Proverbs 6:3
Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
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(3) When thou art come . . .—Rather, for thou hast come under the power of thy friend; thou hast made thy freedom and property dependent on him for whom thou hast become surety.

Humble thyself.—Literally, let thyself be trampled on, humbly sue.

Make sure.—Rather, assail impetuously, importune.

Proverbs 6:3-5. Do this now, my son — Immediately follow the counsel which I now give thee, and deliver thyself — Use thy utmost endeavours to be discharged; when, or since, thou art come into the hand — That is, into the power; of thy friend — Of the debtor, for whom, as being thy friend, thou didst become surety, whereby thou art in his power, by his neglect or unfaithfulness, to expose thee to the payment of the debt. Go, humble thyself — Hebrew, התרפס, throw thyself down at his feet, or offer thyself to be trodden upon. As thou hast put thyself in his power, and made thyself his servant, bear the fruits of thy own folly, and humbly and earnestly implore him as readily to grant thy request as thou wast forward to comply with his, and forthwith to satisfy the debt, or give thee security against the creditor. Make sure of thy friend — Cease not to urge and importune him by thyself, and by thy friends, till thou hast prevailed with him. The Seventy translate this verse,” Do, my son, the things which I command thee, and deliver thyself: for thou art come into the hands of evil men upon thy friend’s account: go, therefore, be not careless or remiss, but earnest and importunate with thy friend to get thyself discharged.” Give not sleep to thine eyes, &c. — Namely, until thou hast taken care for the discharge of this obligation. Be not secure, nor negligent, nor dilatory in this matter. Deliver thyself as a roe, &c. — With all possible expedition, as a roe runs swiftly away.

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.Better, "Do this now, O my son, and free thyself when thou hast come into thy friend's house; go, how thyself down (perhaps "stamp with thy foot," or "hasten"), press hotly upon thy friend. By persuasion, and if need be, by threats, get back the bond which thou hast been entrapped into signing:" The "friend" is, as before, the companion, not the creditor. 3. come … friend—in his power.

humble … sure thy friend—urge as a suppliant; that is, induce the friend to provide otherwise for his debt, or secure the surety.

Into the hand; into the power.

Of thy friend; either,

1. Of the creditor, who possibly may be also thy friend; yet take the following course with him, and much more if he be a stranger. Or,

2. Of the debtor, for whom, as being thy friend, thou didst become surety; whereby thou art not only in the creditor’s power to exact payment, but also in the debtor’s power, by his neglect or unfaithfulness, to expose thee to the payment of the debt. And this may seem best to agree both with Proverbs 6:1, where friend is taken in that sense, and is distinguished from the creditor, who is called a stranger, and with the words here following; for this humbling of himself was not likely to have much power with a stranger and a griping usurer; but it might probably prevail with his friend, either to take effectual care to pay the debt, or at least to discharge him from the obligation, or to secure him against it some other way.

Humble thyself, Heb. offer thyself to be trodden upon, or throw thyself down at his feet. As thou hast made thyself his servant, bear the fruits of thine own folly, and humbly and earnestly implore his patience and clemency.

And make sure thy friend; or, and prevail with thy friend; strive to win him by thine incessant and earnest solicitations. Or, honour or magnify thy friend, which is fitly and properly opposed to, and indeed is in some good measure done by, the humbling a man’s self before him.

Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself,.... Take the following advice, as the best that can be given in such circumstances, in order to be freed from such an obligation, or to be safe and easy under it;

when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; or,

"because or seeing thou art fallen into the hand of thy friend,''

as the Targum; or

"though thou art,'' &c.

as Aben Ezra; which may be understood either of the creditor to whom a man is bound, or of the debtor for whom he is bound, or of both; for a surety is in the hands or power of both: he is in the hands of the creditor, who may demand payment of the debt of him; and he is in the hands of the debtor, who, if a careless or crafty and deceitful man, may leave him to the payment of it. The Septuagint and Arabic versions are,

"for thou art come into the hands of evil men for thy friend;''

and the Syriac version,

"seeing for thy friend thou art fallen into the hands of thine enemy;''

and therefore must make the best of it thou canst, and in the following way:

go, humble thyself; that is, to the creditor, prostrate thyself before him; lie down upon the ground to be trodden on, as the word (d) signifies; fall down on thine knees, and entreat him to discharge thee from the bond, or give longer time for payment, if up; for thou art in his hands, and there is no carrying it with a high hand or a haughty spirit to him; humility, and not haughtiness, is most likely to be serviceable in such a case;

and make sure thy friend; for whom thou art become a surety, as the Syriac and Arabic versions add; solicit him, as the former of these versions render it; stimulate him, as the Septuagint; stir him up, urge him to pay off the debt quickly, and discharge the bond, or give thee security and indemnity from it. Or, "magnify thy friend" (e); that is, to the creditor; speak of him as a very able and responsible man, and as an honest and faithful one, that will pay in due time. Some render it "magnify", and speak well of the debtor to thy friend, which may please and appease him: or, "multiply thy friends" (f); get as many as thou canst to intercede for thee, and get thee discharged from the obligation by some means or another; to this purpose Jarchi.

