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Withdraw from an Unwise
Commitment without Delay
Proverbs 6:4-5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 Give no sleep to your eyes
nor slumber to your eyelids;
5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Give no sleep to your eyes: This is a figurative expression that means the resolve and importance of getting free from this commitment spoken of in verses 1-3 quickly. This should be done without delay.
Nor slumber to your eyelids: Line two here is repeating line one in a more poetic form. It is better to withdraw from an unwise commitment when it is still possible than to be entrapped by it. The Hebrew noun (tenû·mā(h)) rendered slumber means an emphasis on inactivity, which implies laziness in some contexts – Job 33:15; Ps 132:4; Prov. 6:4, 10; 24:33.
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter: The Hebrew verb (nā·ṣǎl) rendered save yourself means simply to save your life and has the sense of to escape with your life, to flee from or avoid this commitment at all costs. It is the same verb from verse 3 that was rendered deliver yourself and meant for the young man to save himself, to remove himself, to free himself, to flee from the danger of his commitment or pledge. Gazelle renders a Hebrew noun (ṣeḇî) that refers to a fast-running and graceful antelope, which stresses the need to move quickly in removing oneself from this commitment.
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler: Here bird (Heb. ṣip·pôr) is referring to any of the various kinds of birds. However, the focus seems to be on a small bird. From the hand is referring to the capability of the hand, its ability to take hold of something, to grab, grasp, or catch. The fowler (Heb. yā·qûš) is referring to someone who traps fowls for good, specifically, a bird hunter. One who lays snares for birds.
Here Solomon is telling the Israelite who has acted impulsively by offering assurances in a financial deal for a stranger or neighbor, who then realizes his stupidity on what seemed wise at first but upon further examination looks as if it is risky and foolish, not to sleep through one night without getting out of the commitment. This Israelite needs to run from the deal he had made, like a gazelle from a hunter or a bird from the trapper!