Proverbs 11:15

Proverbs 11:15 "He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure."
Proverbs 11:15 Church Buffalo NY
This proverb is the second of five instances where Solomon addresses surety in his book of Proverbs.  When commenting on the first mention of surety in Proverbs 6, we defined this financial practice using the references in the book of Genesis.  Surety is cosigning on another person's debts.  It is becoming legally responsible for someone else's debt should they be unable to pay or refuse to fulfill their financial obligations.
In chapter 6, Solomon addressed surety within the context of friendships and urged his son not to cosign for a friend.  Inspired by the Spirit of God, Solomon went so far as to instruct his son to pay the loan off or do whatever he could to get out of the arrangements in order to preserve the friendship.  By experience, observation and inspiration, Solomon knew how precious relationships are in life and he knew how dangerous cosigning can be to those relationships.  He didn't want his son unnecessarily endangering friendships over money.
A recent 2021 poll performed by the lending marketplace, LendEDU confirmed the insight of Solomon.  LendEDU polled parents who cosigned for their child's student loans and in summary, this is what they found:
- 57% of cosigners believed that their credit scores were negatively impacted.
- 36% of cosigners’ children made a late payment on the cosigned loans, which negatively impacted credit scores.
- 51% of cosigners felt that their children’s student debt put their retirement in jeopardy.
- 58% of cosigners claimed that their children asked them for help making monthly payments.
- 66% of cosigners helped their children make monthly payments.
- 35% of cosigners regret cosigning on a private student loan.
- 34% of cosigners said cosigning hurt their ability to qualify for mortgages, auto loans, or other types of financing.

This poll clearly confirms the risk cosigning brings to relationships.  Money does something to us and it can severely harm relationships when another person's financial decisions impact our financial condition.  In order to protect relationships, Solomon advised his son to avoid cosigning for friends.

In this particular proverb, Solomon is not advising against cosigning for a friend but instead, he is warning of doing so for a "stranger."  This proverb is less concerned about relationships and is more concerned with personal safety or success.  This proverb differentiates kindness from carelessness.
For some, giving money, buying gifts or helping out with financial dilemmas is their love language.  For some, money is the best way to say, "I care."  Solomon is not condemning surety in every possible instance, such as in spousal cases, but he is declaring cosigning for a stranger utter foolishness.  It's risky business to cosign for a family member.  It's really risky business to cosign for a friend.  It's entirely bad business to cosign for a stranger; for someone you don't know that well.  For the person who cosigns for a stranger, the proverb reads, he "shall smart for it."  The usage of the word, "smart" in this proverb is not at all our modern usage of it.  It is not a compliment as we intend it to be.  This is the only instance of the Old English verb in Scripture and it means, to be punished.  A dictionary isn't needed to understand what Solomon meant given the clear tone of his warning. A person who cosigns for a person he or she doesn't know well will end up paying for their indiscretion.
Cosigning for someone you don't know extremely well is arguably the most dangerous form of gambling.  People may be tempted to cosign for someone they don't know well in order to gain a relationship.  A young woman may be tempted to cosign for a man with the hopes of winning his love.  A man may be tempted to cosign for a woman for the same reason or for a man whose respect he is trying to gain.  In each of these cases, the cosigner interprets the financial risk as kindness rather than carelessness.  In other cases, an elderly person may see their signature on a loan as an expression of kindness towards a soul in need when Solomon defines it as carelessness.  If an unfamiliar person is asking for help with a loan, that person is probably up to no good.  If a person new to your life has the boldness to hint at cosigning on a loan, there is very high chance that they are financial predators and that you are their intended prey.  Cosigning for a "stranger" will result in certain loss.

