it in rash schemes, or such plans as may entangle us in difficulties and temptations, is wrong. A man ought never to be surety for more than he is able and willing to pay, and can afford to pay, without wronging his family; he ought to look upon every sum he is engaged for, as his own debt. If we must take all this care to get our debts to men forgiven, much more to obtain forgiveness with God. Humble thyself to him, make sure of Christ as thy Friend, to plead for thee; pray earnestly that thy sins may be pardoned, and that thou mayest be kept from going down to the pit.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 1-35. - The sixth chapter embraces four distinct discourses, each of which is a warning. The subjects treated of are

(1) suretyship (vers. 1-5);

(2) sloth (vers. 6-11);

(3) malice (vers. 12-19); and

(4) adultery (ver. 20 to the end).

The continuity of the subject treated of in the preceding chapter appears to be somewhat abruptly interrupted to make way for the insertion of three discourses on subjects which apparently have little connection with what precedes and what follows. Their unlooked for and unexpected appearance has led Hitzig to regard them as interpolations, but it has been conclusively pointed out by Delitzsch that there is sufficient internal evidence, in the grammatical construction, figures, word formations, delineations, and threatenings, to establish the position that they proceeded from the same hand that composed the rest of the book and to guarantee their genuineness. But another and not less interesting question arises as to whether any connection subsists between these discourses and the subject which they apparently interrupt. Such a connection is altogether denied by Delitzsch, Zockler, and other German commentators, who look upon them as independent discourses, and maintain that, if there is any connection, it can be only external and accidental. On the other hand, Bishops Patrick and Wordsworth discover an ethical connection which, though not clear at first sight, is not on that account less real or true. The subject treated of in the preceding chapter is the happiness of the married life, and this is imperilled by incautious undertaking of suretyship, and suretyship, it is maintained, induces sloth, while sloth leads to maliciousness After treating of suretyship, sloth, and malice in succession, the teacher recurs to the former subject of his discourse, viz. impurity of life, against which he gives impressive warnings. That such is the true view them appears little doubt. One vice is intimately connected with another, and the verdict of experience is that a life of idleness is one of the most prolific sources of a life of impurity. Hence we find Ovid saying -

"Quaeritur, AEgisthus, qua re sit factus adulter?
In promptu causa est - desidiosus erat."


"Do you ask why AEgisthus has become an adulterer?
The reason is close at hand - he was full of idleness."
Within the sphere of these discourses them. selves the internal connection is distinctly observable, vers. 16-19 being a refrain of vers. 12-15, and the phrase, "to stir up strife," closing each enumeration (see vers. 14 and 19). Verses 1-5. - 9. Ninth admonitory discourse. Warning against suretyship. Verse 1. - The contents of this section are not to be taken so much as an absolute unqualified prohibition of suretyship as counsel directed against the inconsiderate and rash undertaking of such an obligation. There were some occasions on which becoming surety for another was demanded by the laws of charity and prudence, and when it was not inconsistent with the humane precepts of the Mosaic Law as enunciated in Leviticus 19:19. In other passages of our book the writer of the Proverbs lays down maxims which would clearly countenance the practice (Proverbs 14:21; Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24; Proverbs 27:10), and in the apocryphal writings the practice is encouraged, if not enjoined (Ecclus. 29:14 Ecclus. 8:13). Notwithstanding this limitation, however, it is observable that suretyship is almost invariably spoken of in terms of condemnation, and the evil consequences which it entailed on the surety may be the reason why it is so frequently alluded to. The teacher refers to the subject in the following passages: here; Proverbs 11:15: 17:18; 22:26; 20:16; 27:13. My son. On this address, see Proverbs 2:1; Proverbs 3:1, 17. If thou be surety (Hebrew, im-aravta); literally, if thou hast become surety; LXX., ἐάν ἐγγύσῃ; Vulgate, si spoponderis. What the teacher counsels in the present instance is that, if by inadvertence a person has become surety, he should by the most strenuous endeavours prevail on his friend to free him from the bond. The Hebrew verb arav is properly "to mix," and then signifies "to become surety" in the sense of interchanging with another and so taking his place. The frequent mention of suretyship in the Proverbs is alluded to above. The first recorded instances are those where Judah offers to become surety for Benjamin, first to Israel (Genesis 43:9), and secondly to Joseph (Genesis 44:33). It is singular that it is only once alluded to in the Book of Job, where Job says, "Lay down now, put me in surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?" (Job 17:3); and once only, and that doubtfully, in the whole of the Mosaic writings, in the phrase tesummat yad, i.e. giving or striking the hand in the case of perjury (Leviticus 6:2). The psalmist refers to it in the words, "Be surety for thy servant for good" (Psalm 119:122). It is spoken of twice in Isaiah (Isaiah 38:14; Isaiah 36:8), once in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:27) and in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 5:3), and the cognate noun, arrabon, "the pledge," security for payment, is met with in Genesis 38:17 and 1 Samuel 17:18. These scattered notices in the Old Testament show that the practice was always in existence, while the more frequent notices in the Proverbs refer to a condition of society where extended commercial transactions had apparently made it a thing of daily occurrence, and a source of constant danger. In the New Testament one instance of suretyship is found, when St. Paul offers to become surety to Philemon for Onesimus (Philemon 1:19). But in the language of the New Testament, the purely commercial meaning of the word is transmuted into a spiritual one. The gift of the Spirit is regarded as the arrabon, ὀρραβὼν, "the pledge," the earnest of the Christian believer's acceptance with God (2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14). For thy friend; Hebrew, l'reeka. The Hebrew reeh, more usually rea, is "the companion or friend," and in this case obviously the debtor for whom one has become surety. The word reappears in ver. 3. The לְ (l) prefixed to reeh is the dativus commodi. So Delitzsch and others. If not in the original, but rightly inserted. Thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger (Hebrew, taka'ta lazzar kapeyka); properly, thou hast stricken thy hand for a stranger. The analogous use of l' (לְ) in lazzar determines this rendering. As in the corresponding l'reeyka, the לְ (l) indicates the person for whose benefit the suretyship is undertaken, i.e. the debtor, and not the person with whom the symbolical act is performed, i.e. the creditor. Compare the following passages, though the construction with לְ is wanting: "He that is surety for a stranger" (Proverbs 11:15); "Take his garment that is surety for a stranger" (Proverbs 20:16 and Proverbs 27:13). "The stranger," zar, is not an alien, or one belonging to another nationality, but simply one extraneous to one's self, and so equivalent to akher, "another." The meaning, therefore, seems to be, "If thou hast entered into a bond for one with whom thou art but slightly acquainted." Others (Wordsworth, Plumptre), however, take zar as representing the foreign money lender. The phrase, "to strike the hand," taka kaph, or simply "to strike," taka, describes the symbolical act which accompanied the contract. Taka is properly "to drive," like the Latin defigere, and hence "to strike," and indicates the sharp sound with which the hands were brought into contact. The act no doubt was accomplished before witnesses, and the hand which was stricken was that of the creditor, who thereby received assurance that the responsibility of the debtor was undertaken by the surety. The "striking of the hand" as indicating the completion of a contract is illustrated by the author of the 'Kamoos' (quoted by Lee, on Job 17:3), who says, "He struck or clapped to him a sale... he struck his hand in a sale, or on his hand... he struck his ow hand upon the hand of him, and this is among the necessary (transactions) of sale." So among Western nations the giving of the band has been always regarded as a pledge of bona fides. Thus Menelaus demands of Helena (Euripides, 'Hel.,' 838), Ἐπὶ τοῖσδε νῦν δεξιὰς ἐμῆς θίγε, "Touch my right hand now on these conditions," i.e. in attestation that you accept them. In purely verbal agreements it is the custom in the present day for the parties to clasp the hand. A further example may be found in the plighting of troth in the Marriage Service.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

