Proverbs 20:16
(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).

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.).

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.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.

Proverbs 20:15
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