In our pursuit of virtue, we may be tempted to see cosigning as kindness to souls in need.  Solomon wants his readers to know that it's careless to cosign for someone you don't know well.  Doing so is a mismanagement of God's blessings.  Doing so is poor stewardship of God's provision.  Doing so is putting your family in great financial danger and that is clearly carelessness.  There are much better ways to show kindness to a stranger than cosigning.  There are many other ways to show kindness to someone you just met than cosigning.  We are to demonstrate kindness to those we don't know well but it isn't virtuous to be careless with the financial blessings that God has bestowed upon us.

Cosigning for people we know well is very risky and cosigning for people we don't know well is very careless.  In both cases, our financial security is threatened.  In both cases, our credit scores are in danger.  In both cases, our possessions are in danger.  In both cases, relationships are in danger - either the relationship with the loved one we cosigned for or the relationships with the loved ones who are impacted when the strangers we cosigned for doesn't pay off their debts.  This proverb reminds me of a man who once admitted that he cosigned for a person he didn't know that well.  This "stranger" wasn't a complete "stranger," but this man didn't vet the person's character long enough or well enough and ended up cosigning on a loan of some sort.  He "smarted" for it and as a result, brought some unnecessary financial hardship to his young family.
This is precisely why Solomon concluded the proverb by saying, "he that hateth suretiship is sure."  In this play on words, the word, "sure" means safe and secure.  After Jesus was crucified, Pilate ordered the soldiers to make the tomb as "sure" as possible, or as secure as possible, lest there be any attempts to steal the body (Matthew 27:64-66).  The person that hates cosigning because of all the risks associated with it will be safe and secure. Such a person will be secure in his finances as well as in his relationships.  Such a person will not mistake the carelessness of cosigning as kindness.





Rehoboam Solomon fear of God health pride self-sufficiency wisdom 1 Corinthians 1 John 2020 5th Commandment Aaron Abel Abigail Abortion Abraham Absalom Accident Accomplishment Achan Acts 17 Acts Adam & Eve Adam Adolescence Adolf Hitler Adulterer Adulteress Aesop's Fable Aesop\'s Fable Aesop\\\'s Fable Affair Age Ahijah Ahithophel Albany Alcoholism Ally Alone Amazon American America Amnon Andrew Finch Animal Abuse Animals Answered Prayer Applause Apple of Eye Approval Arrogance Arthritis Asaph Ashamed Athletes Athletics Backbone Back Balaam Balance Bank Accounts Bathsheba Beauty Bedroom Beecher Behavior Benefit Benjamin BestBuy Bethlehem Bezaleel Bible reading Bible teacher Bible Biblical instruction Big Picture Bin Laden Birth Blog Boasting Bonar Bondage Boomerang Boyfriend Brutal Brutish Budget Buffalo Bills Building CA Rt 1 Cable News Calamity Call of Duty Calming Calvin Canaan Cancer Candidates Careers Cares of Life Casey Viner Character Cheesecake Factory Christian upbringing Christ Churches Circumspect Clamor Clinton Clothes Clothing Coaches College Commend Communication Companionship Conceit Conception Condemnation of God Confession Confidentiality Conflict Conservation Contrast Conversation Corinthians Corrupt Cosigner Cosigning Cosign Countenance Courting Coworkers Creation Creator Creatures Crime Criminals Crooked Cruel Curiosity Currency Danger Daniel Data Dating Daughters David Days Death Deceit Deceptive Delilah Democracy Democratic Desire Deuteronomy Devil Diligent Diploma Discovery Diseases Disease Dishonesty Dishonor Dislikes Divorce Domestic Violence Doorhanger Dress Drink Drug lords Drunk Driver Drunk Early Adulthood Ears Eastern Culture Ecclesiastes Economic Stability Eden Elderly Elihu Elijah Eliphaz Emerson Emmies Employers Encouragement Engagement Enoch Ephesians Ephraimites