Proverbs 20:16
Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Take his garment that is surety for a stranger.—Another warning against suretiship. (See above on Proverbs 6:1.) If a man is rash enough to become surety for another, he must suffer for his imprudence, and learn wisdom by feeling the effects of his folly.

And take a pledge of him for a strange woman.—Rather, take him as a pledge (seize upon his person who has become surety) for a strange woman, (according to the margin) or, for strangers (as the text reads).

Proverbs 20:16. Take his garment, &c. — Namely, as a pledge, without which he ought not to be trusted, because, by the action referred to, he shows himself to be foolish, and takes the ready way to make himself a beggar; that is surety for a stranger — A person unknown to him; and a pledge of him who is surety for a strange woman — For a harlot, so called chap. 2:16, and elsewhere. “It is rank folly,” says Bishop Patrick, in his interpretation of this verse, “to trust him, who is so rash as to be bound for one, whose ability and fidelity are utterly unknown to him; especially for a woman, whose loose way of life makes her credit justly suspected: therefore, have nothing to do with such an inconsiderate person, without the utmost security that he can give thee, for the payment of what he owes thee.”20:7. A good man is not liable to uneasiness in contriving what he shall do, or in reflecting on what he has done, as those who walk in deceit. And his family fare better for his sake. 8. If great men are good men, they may do much good, and prevent very much evil. 9. Some can say, Through grace, we are cleaner than we have been; but it was the work of the Holy Spirit. 10. See the various deceits men use, of which the love of money is the root. The Lord will not bless what is thus gotten. 11. Parents should observe their children, that they may manage them accordingly. 12. All our powers and faculties are from God, and are to be employed for him. 13. Those that indulge themselves, may expect to want necessaries, which should have been gotten by honest labour. 14. Men use arts to get a good bargain, and to buy cheap; whereas a man ought to be ashamed of a fraud and a lie. 15. He that prefers true knowledge to riches, follows the ways of religion and happiness. If we really believed this truth, the word of God would be valued as it deserves, and the world would lose its tempting influence. 16. Those ruin themselves who entangle themselves in rash suretiship. Also those who are in league with abandoned women. Place no confidence in either. 17. Wealth gotten by fraud may be sweet, for the carnal mind takes pleasure in the success of wicked devices; but it will be bitter in the reflection. 18. Especially we need advice in spiritual warfare. The word and Spirit of God are the best counsellors in every point. 19. Those dearly buy their own praise, who put confidence in a man because he speaks fairly. 20. An undutiful child will become very miserable. Never let him expect any peace or comfort. 21. An estate suddenly raised, is often as suddenly ruined. 22. Wait on the Lord, attend his pleasure, and he will protect thee.The warning against suretiship and lust are here repeated and combined (compare Proverbs 27:13). The judge tells the creditor to seize the goods of the surety who has been weak enough to pledge himself for those who are alien to him, instead of those of the actual debtor. The reading of the the King James Version recalls in the second clause the history of Tamar Genesis 38:17-18. The Hebrew text, however, gives "strangers" in the masculine plural, and is probably right, the feminine being the reading of the margin, probably adopted from Proverbs 27:13. 16. Take his garment—implies severe exaction, justified by the surety's rashness.

a strange woman—by some readings "strangers," but the former here, and in Pr 27:13, is allowable, and strengthens the sense. The debauchee is less reliable than the merely careless.

Take his garment, to wit, as a pledge, without which he ought not to be trusted, because by this action he showeth himself to be a fool, and he taketh the ready way to beggary.

Object. This precept contradicts that law which forbade the taking of a garment for a pledge, Exodus 22:26.

Answ. It doth not contradict it, for the cases vastly differ; for that law concerned only the poor, who were forced to borrow for their own necessity, and therefore deserve pity; whereas this teacheth only those who are or would be thought rich and sufficient security for others, and who borrow not for their own need, but for a mere stranger, for which folly they deserve to be severely punished. Besides, this may be only a prediction, though it be delivered in the form of a precept, as many predictions are; and so shows what may be expected by him that is guilty of such folly, even that he shall be stripped of his garments and other necessaries. For a stranger; for a foreigner, or a person unknown to him. Take a pledge of him that is surety; which words are to be understood out of the foregoing clause. For a strange woman; for a harlot, who is so called, Proverbs 2:16, and elsewhere. Take his garment that is surety for a stranger,.... Which a man is cautioned against, Proverbs 6:1; but if a man will be so weak and foolish, others ought to take care of him, and be cautious how they trust him; for he is in danger of being ruined by his suretyship, and therefore nothing should be lent him without a pledge, without a proper security; for though it was not lawful to take the garment of a poor man for a pledge, at least it was not to be kept after sunset, Exodus 22:26; yet it was right to take such a man's garment who had or would be thought to have such an abundance as to be surety for a stranger. Some think these words are to be taken as a prophecy of what would be the case of such a man that is a surety for a stranger; in the issue he will be stripped of all he has, and have not a coat to put on. It has been applied to our Lord Jesus Christ, who became a surety for such who were foreigners and strangers, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; and who had the garment of his human nature taken from him and which was a pledge and ransom for the sins of his people;

