“But if this man
Has a son
Who sees all the sins
That his father
Then considers it,
But does not do likewise,
Should he live?
This son does not
Eat upon the mountains
Or lift up his eyes
To the idols
Of the house of Israel.
He does not
Defile his neighbor’s wife
Or wrong any one.
He does not
Or commit robbery.
But he gives his bread
To the hungry.
He covers the naked
With a garment.
He withholds his hand
He takes no advance
Or accrues interest.
He shall not die
For his father’s iniquity.
He shall surely live.”
What happens to the son of an unrighteous person? What if the son sees all the sins that his father has done, but decides to not follow in his father’s footsteps? This son does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife or wrong any one. He does not exact pledges for loans or commit any robberies. However, he gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment. He stays away from iniquity. He does not take any advances or accrue interest. He observes Yahweh’s ordinances and statutes. He is not going to die because of his father’s iniquity. Rather he will live.
“Take the garment
Of one who has given surety for a stranger.
Seize the pledge given as surety for foreigners.”
This is another repetition of the same proverb in chapter 20 about pledges and sureties for loans. It seems like not a good idea to lend to strangers, especially if you are the stranger. They are able to take the garments and pledges of strangers.
“‘It is bad.
It is bad.’
Says the buyer.
Then he goes away.
Then he boasts.
There is gold.
There is an abundance of costly stones.
But the lips informed by knowledge
Are a precious jewel.
Take the garment of one
Who has given surety for a stranger.
Seize the pledge
Given as surety for foreigners.
Bread gained by deceit is sweet.
But afterward the mouth will be full of gravel.”
Here we have a series of business transactions. We have already seen the bad scales and measures. Now this is how people complain when they buy something, saying it is bad. However, when they go away they boast about the good bargain they just made. Although there are gold and precious stones, nothing is more precious than lips informed by knowledge. Then there is the problem of pledge and surety for loans. It is not a good idea to lend to strangers, especially if you are the stranger. You seem to be able to take their garments and pledges. Watch out for bread that you get by being deceitful, it may taste sweet at first, but afterwards it will be like a mouthful of gravel.
“To guarantee loans for a stranger brings trouble.
But there is safety in refusing to loan money.
A gracious woman gets honor.
But she who hates virtue is covered with shame.
The timid become destitute.
But the aggressive gain riches.
Those who are kind
But the cruel do themselves harm.
The wicked earn no real gain.
But those who sow righteousness
Get a true reward.
Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live.
But whoever pursues evil will die.”
There was no safely in guaranteeing loans for strangers. A gracious woman has great honor, while those without virtue are covered in shame. The timid will become destitute, while the aggressive will get rich. The kind people take care of themselves, while the cruel people harm themselves. The wicked never earn any real gain in life. However, those who sow in righteousness will get a true reward. Those who are steadfast in righteousness will live, while the pursuers of evil will die. Money has to be used correctly.
“When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, you shall not go into his house to take the pledge. You shall wait outside, while the person to whom you are making the loan brings the pledge out to you. If the person is poor, you shall not sleep in the garment given you as the pledge. You shall give the pledge back by sunset, so that your neighbor may sleep in the cloak and bless you. It will be to your credit before Yahweh your God.”
Do not humiliate poor people when you lend them money. Let them bring the pledge collateral to you. Let them keep their cloak if they are poor. There is a certain sensitivity to poor people that we all need.