Proverbs 11:15
He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) He that is surety for a stranger.—Rather, for another, as Proverbs 6:1.

Is sure.—Rather, is in quiet, undisturbed by the anxieties described in Proverbs 6:3-5.

Proverbs 11:15. He that is surety for a stranger, &c. — “He is in great danger to be undone, who stands bound to pay the debts of another man, especially of a stranger, whose ability and honesty are unknown to him; and the way to be secure from it, is not only to avoid such engagements one’s self, but to dislike to see other men enter into them.” — Bishop Patrick.

11:1 However men may make light of giving short weight or measure, and however common such crimes may be, they are an abomination to the Lord. 2. Considering how safe, and quiet, and easy the humble are, we see that with the lowly is wisdom. 3. An honest man's principles are fixed, therefore his way is plain. 4. Riches will stand men in no stead in the day of death. 5,6. The ways of wickedness are dangerous. And sin will be its own punishment. 7. When a godly man dies, all his fears vanish; but when a wicked man dies, his hopes vanish. 8. The righteous are often wonderfully kept from going into dangerous situations, and the ungodly go in their stead. 9. Hypocrites delude men into error and sin by artful objections against the truths of God's word. 10,11. Nations prosper when wicked men are cast down. 12. A man of understanding does not judge of others by their success. 13. A faithful man will not disclose what he is trusted with, unless the honour of God and the real good of society require it. 14. We shall often find it to our advantage to advise with others. 15. The welfare of our families, our own peace, and our ability to pay just debts, must not be brought into danger. But here especially let us consider the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in becoming Surety even for enemies. 16. A pious and discreet woman will keep esteem and respect, as strong men keep possession of wealth. 17. A cruel, froward, ill-natured man, is vexatious to those that are, and should be to him as his own flesh, and punishes himself. 18. He that makes it his business to do good, shall have a reward, as sure to him as eternal truth can make it. 19. True holiness is true happiness. The more violent a man is in sinful pursuits, the more he hastens his own destruction. 20. Nothing is more hateful to God, than hypocrisy and double dealing, which are here signified. God delights in such as aim and act with uprightness. 21. Joining together in sin shall not protect the sinners. 22. Beauty is abused by those who have not discretion or modesty with it. This is true of all bodily endowments. 23. The wicked desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves. 24. A man may grow poor by not paying just debts, not relieving the poor, not allowing needful expenses. Let men be ever so saving of what they have, if God appoints, it comes to nothing. 25. Both in temporal and spiritual things, God commonly deals with his people according to the measure by which they deal with their brethren. 26. We must not hoard up the gifts of God's bounty, merely for our own advantage. 27. Seeking mischief is here set against seeking good; for those that are not doing good are doing hurt, even to themselves.See the marginal reference. The play upon "sure" and "suretiship" in the the King James Version (though each word is rightly rendered) has nothing corresponding to it in the Hebrew, and seems to have originated in a desire to give point to the proverb. 15. (Compare Pr 6:1).

suretiship—(Compare Margin), the actors put for the action, which may be lawfully hated.

A stranger; whose condition he doth not thoroughly understand, and therefore knows not his own danger.

Suretiship; of which See Poole "Proverbs 6:1".

He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it,.... Or in "breaking shall be broken" (q), ruined and undone; he engaging or becoming a bondsman for one whose circumstances he knew not; and these being bad bring a load upon him, such an heavy debt as crushes him to pieces. Mr. Henry observes that our Lord Jesus Christ became a surety for us when we were strangers, and he smarted for it, he was bruised and wounded for our sins; but then he knew our circumstances, and what the consequence would be, and became a surety on purpose to pay the whole debt and set us free; which he was capable of doing: without being broken or becoming a bankrupt himself; for he was not broken, nor did he fail, Isaiah 42:4. Jarchi's note is,

"the wicked shall be broken, to whose heart idolatry is sweet;''

and he that hateth suretyship is sure; or those "that strike" (r), that is, with the hand, used in suretyship; see Proverbs 6:1; such an one is safe from coming into trouble by such means. The Targum is,

"and hates those that place their hope in God.''

(q) "frangendo frangetur", Michaelis; so Pagninus and others. (r) "complodentes", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "defigentes", Mercerus.

He that is surety for a {h} stranger shall smart for it: and he {i} that hateth suretiship is secure.

(h) He who does not without judgment and consideration of the circumstances put himself in danger, as in Pr 6:1.

(i) He who does not co-sign loans for others is very wise.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. smart for it] Both A.V. and R.V. add in the marg. “Heb. shall be sore broken.”

suretiship] Three entirely different Heb. words in this verse are rendered “surety,” “suretiship,” “sure.” The first denotes exchanging with another, taking his place, becoming bail for him; the second, striking hands (“Heb. those that strike hands,” A.V. and R.V. marg.), as a token of the suretiship; the third, safe, secure.

See on this verse Proverbs 6:1 note.

Verse 15. - He that is surety for a stranger; or, for another (see Proverbs 6:1). Shall smart for it. "Evil shall fall on him evilly who is surety." He that hateth suretyship; guaranteed, as the word implies, by the striking of hands in public (Proverbs 17:18). Vulgate, "who is cautious of snares," especially of the insidious dangers that lurk in suretyship. Is sure; is at rest and has nothing to fear. There is no paronomasia in the Hebrew. The play on "suretyship" and "sure" in the Authorized Version is either accidental or was introduced with the idea of giving point to the sentence. The Septuagint translates differently, "A wicked man doeth evil when he mixes with the righteous; he hateth the sound of safety (η΅χον ἀσφαλείας)." This perhaps means that the fraudulent creditor deceives the good man who has stood security for him; and henceforward the good man cannot bear to hear immunity and safety spoken of (see note on Proverbs 20:16). Proverbs 11:15There follow now two proverbs regarding kindness which brings injury and which brings honour:

It fares ill, nothing but ill, with one who is surety for another;

But he who hateth suretyship remaineth in quietness.

More closely to the original: It goes ill with him; for the proverb is composed as if the writer had before his eyes a definite person, whom one assails when he for whom he became security has not kept within the limits of the performance that was due. Regarding ערב with the accus. of the person: to represent one as a surety for him, and זר as denoting the other (the stranger), vid., at Proverbs 6:1. The meaning of רע ירוע is seen from Proverbs 20:16. ירוע is, like Proverbs 13:20, the fut. Niph. of רעע, or of רוּע equals רעע, after the forms ימּול, יעור (Olsh. 265e). The added רעע has, like עריה, Habakkuk 3:9, the same function as the inf. absol. (intensivus); but as the infin. form רע could only be inf. constru. after the form שׁך, Jeremiah 5:26, the infinitive absol. must be רוע: Thus רע is an accus., or what is the same, an adverbial adj.: he is badly treated (maltreated) in a bad way, for one holds him to his words and, when he cannot or will not accomplish that which is due in the room of him for whom he is bail, arrests him. He, on the contrary, who hates תוקעים has good rest. The persons of such as become surety by striking the hands cannot be meant, but perhaps people thus becoming surety by a hand-stroke - such sureties, and thus such suretyship, he cannot suffer; תוקעים approaches an abstract "striking hands," instead of "those who strike hands" in connection with this שׂנא, expressing only a strong impossibility, as חבלים, Zechariah 2:7, 14, means uniting together in the sense of combination.

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