and take a pledge of him for a strange woman; a harlot; such as have to do with lewd women are not to be trusted; for they are in a fair way for ruin, and therefore should not be intrusted with anything without a pledge; all in connection with such creatures lose their credit; it is dangerous having any concern with them in trade for they are liable to be brought to a piece of bread; and therefore persons should be cautious how they trade with them, and should observe to secure themselves.

Take his {f} garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

(f) Teach him wit, that he cast not himself rashly into danger.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. Take his garment] The Law of Moses recognised and regulated distraint on clothing as security for the repayment of a loan or debt (Exodus 22:26-27; Deuteronomy 24:10-13. Comp. Matthew 5:40). The proverb represents vividly the certainty that the surety will smart for his folly. Treat him at once, it says to the creditor, as though he were the actual debtor; for there is no escape for him. Hold him in pledge (R.V.), as the parallel clause of the verse puts it, for his assuredly, and not the stranger’s, is the liability he has so foolishly incurred.

a strange woman] The Heb. text is strangers; though there is another reading, a strange woman, as in Proverbs 27:13, where the proverb recurs. The addition, that is surety, R.V., is not necessary to the sense. We may render, with Maurer, Hold him in pledge for (in place of) the strangers (for whom he has made himself liable).Verse 16. - Take his garment that is surety for a stranger. The maxim is repeated in Proverbs 27:13; and warnings against suretyship are found in Proverbs 6:1, etc.; Proverbs 11:15; 17:18; 22:26, etc. The second portion of the clause is translated also, "For he is surety for another." If a man is so weak and foolish as to become security for any one, and is unable to make good his engaged payment, let him lose his garment which the creditor would seize; his imprudence must bring its own punishment. And take a pledge of him for a strange woman. The Authorized Version probably adopts this rendering in conformity with Proverbs 27:13, where it occurs in the text, as here in the margin (the Keri). But the Khetib has, "for strangers," which seems to be the original reading; and the first words ought to be translated, "hold him in pledge;" i.e. seize his person for the sake of the strangers for whom he has stood security, so as not to suffer loss from them. The Law endeavoured to secure lending to needy brethren without interest (see Psalm 15:5; Ezekiel 18:8, 13, etc.; Ezekiel 22:12): but it allowed the creditor to secure himself by taking pledges of his debtor, while it regulated this system so as to obviate most of its severity and oppressiveness (see the restrictions in Exodus 22:26, etc.; Deuteronomy 24:6, 12, etc.). "Where the debtor possessed nothing which he could pledge, he gave the personal security of a friend. This was a very formal proceeding. The surety gave his hand both to the debtor and to the creditor before an assembly legally convened, he deposited a pledge, and, in accordance with this twofold promise, was regarded by the creditor in just the same light as the debtor himself, and treated accordingly. If the debtor, or in his place the surety, was unable to pay the debt when it fell due, he was entirely at the mercy of the creditor. The authorities troubled themselves but little about these relations, and the law, so far as it is preserved to us, gave no directions in the matter. We see, however, from many allusions and narratives, what harsh forms these relations actually took, especially in later times, when the ancient national brotherly love which the Law presupposed was more and more dying out. The creditor could not only forcibly appropriate all the movable, but also the fixed property, including the hereditary estate (this at least till its redemption in the year of jubilee), nay, he could even (if he could find nothing else of value) carry off as a prisoner the body of his debtor, or of his wife and child, to employ them in his service, though this could only he done for a definite period" (Ewald, 'Antiquities,' p. 184, etc., transl.). This proverb passes sentence of condemnation against gross sins in action and life.

Diverse stones, diverse measures -

An abomination to Jahve are they both.

The stones are, as at Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11, those used as weights. Stone and stone, ephah and ephah, means that they are of diverse kinds, one large and one small (the lxx, in which the sequence of the proverbs from PRomans 20:10 is different, has μέγα καὶ μικρόν), so that one may be able deceitfully to substitute the one for the other. איפה (from אפה, to bake) may originally have been used to designate such a quantity of meal as supplied a family of moderate wants; it corresponds to the bath (Ezekiel 45:11) as a measure for fluids, and stands here synecdochically instead of all the measures, including, e.g., the cor, of which the ephah was a tenth part, and the seah, which was a third part of it. 10b equals Proverbs 17:5, an echo of Leviticus 19:36; Deuteronomy 25:13-16. Just and equal measure is the demand of a holy God; the contrary is to Him an abhorrence.

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