Proverbs 6:2
Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
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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.Or, "If thou art snared ... if thou art taken," etc. 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).

Thy freedom is lost, and thou art now in bondage to another.

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth,.... Got into a snare out of which an escape is not easy; art no longer free, and thine own man, but under obligation to pay the debt if required; by the verbal agreement made and confirmed by striking hands, and this before witnesses;

thou art taken with the words of thy mouth; as in a net, and held fast therein and thereby, and cannot get loose without paying the debt, if the debtor does not, or without the leave of the creditor.

Thou art {a} snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

(a) He forbids us not to become surety one for another, according to the rule of charity, but that we consider for whom and after what sort, so that the creditor may not be defrauded.

Verse 2. - Thou art snared with the words of thy month, etc.; i.e. the inevitable consequence of an inconsiderate undertaking of suretyship is that you become entangled and involved by your own premises, and hampered by self-imposed obligations. The Authorized Version rightly regards this as the conclusion. So the Vulgate. Others, however, carry on the hypothesis, and insert im, "if:" "If thou art snared," etc.; but without warrant (Zockler, Wordsworth, Plumptre). The LXX. throws the thought into the form of a proverb, as "a strong net to a man are his own words." A distinction is to be drawn between the verbs rendered "entangled" and "taken;" the former, yakosh, signifying to be taken unwarily, off one's guard; the latter, lakad, referring, as before observed (cf. Proverbs 5:22), to the being stricken with the net. They are found in the same collocation in Isaiah 8:15, "Many among them shall be snared and taken." The repetition of the phrase, "with the words of thy mouth," is not unintentional or purely rhetorical. It is made, as Delitzsch observes, to bring with greater force to the mind that the entanglements in which the surety is involved are the result of his own indiscretion. Proverbs 6:2The author warns against suretyship; or rather, he advises that if one has made himself surety, he should as quickly as possible withdraw from the snare.

1 My son, if thou hast become surety for thy neighbour,

   Hast given thy hand for another:

2 Thou art entangled in the words of thy mouth,

   Ensnared in the words of thy mouth.

3 Do this then, my son, and free thyself -

   For thou hast come under the power of thy neighbour -

   Go, instantly entreat and importune thy neighbour.

4 Give no sleep to thine eyes,

   And no slumber to thine eyelids;

5 Tear thyself free like a gazelle from his hand,

   And as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

The chief question here is, whether ל after ערב introduces him for whom or with whom one becomes surety. Elsewhere ערב (R. רב, whence also ארב, nectere, to twist close and compact) with the accusative of the person means to become surety for any one, to represent him as a surety, Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 20:16 (Proverbs 27:13), Genesis 43:9; Genesis 44:33 (as with the accusative of the matter, to pledge anything, to deposit it as a pledge, Jeremiah 30:21; Nehemiah 5:3, equals שׂים, Arab. waḍ'a, Job 17:3); and to become surety with any one is expressed, Genesis 17:18, by ערב לפני. The phrase ערב ל is not elsewhere met with, and is thus questionable. If we look to Proverbs 6:3, the רע (רעה) mentioned there cannot possibly be the creditor with whom one has become surety, for so impetuous and urgent an application to him would be both purposeless and unbecoming. But if he is meant for whom one has become surety, then certainly לרעך is also to be understood of the same person, and ל is thus dat. commodi; similar to this is the Targumic ערבוּתא על, suretyship for any one, Proverbs 17:18; Proverbs 22:26. But is the זר, 1b, distinguished from רעך, the stranger with whom one has become surety? The parallels Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 20:16, where זר denotes the person whom one represents, show that in both lines one and the same person is meant; זר is in the Proverbs equivalent to אחר, each different from the person in the discourse, Proverbs 5:17; Proverbs 27:2 - thus, like רעך, denotes not the friend, but generally him to whom one stands in any kind of relation, even a very external one, in a word, the fellow-creatures or neighbours, Proverbs 24:28 (cf. the Arab. sahbk and ḳarynk, which are used as vaguely and superficially). It is further a question, whether we have to explain 1b: if thou hast given thine hand to another, or for another. Here also we are without evidence from the usage of the language; for the phrase תּקע כּף, or merely תּקע, appears to be used of striking the hand in suretyship where it elsewhere occurs without any further addition, Proverbs 17:18; Proverbs 22:26; Proverbs 11:15; however, Job 17:3, נתקע ליד appears the same: to strike into the hand of any one, i.e., to give to him the hand-stroke. From this passage Hitzig concludes that the surety gave the hand-stroke, without doubt in the presence of witnesses, first of all of the creditor, to the debtor, as a sign that he stood for him. But this idea is unnatural, and the "without doubt" melts into air. He on whose hand the stroke falls is always the person to whom one gives suretyship, and confirms it by the hand-stroke. Job also, l.c., means to say: who else but Thou, O Lord, could give to me a pledge, viz., of my innocence? If now the זר, v. 1b, is, as we have shown, not the creditor,

(Note: A translation by R. Joseph Joel of Fulda, 1787, whose autograph MS Baer possesses, renders the passage not badly thus: - "My son, if thou hast become surety for thy friend, and hast given the hand to another, then thou art bound by thy word, held by thy promise. Yet do what I say to thee, my son: Be at pains as soon as thou canst to get free, otherwise thou art in the power of thy friend; shun no trouble, be urgent with thy friend.")


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