Proverbs 17:18
A man void of understanding strikes hands, and becomes surety in the presence of his friend.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) In the presence of his friend.—Or, With his neighbour. (For the same warning, comp. Proverbs 6:1, sqq.)

Proverbs 17:18. A man, &c., striketh hands — In token of his becoming surety; of which phrase, and the thing intended by it, see notes on Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 11:15. This proverb is fitly placed after that in Proverbs 17:17, to intimate that although the laws of friendship oblige us to love and help our friends in trouble as far as we are able, yet they do not oblige us to become surety for them rashly, and above what we are able to pay, for by that means we should make ourselves unable to do good, either to them, or to others, or to ourselves.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.Compare the marginal reference. Since nothing is nobler than the self-sacrifice of the true friend Proverbs 17:17, so nothing is more contemptible than the weakness which allows itself to be sacrificed for the sake of worthless associates.

In the presence of his friend - i. e., "On behalf of" or "to his friend for some third person."

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.

Striketh hands, in token of his becoming surety; of which phrase, and of the thing itself, see on Proverbs 6:1 11:15. His friend: the friend here is either,

1. Before and to the creditor. Or rather,

2. Before, and with, and for the debtor, for whom, as being his friend, he becomes surety, as the manner of friends is. See on Proverbs 6:3. And this proverb is fitly placed after that, Proverbs 17:17, to intimate, that although the laws of friendship oblige us to love and help our friends in trouble as far as we are able, yet they do not oblige us to become surety for them rashly, and above what we are able to pay, for by that means we make ourselves unable to do good either to them, or to others, or to ourselves. 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.

A man void of understanding {i} striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

(i) Read Pr 6:1.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. understanding] Lit. heart, as in Proverbs 17:16.

surety] See Proverbs 6:1 note.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." 12 Meet a bear robbed of one of her whelps,

     Only not a fool in his folly.

The name of the bear, as that of the cow, Job 21:10; Psalm 144:14, preserves its masculine form, even when used in reference to sexual relationship (Ewald, 174b); the ursa catulis orbata is proverbially a raging beast. How the abstract expression of the action פּגושׁ [to meet], here as e.g., Psalm 17:5, with the subj. following, must sound as finite (occurrat, may always meet), follows from ואל equals ואל־יפגּשׁ (non autem occurrat). פּגושׁ has on the last syllable Mehuppach, and Zinnorith on the preceding open syllable (according to the rule, Accentssystem, vi. 5d).

(Note: In the Torath Emeth, p. 18, the word is irregularly represented as Milel - a closed syllable with Cholem can suffer no retrogression of the tone.)

שׁכּוּל, in the state of his folly, i.e., when he is in a paroxysm of his anger, corresponds with the conditional noun-adjective שׁכּוּל, for folly morbidly heightened is madness (cf. Hosea 11:7; Psychol. p. 291f.).

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