(d) "praebe conculcandum te", Montanus, Vatablus, Michaelis. (e) "evehe proximum tuum", Tigurine version; "magnifica", so some in Vatablus. (f) "Multiplica amicos tuos", so some in Bayne.

Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
3. when] Rather, for, or, seeing that, R.V.

humble thyself] Lit. offer thyself to be trampled upon; prostrate thyself. Others render, stir thyself, R.V. marg.; ἴσθι μὴ ἐκλυόμενος, LXX., festina, Vulg.

make sure] Rather, be urgent upon, importune, R.V.; παρόξυνε, LXX.; suscita, Vulg.

Verse 3. - In this verse advice is tendered as to what is to be done under the circumstances of this entanglement. The surety is to take immediate steps to be set free. The urgency of the advice is to be explained by the serious consequences which would follow in the event of the debtor not satisfying the creditor in due time. The surety became liable to the penalties inflicted by the Hebrew law of debt. His property could be distrained. His bed and his garment could be taken from him (Proverbs 22:27 and Proverbs 20:16), and he was liable as well as his family to be reduced to the condition of servitude. So we find the son of Sirach saying, "Suretyship hath undone many of good estate, and shaken them as a wave of the sea: mighty men hath it driven from their houses, so that they wandered among strange nations" (Ecclus. 29:18; cf. 2 Kings 4:1; Nehemiah 5:3-5; and Matthew 18:25). Compare the dictum of Thales, the Greek philosopher, Ἐγγύα πάρα δ ἄτα, "Give surety, and ruin is near;" and that of Chilo (Pliny, 'Nat. Hist.,' 6:32), "Sponsioni non deest jactura" - "Loss is not wanting to a surety." The same idea is conveyed in the modern German proverb, "Burgen soll man wurgen" - "Worry a surety" Do this now; or, therefore. The particle epho is intensive, and emphasizes the command, and in this sense is of frequent occurrence (Job 17:15; Genesis 27:32; Genesis 43:11; 2 Kings 10:10, etc.). It appears to be equivalent to the Latin quod dico. So the Vulgate, "Do therefore what I say;" similarly the LXX. renders, "Do, my son, what I bid thee (α{ ἐγὼ σοι ἐντέλλομαι)." It carries with it the sense of instant and prompt action. And deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; i.e. set thyself free when thou findest thou art actually at the mercy of thy friend for whom thou hast become surety. The ki (כִּי) is not hypothetical, but actual; it is not "if" you are, but "when" or because you actually are in his power. The Vulgate and LXX. render כִּי respectively by quia and γὰρ. Go, humble thyself; i.e. present thyself as a suppliant, prostrate thyself, offer thyself to be trodden upon (Michaelis), or humble thyself like to the threshold which is trampled and trode upon (Rashi). or humble thyself under the soles of his feet (Aben Ezra). The expression implies the spirit of entire submission, in which the surety is to approach his friend in order to be released from his responsibility. The Hebrew verb hith'rappes has, however, been rendered differently. Radically raphas signifies "to tread or trample with the feet," and this has been taken to express haste, or the bestirring of one's self. So the Vulgate reads festina, "hasten;" and the LXX. ἴσθι μὴ ἐκλυόμενος, i.e. "be not remiss." But the hithp, clearly determines in favour of the reflexive rendering; comp. Psalm 68:30, "Till every one submit himself with pieces of silver" - the only other passage where raphas occurs. And make sure thy friend (Hebrew, r'hav reeyka); rather, importune thy friend, be urgent with him, press upon him to fulfil his engagement. The verb rahav is properly "to be fierce," "to rage," and hence with the accusative, as here, "to assail with impetuosity." In Isaiah 3:5 it is used with בְּ (b), and signifies to act fiercely against any one. The meaning of the passage is that if abject submission or persuasion does not avail, then sterner measures are to be resorted to to gain the desired end. Proverbs 6:3The new commencement needs no particle denoting a conclusion; the אפוא, making the summons emphatic (cf. 2 Kings 10:10, frequently in interrogative clauses), connects it closely enough. זאת, neut., refers to what follows. The ו before הנּצל is explanatory, as we say in familiar language: Be so good as tell me, or do me the favour to come with me; while no Frenchman would say, Faites-moi le (ce) plaisir et venez avec moi (Fl.).

