Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
Pr 6:1-35. After admonitions against suretyship and sloth (compare Pr 6:6-8), the character and fate of the wicked generally are set forth, and the writer (Pr 6:20-35) resumes the warnings against incontinence, pointing out its certain and terrible results. This train of thought seems to intimate the kindred of these vices.
1, 2. if—The condition extends through both verses.
be surety—art pledged.
stricken … hand—bargained (compare Job 17:3).
with a stranger—that is, for a friend (compare Pr 11:15; 17:18).
Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
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.
3. come … friend—in his power.
humble … sure thy friend—urge as a suppliant; that is, induce the friend to provide otherwise for his debt, or secure the surety.
Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
4, 5. The danger requires promptness.
Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
6-8. The improvident sluggards usually want sureties. Hence, such are advised to industry by the ant's example.
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
9, 10. Their conduct graphically described;
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
11. and the fruits of their self-indulgence and indolence presented.
as … travelleth—literally, "one who walks backwards and forwards," that is, a highwayman.
armed man—that is, one prepared to destroy.
A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
12. A naughty person—literally, "A man of Belial," or of worthlessness, that is, for good, and so depraved, or wicked (compare 1Sa 25:25; 30:22, &c.). Idleness and vice are allied. Though indolent in acts, he actively and habitually (walketh) is ill-natured in speech (Pr 4:24).
He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
13, 14. If, for fear of detection, he does not speak, he uses signs to carry on his intrigues. These signs are still so used in the East.
Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.
14. Frowardness—as in Pr 2:14.
deviseth—literally, "constructs, as an artisan."
mischief—evil to others.
discord—especially litigation. Cunning is the talent of the weak and lazy.
Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
15. Suddenness aggravates evil (compare Pr 6:11; 29:1).
calamity—literally, "a crushing weight."
broken—shivered as a potter's vessel; utterly destroyed (Ps 2:9).
These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
16-19. six … seven—a mode of speaking to arrest attention (Pr 30:15, 18; Job 5:19).
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
17. proud look—literally, "eyes of loftiness" (Ps 131:1). Eyes, tongue, &c., for persons.
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
19. speaketh—literally, "breathes out," habitually speaks (Ps 27:12; Ac 9:1).
My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
20-23. (Compare Pr 1:8; 3:3, &c.).
Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.
When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.
22. it—(compare Pr 6:23); denotes the instruction of parents (Pr 6:20), to which all the qualities of a safe guide and guard and ready teacher are ascribed. It prevents the ingress of evil by supplying good thoughts, even in dreams (Pr 3:21-23; Ps 19:9; 2Pe 1:19).
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
23. reproofs—(Pr 1:23) the convictions of error produced by instruction.
To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
24. A specimen of its benefit. By appreciating truth, men are not affected by lying flattery.
Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
25. One of the cautions of this instruction, avoid alluring beauty.
eyelids—By painting the lashes, women enhanced beauty.
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.
26. The supplied words give a better sense than the old version: "The price of a whore is a piece of bread."
adulteress—(Compare Margin), which the parallel and context (Pr 6:29-35) sustain. Of similar results of this sin, compare Pr 5:9-12.
will hunt—alluding to the snares spread by harlots (compare Pr 7:6-8).
precious life—more valuable than all else.
Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
27-29. The guilt and danger most obvious.
Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?
So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.
Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;
30, 31. Such a thief is pitied, though heavily punished.
But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.
31. sevenfold—(compare Ex 22:1-4), for many, ample (compare Ge 4:24; Mt 18:21), even if all his wealth is taken.
But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
32. lacketh understanding—or, "heart"; destitute of moral principle and prudence.
A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.
33. dishonour—or, "shame," as well as hurt of body (Pr 3:35).
reproach … away—No restitution will suffice;
For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
34, 35. nor any terms of reconciliation be admitted.
regard—or, "accept" any ransom.
He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.