Deliver Yourself From Foolish Pledges
Proverbs 6:1-3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
6 My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor,
have given your pledge for a stranger,
2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
caught in the words of your mouth,
3 Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself,
for you have come into the palm of your neighbor:
go, humble yourself, plead with your neighbor.
Solomon is offering advice or counsel to his son, which if heeded, will not only help him avoid the pitfalls of life, leading to a far more peaceful life but will also enhance his character among the people. Hence, if we want to avoid the ruination of both our reputation with others, as well as God, we too must pay close attention to 6:1-3, as well as the rest of Proverbs chapter six.
The proverb is warning the reader about being too quick to offer some kind of financial security for a stranger or neighbor that was not well known in the community, to place that kind of trust in him. It would be foolish to take such a risk with one’s finances. This warning is not to take away from the Law that exhorted them to help their fellow Israelite brother who fell on hard times, by loaning him money without interest, helping him with food, or even taking him in for a time. (Leviticus 25:35-38) However, if the new neighbor is not well known, he could be a social misfit that does not wisely take care of his responsibilities. Then, in this case, you would be naive to risk your family’s finances on such an unknown. There may have been a trustworthy Israelite neighbor, who was involving himself in a risky business venture. He may have needed more capital so he would look to his friends and neighbors to invest with him. This would be foolish too because the debt would be on those invested if the deal fell through. It is like co-signing for a house loan today. If the borrowers fail to make the payments, the cosigner is responsible for the loan.