Proverbs 6:1

Parental Counsel

1 My son, if you have become 1surety for your neighbor, Have given a pledge for a stranger,

Proverbs 6:1 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 6:1

My son, if thou be surety for thy friend
To another; hast engaged thyself by promise or bond, or both, to pay a debt for him, if he is not able, or if required; or hast laid thyself under obligation to any, to see the debt of another paid; [if] thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger;
or "to" him F2; whom thou knowest not, and to whom thou owest nothing; and hast given him thine hand upon it, as well as thy word and bond, that what such an one owes him shall be paid; a gesture used in suretyship for the confirmation of it, ( Proverbs 17:18 ) ( 22:26 ) ; or, "for a stranger" F3 And the sense is, either if thou art become bound for a friend of thine, and especially if for a stranger thou knowest little or nothing of, this is a piece of rashness and weakness; or, as Gersom, if thou art a surety to thy friend for a stranger, this also is a great inadvertency and oversight. It is a rash and inconsiderate entering into suretyship that is here cautioned against; doing it without inquiring into, and having sufficient knowledge of the person engaged for; and without considering whether able to answer the obligation, if required, without hurting a man's self and family; otherwise suretyship may lawfully be entered into, and good be done by it, and no hurt to the surety himself and family. Jarchi interprets it of the Israelites engaging themselves to the Lord at Sinai, to keep his commandments.


F2 (rzl) "extraneo", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Baynus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Cocceius, Schultens.
F3 "Pro alieno", Tigurine version; "pro alio peregrino", Michaelis.

Proverbs 6:1 In-Context

1 My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, Have given a pledge for a stranger,
2 If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, Have been caught with the words of your mouth,
3 Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.
4 Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids;
5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter's hand And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 17:18; Proverbs 20:16; Proverbs 22:26; Proverbs 27:13

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Lit "clapped your palms"
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