(i). Ninth Discourse:—Against Suretyship (Proverbs 6:1-5).
(1) If thou be surety for thy friend.—When the Mosaic Law was instituted, commerce had not been taken up by the Israelites, and the lending of money on interest for its employment in trade was a thing unknown. The only occasion for loans would be to supply the immediate necessities of the borrower, and the exaction of interest under such circumstances would be productive of great hardship, involving the loss of land and even personal freedom, as the insolvent debtor and his family became the slaves of the creditor (Nehemiah 5:1-5). To prevent these evils, the lending of money on interest to any poor Israelite was strictly forbidden (Leviticus 25:35-37); the people were enjoined to be liberal, and lend for nothing in such cases. But at the time of Solomon, when the commerce of the Israelites had enormously developed, and communications were opened with Spain and Egypt and (possibly) with India and Ceylon, while caravans penetrated beyond the Euphrates, then the lending of money on interest for employment in trade most probably became frequent, and suretyship also, the pledging of a man’s own credit to enable his friend to procure a loan. And when the wealth that accompanied this development of the national resources had brought luxury in its train, borrowing and suretyship would be employed for less worthy purposes, to supply the young nobles of Jerusalem with money for their extravagance. Hence possibly the emphatic language of the text and Proverbs 20:16; Proverbs 27:13.
Stricken thy hand.—That is, as we should say, “shaken hands on the bargain.”
With a stranger.—Or rather, for another, i.e., thy friend.
Humble thyself.—Literally, let thyself be trampled on, humbly sue.
Make sure.—Rather, assail impetuously, importune.
(7) Guide.—Properly, judge (the Arabic cadi), then leader, prince.
AS an armed man.—Against whom the sleeper will be defenceless. Proverbs 6:10-11 are repeated in Proverbs 24:33-34.
(12) A naughty person.—According to its original meaning, a “worthless” person, Heb. a man of Belial,
Froward mouth.—Comp. Proverbs 4:24.
(l). Twelfth Discourse:—Against Adultery (Proverbs 6:20-35).