Business transactions (Prov 20:14-20:17)

“‘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.

Job wants assurances from God (Job 17:3-17:5)

“Lay down a pledge for me with yourself.

Who is there that will give surety for me?

Since you have closed their minds to understanding,

Therefore, you will not let them triumph.

Those who denounce friends for a reward,

May the eyes of their children fail!

Job wanted assurances from God, a pledge. Who was going to bail him out or give him surety out of this situation? Since God had closed the minds of those around him, he did not want them to triumph. Anyone who denounced friends for a reward should have blind children. This was some kind of ancient proverb. Job, despite his despair, was not going to take this lying down.