Proverbs 6:1-5

Make Sure Thy Friend


1. Here, Solomon warns his son about the sin of irresponsibility.

2. The particular form of this sin is financial irresponsibility.

3. He is NOT discouraging his son from being generous—just from being foolish!


1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger…

1. Surety for thy friend…

a. Surety = to pledge, exchange, mortgage, undertake for, take on pledge, give in pledge

b. This speaks of a man who has either promised to pay a debt or obligation for a friend, or has pledged his own money or property as security for a friend. (Like co-signing on a loan for someone—or putting your property up as security on a loan. There are consequences if that friend doesn’t pay!)

2. Stricken thy hand with a stranger…

a. Clapping one’s hands was similar to a handshake today. It sealed a deal or a business transaction.

b. Again, he is speaking about a binding financial obligation to a stranger… a bank… a loan shark… a business partner…

3. Co-signing a note for a friend might appear to be quite generous and kind.

a. There may be times when it IS the RIGHT thing to do. (Your son’s first car… student loans…)

b. But there are other times when it is a FOOLISH thing to do.
· A casual friend at work who fell upon hard times…
· A relative you know is irresponsible…
· A teenager who needs a brand new Lexus…
· A risky or questionable business deal…

2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

1. Snared with the words of thy mouth…

a. The one who entered into this foolish loan arrangement has done so by the words of his mouth. This was a verbal agreement to be the surety for the loan.

b. Solomon equates such a verbal agreement with a trap… a snare…

c. In other words, he entered into an agreement which seemed like a good idea at first, but eventually became a trap!

d. Prov. 22:7 – the borrower is servant to the lender!

e. It is possible for us to agree to things that we shouldn’t! Things that can become a snare… from which we might not be able to extricate ourselves!

f. Prov. 5:22 – the sin of sexual impurity can be binding and entrap us. Now Solomon states that the sin of financial irresponsibility can also entrap us!

2. Taken with the words of thy mouth…

a. Taken – used as a synonym for “snared”… = captured; seized;

b. Same word in 5:22 – take the wicked…= holden with the cords of his sins

c. The words we say, the agreements into which we enter, (to put it in more modern terms)—the contracts we sign… can ENSLAVE us… seize us… capture us and keep us captive…

3. This is the hypothetical situation Solomon raises before his son.

a. “If you ever do this…if you ever find yourself in this situation, then here’s what to do…”

b. Solomon is NOT encouraging his son to BECOME a surety for a friend. Rather, he is warning his son about the DANGERS of such action.

c. He is saying, “If you ever find yourself in such a bind… then follow my instructions.”

d. The instructions Solomon gives are especially needed in our day and age—in light of the constant barrage of opportunities there are to buy on credit, to lease a car, take out a loan, use a credit card, borrow off the equity of your home… we are credit happy… could easily sign our life away.

e. This situation speaks of a man who entered into a financial arrangement without thinking it through… without thinking of the consequences… without reading the fine print…


3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend;

1. DELIVER thyself! His first word of advice to his son is to do whatever it takes to get yourself OUT OF that obligation… get OUT of that trap!

2. Solomon warns his son to find a way OUT of the foolish financial obligation to which he verbally committed himself.

3. If you have “come into the hand” of a friend… NIV = fallen into your neighbor’s hand… meaning you are now under his control… he’s got you in his hands and you can’t get out…

4. If you find yourself in that position, do whatever you can to get out of his hand… out of the banker’s clutches… out of financial bondage…

Go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.

1. Here Solomon states that part of “doing whatever it takes” may include swallowing your pride!

2. He says to humble yourself.

a. Why humble yourself? Because one who enters into such agreements often does so out of pride.

b. We like to think of ourselves as big shots… as being well to do… thinking we can handle that… we’re too smart to get taken… I know all about these agreements… no problem for me…

c. We might feel important signing a loan for someone else… it sort of makes us feel superior to them… they will look up to us as a hero who saved the day!

d. Then after we enter the agreement, we might discover that we bit off more than we can chew… more than we can handle… that we are not such a big shot after all…

3. Make sure thy friend…

a. Make sure thy friend =
· NASB – importune your neighbor…
· NIV = Press your plea with your neighbor!

b. Make your case before this person… by admitting that you spoke rashly… tell him you really aren’t able to follow through… you don’t have the resources to be surety for another man…

c. In short—plead for mercy! (Cf. Matt. 18:25)

d. This was a legitimate method of escaping from a financial obligation in the days of old… appealing to the mercy of one to whom you are obligated.

e. However, today, our financial institutions are a little different. Good luck pleading for mercy at Citizen’s Bank! They don’t know mercy… just the bottom line.

f. But, you may be able to work out another arrangement with them… a workable payment schedule… another way of guaranteeing the loan…

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.

1. Here Solomon makes the same exhortation: deliver thyself!

2. However, in this verse, he speaks of the URGENCY of doing so.

3. If you are in financial bondage or have co-signed a risky loan, do whatever you can to get out of that bondage and don’t wait! Do it NOW!

4. Don’t put it on the back burner. Take care of it right away… Don’t sleep or rest until you are free!

5. Don’t get USED to it… get OUT of it! Don’t get comfortable just paying the minimum balance… just paying off the interest… get the monkey off your back!

6. Have you ever seen a bird in a man’s hands? Have you ever seen an animal try to free himself from a snare? They give it their all!

7. Make this kind of freedom a priority!

8. Don’t rest until you are disentangled from bondage!

9. This is especially true of credit… the longer you postpone paying it off, the more you owe. The sooner you are free from those shackles, the better!


1. This is NOT an exhortation against generously helping a brother in need.

2. It is a warning against RASHLY entering into arrangements without thinking the long-term consequences through properly. (Prov. 22:26)

3. Prov.11:15 – He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.

a. DON’T enter into a surety for a stranger… don’t cosign for a stranger… don’t put your property up as collateral. You will SMART—it will hurt you!

b. The man who HATES that kind of financial bondage is sure—safe!

c. Don’t risk your financial safety—be safe!

4. This might SEEM like a friendly, gracious, loving, kind, Christian thing to do… BUT — it may not turn out like you think.

a. It is not necessarily a good thing to enable someone to buy something they cannot afford!

b. You might be encouraging him to be a big spender… and get himself in financial trouble…

c. You could be encouraging irresponsibility on his part…

d. And if he fails on the loan and you have to pay—it could easily ruin the friendship…

e. Thus, we are challenged to be extremely cautious about signing a loan for someone…

f. If you want to show kindness, it is better to give the money away…

5. This does NOT mean don’t ever do it under any circumstances.

a. There may be times when it is perfectly legitimate. Paul became a surety for Onesimus. (Philemon 10,17-19)

b. The warning is against entering into it rashly… foolishly… clapping you hands…

6. The difference is doing it wisely. (Ps. 112:5 – good men show favor and lend, but they do so with discretion!)

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