Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Proverbs 20:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Take his garment that is surety for a stranger - I suppose the meaning to be, If a stranger or unknown person become surety in a case, greater caution should be used, and such security taken from this stranger as would prevent him from running away from his engagements.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The warning against suretiship and lust are here repeated and combined (compare Proverbs 27:13). The judge tells the creditor to seize the goods of the surety who has been weak enough to pledge himself for those who are alien to him, instead of those of the actual debtor. The reading of the the King James Version recalls in the second clause the history of Tamar Genesis 38:17-18. The Hebrew text, however, gives “strangers” in the masculine plural, and is probably right, the feminine being the reading of the margin, probably adopted from Proverbs 27:13.