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Caught by Your Words, Entrapped by Your Promises
Proverbs 6:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
3 Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself,
for you have come into the palm of your neighbor:
go, humble yourself, plead with your neighbor.
Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself: Here the Hebrew conjunction then transitions us from the “if” clauses of verses 1-2 into the commands of verse 3. Do this is basically saying that this is what you are to do if you wish to deliver (save) yourself. Deliver yourself means saving yourself, removing yourself, free yourself, and flee from danger, the snare.
For you have come into the palm of your neighbor: The Hebrew word (כַּף kaph) is rendered “hand” (ASV, ESV, NSSB) but it literally means “palm.” ‘In, into, or under the palm (hand) of someone’ means to be under their control, power or dominion. “you have come into the control of your neighbor.”
Go, humble yourself, plead with your neighbor: The Hebrew verb (רָפַס raphas or רָפַשׂ raphas) whose form and meaning seem to have the sense of tread on oneself, trample oneself down, or crush down. This means acting modestly, unassuming way, having no arrogance and pride.
The proverb is warning the reader about being too quick to offer some kind of financial security for a stranger or neighbor that was not well known in the community to place that kind of trust in him. It would be foolish to take such a risk with one’s finances. This warning is not to take away from the Law that exhorted them to help their fellow Israelite brother who fell on hard times by loaning him money without interest, helping him with food, or even taking him in for a time. (Leviticus 25:35-38) However, if the new neighbor is not well known, he could be a social misfit who does not take care of his responsibilities wisely. Then, in this case, you would be naive to risk your family’s finances on such an unknown. There may have been a trustworthy Israelite neighbor involving himself in a risky business venture. He may have needed more capital, so he would look to his friends and neighbors to invest with him. This would be foolish, too, because the debt would be on those invested if the deal fell through. It is like cosigning for a house loan today. If the borrowers fail to make the payments, the cosigner is responsible for the loan.
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