My son, if thou be surety for thy friend,.... To another; hast engaged thyself by promise or bond, or both, to pay a debt for him, if he is not able, or if required; or hast laid thyself under obligation to any, to see the debt of another paid;

if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger; or "to" him (b); whom thou knowest not, and to whom thou owest nothing; and hast given him thine hand upon it, as well as thy word and bond, that what such an one owes him shall be paid; a gesture used in suretyship for the confirmation of it, Proverbs 17:18; or, "for a stranger" (c) And the sense is, either if thou art become bound for a friend of thine, and especially if for a stranger thou knowest little or nothing of, this is a piece of rashness and weakness; or, as Gersom, if thou art a surety to thy friend for a stranger, this also is a great inadvertency and oversight. It is a rash and inconsiderate entering into suretyship that is here cautioned against; doing it without inquiring into, and having sufficient knowledge of the person engaged for; and without considering whether able to answer the obligation, if required, without hurting a man's self and family; otherwise suretyship may lawfully be entered into, and good be done by it, and no hurt to the surety himself and family. Jarchi interprets it of the Israelites engaging themselves to the Lord at Sinai, to keep his commandments.

(b) "extraneo", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Baynus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Cocceius, Schultens. (c) "Pro alieno", Tigurine version; "pro alio peregrino", Michaelis.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

CHAPTER 6

Pr 6:1-35. After admonitions against suretyship and sloth (compare Pr 6:6-8), the character and fate of the wicked generally are set forth, and the writer (Pr 6:20-35) resumes the warnings against incontinence, pointing out its certain and terrible results. This train of thought seems to intimate the kindred of these vices.

1, 2. if—The condition extends through both verses.

be surety—art pledged.

stricken … hand—bargained (compare Job 17:3).

with a stranger—that is, for a friend (compare Pr 11:15; 17:18).

Proverbs 6:1 Additional Commentaries
Context
Warnings against Foolishness
1My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, Have given a pledge for a stranger, 2If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, Have been caught with the words of your mouth,…
Cross References
Proverbs 6:2
you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth.

Proverbs 11:15
Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.

Proverbs 17:18
One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge and puts up security for a neighbor.

Proverbs 20:16
Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.

Proverbs 22:26
Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts;

Proverbs 27:13
Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.

Isaiah 2:6
You, LORD, have abandoned your people, the descendants of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and embrace pagan customs.
Treasury of Scripture

My son, if you be surety for your friend, if you have stricken your hand with a stranger,

if thou hast stricken: to strike or join hands was an ancient
form of entering into contracts in all counties and all ages.

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