(Note: For the right succession of the accents here (three serviles before the Pazer), vid., Torath Emeth, p. 30; Accentuationssystem, xii. 4. According to Gen-Naphtali, Mercha is to be given to the זאת.)

The clause כּי באת

(Note: The Zinnorith before the Mahpach in these words represents at the same time the Makkeph and rejects the Zinnorith; vid., Torath Emeth, p. 16, and my Psalmencomm. Bd. ii.((1860), p. 460, note 2.)

is not to be translated: in case thou art fallen into the hand of thy neighbour; for this is represented (Proverbs 6:1, Proverbs 6:2) as having already in fact happened. On two sides the surety is no longer sui juris: the creditor has him in his hand; for if the debtor does not pay, he holds the surety, and in this way many an honourable man has lost house and goods, Sirach 29:18, cf. 8:13; - and the debtor has him, the surety, in his hand; for the performance which is due, for which the suretyship avails, depends on his conscientiousness. The latter is here meant: thou hast made thy freedom and thy possessions dependent on the will of thy neighbour for whom thou art the surety. The clause introduced with כּי gives the reason for the call to set himself free (הנּצל from נצל, R. צל, של, to draw out or off); it is a parenthetical sentence. The meaning of התרפּס is certain. The verb רפס (רפשׂ, רפס) signifies to stamp on, calcare, conclucare; the Kams

(Note: el-Feyroozbdee's Kmus, a native Arabic Lexicon; vid., Lane's Arab. Lex. Bk. i. pt. 1, p. xvii.)

explains rafas by rakad balarjal. The Hithpa. might, it is true, mean to conduct oneself in a trampling manner, to tread roughly, as התנבּא, and the medial Niph. נבּא, to conduct oneself speaking (in an impassioned manner); but Psalm 68:31 and the analogy of התבּוסס favour the meaning to throw oneself in a stamping manner, i.e., violently, to the ground, to trample upon oneself - i.e., let oneself be trampled upon, to place oneself in the attitude of most earnest humble prayer. Thus the Graec. Venet. πατήθητι, Rashi ("humble thyself like to the threshold which is trampled and trode upon"), Aben-Ezra, Immanuel ("humble thyself under the soles of his feet"); so Cocceius, J. H. Michaelis, and others: conculcandum te praebe. וּרהב is more controverted. The Talmudic-Midrash explanation (b. Joma, 87a; Bathra, 173b, and elsewhere): take with thee in great numbers thy friends (רהב equals הרבּה), is discredited by this, that it has along with it the explanation of התרפס by (יד) פּס חתּר, solve palmam (manus), i.e., pay what thou canst. Also with the meaning to rule (Parchon, Immanuel), which רהב besides has not, nothing is to be done. The right meaning of רהב בּ is to rush upon one boisterously, Isaiah 3:5. רהב means in general to be violently excited (Arab. rahiba, to be afraid), and thus to meet one, here with the accusative: assail impetuously thy neighbour (viz., that he fulfil his engagement). Accordingly, with a choice of words more or less suitable, the lxx translates by παρόξυνε, Symm., Theodotion by παρόρμησον, the Graec. Venet. by ἐνίσχυσον, the Syr. (which the Targumist copies) by גרג (solicita), and Kimchi glosses by: lay an arrest upon him with pacifying words. The Talmud explains רעיך as plur.;

(Note: There is here no distinction between the Kethb and the Kerı̂. The Masora remarks, "This is the only passage in the Book of Proverbs where the word is written with Yod (י);" it thus recognises only the undisputed רעיך.)

but the plur., which was permissible in Proverbs 3:28, is here wholly inadmissible: it is thus the plena scriptio for רעך with the retaining of the third radical of the ground-form of the root-word (רעי equals רעה), or with י as mater lectionis, to distinguish the pausal-form from that which is without the pause; cf. Proverbs 24:34. lxx, Syr., Jerome, etc., rightly translate it in the sing. The immediateness lying in לך (cf. ὕπαγε, Matthew 5:24) is now expressed as a duty, Proverbs 6:4. One must not sleep and slumber (an expression quite like Psalm 132:4), not give himself quietness and rest, till the other has released him from his bail by the performance of that for which he is surety. One must set himself free as a gazelle or as a bird, being caught, seeks to disentangle itself by calling forth all its strength and art.

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