Esau Esther Eternity Evening Eve Evolution Excellence Excel Exodus Expectations Expectation Experience FaceBook Face Faithful False Fame Families Famine Farming Fashion Favor of God Fear of the Lord Fearing God Feast of Purim Financial Advisor Financial Security Fingers Food Foolish Football Free-will Freedom Friendships Friendship Friend Froward Fruit Fumble GPS Gadarenes Galatians 6:7 Galatians Gamble Gang Garden of Eden Garden of Gethsemane Garden Gender Differences Genesis Gideon Gileadites Girlfriend Girls Giving Glad Godhead Goliath Goodness Gossip Graciousness Grammies Grandchildren Gratitude Grave Grief Guide Guilt Culture Guns Gutters Hagar Haman Hamlet Hannah Hard Work Hard-Working Harlot Hate Evil Hatred Head Healthy Hearing Heaven Heaviness Heavy Heart Hebrews Helicopters Hell Herod Highway History Hollywood Holy Spirit Home Depot Homeowner Homicide Honesty House Humble Humility Hunting Hypocrisy Hypocrites Ian Brady Illness Immorality Independence Industrious Inherit Insecurity Insight Instagram Instructing Integrity Internet Interview Intoxication Inventions Isaac Israel Jacob Jairus James Jealousy Jeffrey Dahmer Jeremiah Jeroboam Jerusalem Jesus Christ Jesus Jewish Law Jewish Jimmy Soul Jobs Job John the Apostle John Jonah Joseph Joshua Josiah Joy Judah Judaism Judas Iscariot Judges Judging Judgmental Jury Justice System Kindness King David King Hezekiah Kings King Know-it-all Language Law Enforcement Law Leaders Learn Liars Liar Lies Life Lesson Likes Lion Loan Longevity Look Looting Lori Loughlin Loss of Health Loss of LIfe Loss Lottery Love Triangle Lowliness Luke 7 Luke Luther Lying MLB Magazines Majority Maker Makeup Maniac Manna Maple Trees Mark Martyrs Martyr Marvel Mary Matthew Media Mentors Men Merciful Merriness Mike Tyson Mindset Ministers Mob Mocker Mocking Monarchy Monopoly Month Moody Morality Mordecai Morning Moses Mouths Murder NBA NFL NHL Natural Disaster Naughtiness Nebuchadnezzar Negative Nehemiah New Tricks News Anchors Noah Nobles Numbers O.J. Simpson Obama Observation Obtain Old Dogs Olive Garden Order Others Paint Parenting Passion Pastors Paul the Apostle Paul Perspective Perverse Perversion Peter Pharisees Pharoah Philippians Physical Appearance Plant Pleasure Politicians Politics Polygamy Poor Popularity Portrait Positive Possessions Potiphar's Wife Potiphar\'s Wife Potiphar\\\'s Wife Potiphar\\\\\\\'s Wife Praise Prate Prating Preacher Pregnancy Pregnant Preparation Princes Prince Principal Thing Principal Procrastinate Procrastinator Profit Prophecy Prophet Prosperity Gospel Prostitute Protests Proverbs Proverb Psalm 21 Psalm 35 Psalm 37 Psalms 37 Psalms Psalm Punishment Pure Purity Purpose QVC Questions Rachel Rage Rebekkah Red Lobster Reels Rehoboam Rehoboma Relationship Religion Remember Repentance Reporter Reprove Republican Reputation Research Responsibilities Resume Resurrection Revealing Revelation Reward Rich Man Rich Ridicule Righteouness Right Riot Road Romania Romans 8:28 Romans Rulers Ruler Rules Sabbath Sadness Samson Samuel Sarah Satan Satisfaction Satisfy Saul Saving Scale Scam Science Scientist Scoffer Scripture Sea of Galilee Seasons Secrets Seduce Seed Seek Self-Confidence Selfies Selfishness Servitude Sexual Chaos Sexual Confusion Shakespeare Shame Culture Shame Shane Gaskill Shenandoah Valley Shoe Laces Siblings Sickness Silence Simon Peter Simon Slothful Social Media Social Society Solomon Song of Solomon Sons Sorrow Source Speaking Speak Speech Spies Spiritual Security Sporting Sports Sport Spouses Stanley Cup Steal Stephen Stock Market Strange Woman Strangers Stratego Strength Stress Super Bowl Rings Surely Surety Swatting Sweat Talebearer Talkative Talking Tamar Taylor Teachers Teaching Teenagers Teens Tendency Texas Roadhouse Theft Theocracy Tik Tok Timothy Tithes To be or not to be Toddlers Tolerance Tomb Tongue Tour Guide Travel Treasure Treatment Tribute Trickery Trinity Trips Trouble True Love True Wisdom True Turner Tyler Barriss Uber Eats Understanding