The problems of surety (Sir 29:14-29:20)

“A good person

Will be surety

For his neighbor.

But the one who has lost

All sense of shame

Will fail him.

Do not forget

The kindness of your guarantor.

He has given his life for you.

A sinner wastes

The property of his guarantor.

The ungrateful person

Abandons his rescuer.

Being surety

Has ruined many

Who were prosperous.

It has tossed them about

Like waves on the sea.

It has driven the influential

Into exile.

They have wandered

Among foreign nations.

The sinner comes to grief

Through surety.

His pursuit of gain

Involves him in lawsuits.

Assist your neighbor

To the best of your ability.

But be careful

Not to fall yourself.”

Surety is guaranteeing of a loan or the collateral for a loan. Obviously, a good kind person will guarantee a loan for his neighbor. However, there are shameful people out there who will take advantage of this generous guarantee. A sinner and an ungrateful person will waste this guarantee. They will abandon their rescuer. Sirach says that guaranteeing loans for others has led many a prosperous person to be ruined and tossed about like waves on the sea. Some have been exiled and wander from country to country. Quite often the sinner and his actions lead to law suits. Sirach then ends with this cautionary note that you should try to help your neighbor as much as possible, but be careful and not fall yourself.

Evildoers (Ps 101:5-101:5)

“One who secretly slanders his neighbor,

I will destroy.

A haughty look,

I will not endure.

An arrogant heart

I will not endure.”

David would destroy those who secretly slander his neighbor. How would he know about this if it was a secret? He would not tolerate haughty looks or arrogant hearts.

Job maintains that he has not committed adultery (Job 31:9-31:12)

“If my heart has been enticed by a woman,

If I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door,

Then let my wife grind for another!

Let other men kneel over her.

That would be a heinous crime.

That would be a criminal offense.

That would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon.

It would burn to the root all my harvest.”

If Job had been enticed by another woman, he would have to give up his wife. If he laid in wait until his neighbor came home, that would be a terrible crime. His wife should then grind for another person. Grind referred to the idea that she should have sex with another man. Other men would then kneel over her. This would be a criminal act leading to the consuming fire of Abaddon, Sheol, or hell. His harvest should be burned at its roots. Job seemed to take adultery very seriously. He should lose his wife and crops if he committed such a thing.