1 ¶ My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, 2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. 4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. 5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
In Genesis 43:9 and 44:32, one definition of surety is a guarantee provided by one party to ensure something for another. When you go to the dictionary it is listed as a promise on the part of one to ensure the debts of another, sort of like co-signing on a loan. This starts out telling the young man not to be surety for his friend by indebting himself to a foreigner. I would say that our mishandling of money is one of the ways we become enslaved to the world. Money is a tool and should never be your master.
A simple rule here would be to never co-sign for anyone. The more complicated principle is to make sure you know the person and the situation very well before you enter into such a relationship. Truthfully, if you can’t afford to loan the money to your friend then you certainly aren’t prudent for putting yourself in the hands of a stranger, unknown to you, such as a bank, on his behalf. A friend will feel far less concern about letting you help pay part of his loan than he would skip on a bank payment.
I would ask, is my friend a believer? Does he have a good record of being responsible with money? Why does he need me as surety? What are his prospects of paying the loan back? John Gill, who pastor- ed C.H. Spurgeon’s church before him, implies that it means, when it says, “make sure they friend”, that you would be better off to be a reference for your friend than to take his debt load on your own back. He also says not to rest until that loan that you have made yourself responsible for is paid back.
However, for the Christian, Paul makes this statement about debt;
Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Debt is a trap. Putting yourself on the line and in debt for someone else is a bigger trap. Anyone over thirty, though, knows that. You have either been hammered for someone else’s sake by a loan someone tried to collect from you or you have been the person who had a loan guaranteed by a friend or family member and found yourself unable to pay it back. If your child needs you to co-sign a loan for him or her to get a car, you should ask yourself how much money has that child saved before he had the chance to drive a car? Is he or she responsible enough to take this commitment seriously? Honestly, though, folks, Christians don’t take the promise to pay back a loan very seriously at all these days. With mortgage help, bankruptcy, and other things available to us by law we tend to more easily walk away from a promise made by our mouths and signed by our hands. This harms our testimony greatly.
6 ¶ Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
It is very clear that God wants people to be hard working and industrious. The so called Protestant work ethic that was one of the things that made this country prosper is certainly based in Biblical admonitions. What is surprising today is that so many fundamentalist preachers do not respect the concept of work. I have actually heard one say that if a person’s work prevented them from attending any regular meeting of the church that person should quit their job and just “trust God”. This is an absurd, unBiblical way of a shallow attempt to control the congregation.
Pastors should support work, encourage having a good testimony before employers and coworkers, and tell their congregation to take every opportunity to be an example to others at work; next to the family, our greatest and possibly the most potentially successful mission field.
The Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, says;
1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
2 Thessalonians 3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
2Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Poverty will come on the lazy person like a robber with a weapon, the verses say.
12 ¶ A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. 13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; 14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. 15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. 16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Naughty in the Bible has a greater meaning than our current definition. Naughty is rotten and nasty, as can be seen by this verse;
Jeremiah 24:2 One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
A naughty man is a wicked man. If you’ve lived long enough you’ve seen him. He has that wink that makes you think only you and he are in on the joke. Where he goes says more about what he is that what he says. His fingers are always teaching his ways to others. Young ladies, beware of the man who, when he addresses you, must put his hand on your shoulder or place it on your arm, or as you walk through the door with him puts his hand on your back. He has no legitimate place or purpose to touch you at all. This person thinks he’s clever. He’s always got a scheme, a plan, and is always planning mischief because that’s what’s in his heart.
In business he thinks himself clever if he has conned someone out of something and in his private life he promises everything and delivers nothing but is shocked if you hold him to account. He’ll be brought down fast, to the ground. There are even preachers who try to manipulate people emotionally, try to control them, browbeat them into submission, shame them into that preacher’s will, and are always politickin’ as we say down South rather than presenting the gospel and trusting in Christ. They manipulate the scriptures, changing the meaning of words, using the Bible to justify their own prejudices and agenda. Beware of them.
God here says he hates seven things and more than that, that they are an abomination to Him. We’ve all seen a proud and haughty look, heard a lying tongue, read about hands that shed innocent blood, known hearts that devised wicked things, feet that hungered to run to mischief, a person who bears false witness against others, and that one that just loves to sow discord in the church or in the family.
20 ¶ My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. 22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. 23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: 24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. 25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. 26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. 30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; 31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. 32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.
Does the word talk to you? I don’t mean in an audible voice but does it affect your decisions, calm you, and urge you on to do things? Do you even listen?
God’s word is a lamp, like a flashlight to help you see in the dark, or like a light turned on in a dark room. The evil woman here can be typed into false religion and false religious beliefs, heresy and ungodly religion. This woman is a good type of all sin that entices and flatters. A man will do almost anything for a woman who appeals to his carnal nature. I believe the that same goes for a woman only perhaps more on the “flattering words” side. A man can be bought for a piece of bread and note here, the the whorish woman is merely the vehicle by which the enemy attacks.
Again, a man will be much more forgiving, and so will a woman, if something material is stolen from them than if their spouse is enticed away by an immoral person. Think of God in type here. There is a high religious content to sex. There is supposed to be something sacred, holy, and joyful about it, but the adulterer makes it dirty and vile. Idolatry is said to be like adultery. God was Israel’s husband as Christ is the bridegroom and the church is the bride. Our worship of other things than Christ is like adultery.
God was very serious about marital faithfulness;
Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Deuteronomy 5:18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
Israel’s idolatry was adultery to God;
Jeremiah 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. 9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
There is more said about this in Ezekiel 16. Wherever adultery is mentioned in the Bible there is a double prophetic meaning, having to do with idolatry and God. Anything or anyone you put in place of God or between yourself and God (I didn’t say church attendance, how you dress, or how you vote, I said God, as in Christ), anything you put in between you and God including church or your own personal view of what it means to be spiritual is idolatry and adultery in type. Just be glad that Christ will not reject us, that we are saved and cannot be unsaved. The idolatrous Hebrews had no such assurance.
From a practical application, young men and women, put other people out of your mind if they or you are married to another. Don’t even regard them that way. Don’t let yourself be taken in by someone with an evil intentioned heart. You might be surprised, in your inexperience, how sneaky and crafty someone can be when they want something they are not supposed to have. Beware of the person with clever words and the innocent looking smile, the batting eyelids, or the soft touch. It is often considered to be something to wink at if a person is crafty in his attempt or her attempt to win someone’s heart but all such trickiness is proof that that person cannot be trusted. Don’t allow yourself to be taken in. And always remember, there are some things you can do to people that they simply will not forgive.