Unforgiveness Unhealthy Universities Unjust Unrighteous Uprightness Upright Vain Value Vanity Vehicle Vengeance Videos Virtuous Vision Votes Voting Walk Walmart Washington Watsom Way of Life Way Weight Western Culture Winking Wink Wise Men Witnessing Womb Women Work Ethic Worth Wrong X Yankees YouTube Zechariah addiction adultery advertisements advertiser advertising advice advisor affection affirmation aggression alcohol amos angels anointing ant anxiety appetite argument assumption as attractions authority background backyard bankrupt battle beginning birds bitterness blessed brain bright broken nose buckler campfire cardinal sins career carelessness car cause certainty charity chastening childhood childrearing children child choices church attendance church command confidence confident consequences considerate contention contentment conversaion correction counselor counsel covetousness criticism cruelty cynicism dads dad darkness dark daughter debt deception decisions defend defense demands destruction determination diamonds diligence direction disappointment discernment discipleship disciples disciple discipline discontentment discord discretion distractions distress doctrine dogs drinking drugs dying ear education effort emotions employee employer employment enemies enticement enticing envy equity evil communications evil men evil women evil example eyelids eyes ezekiel facts failure fairness faith family fathers father favor fear of God fear of man fear feelings feminine fighting fight filthy finances fire flattery focus following foolishness foolishnes fools fool forgiveness fornication friends future gambling gangs gender gold good men good government grace greed guard guilt happiness happy harm hate headlights health heart hear hold your peace holiness home honor hope hunger husbands husband ignorance illustration income inequality infidelity influence iniquity insomnia instincts instruction intimacy investigation investing isaiah issued issue jabs jewelry judgment justice just kidnapper kidney kids knowledge labor law of sowing and reaping laziness lazy leadership learning legacy length of days lessons let life light lips listening listen little liver living loans loneliness long life longterm love lucifer lust man marketing marriage math memorization memory mercy messenger millions mind ministry mischief misery loves company misery mistakes mom money mothers mother motive mouth movies nature necklace neck neighbor obscenity observant oil oppression oppressor organs ornaments parable paranoia parenthood parents parent pastoring path peace peculiarity peer pressure peers peer permission personification pleasant politician ponder pornography pottymouth poverty power prayer preservation pride priests private procrastination prodigal profanity prosperity prostitution protection protect prudence public restroom purchases reading reaping reason rebellion rebuke regret rejection relate relationships relevant remedy remembrance remorse repetition replacement reproof respect responsibility responsible retain retention riches righteousness righteous risk robber romance rubies safety sailor salvation schools scorner secret security seduction seeing see self-sufficiency self-sufficient serpent seven deadly sins seven sexist sexual sin sex short-term silver simple simplicity sinners sin skepticism slander sleeplessness sleep slothfulness sluggard smoke to the eyes smoke son soul sowing spleen spouse stability stranger strange strife striving successful success suicide surgeon sword talents talk taxes teacher television temptation tendencies thief thieves thinking think thoughtfulness thoughts thought threats time tithe tree of life trust truth tv vehicles vice video games vinegar to the teeth vinegar violence violent virtue virtuous woman visual voice of God voice vulgar walking war wealth well wickedness wicked wife will wine wisdom wise sayings wise wives woman word of God words workplace work worry young man young people young youth