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Walk Away from Stupid Promises Before Being Trapped
Proverbs 6:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter: The Hebrew verb (נָצַל natsal) rendered deliver yourself means simply to save your life and has the sense of to escape with your life, to flee from or avoid this commitment at all costs. The sense of the word is to escape, to successfully run away from or avoid confinement or danger. It is the same verb from verse 3 that was rendered deliver yourself and meant for the young man to save himself, remove himself, free himself, and flee from the danger of his commitment or pledge. Gazelle renders a Hebrew noun (צְבִי tsebi) that refers to a fast-running and graceful antelope, which stresses the need to move quickly in removing oneself from this commitment.
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler: Here bird (צִפּוֹר tsippor or צִפֹּר tsippor) is referring to any of the various kinds of birds. However, the focus seems to be on a small bird. From the hand refers to the hand’s capability, its ability to take hold of something, to grab, grasp, or catch. The fowler (יָקוּשׁ yaqush) is referring to someone who traps fowls for good, specifically, a bird hunter—one who lays snares for birds.
Here Solomon is telling the Israelite who has acted impulsively by offering assurances in a financial deal for a stranger or neighbor, who then realizes his stupidity on what seemed wise at first but upon further examination looks as if it is risky and foolish not to sleep through one night without getting out of the commitment. This Israelite needs to run from the deal he had made, like a gazelle from a hunter or a bird from the trapper!
We should note that it is not unbiblical or wrong to become collateral (a guarantee) for someone we know well enough to make such a commitment. It can be an act of justice or charity on our part as servants of God. It may be an act of friendliness for a friend. It does not mean that we are being reckless. Paul became obliged for Onesimus. (Philemon 1:19) There may be a young person that we can help get a higher education or start a small business or get an automobile using our established name because he has not had enough time for the world to see that he is honest, diligent and hardworking. What if it is a friend whose husband had died, and he was the one with the credit, and she now needs help in gaining credit. The world only sees credit scores, so we are nothing but a number, but God’s people see the person.
Having said that, as a person of God, we try to avoid debt as much as may be possible. Debt is a hindrance, an inconvenience nuisance upon God’s people, and it puts us in danger of wrongdoing and suffering wrong. Those who borrow are enslaved to the lender, not to mention being enslaved to Satan’s world. The apostle Paul tells us, “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” It is tremendous foolishness to ensnare ourselves with impoverished who live risky lives and never seem to find stability and become accountable for their debts, as they are constantly seeking money, as they dig one hole for themselves after another. Another wise move is never to take on any other person’s debt if they default that we cannot afford to pay. If we have found ourselves ensnared in the debt of another, it is best to get out of it if possible or take care of it as fast as possible to avoid extra debt with interest. We had a misstep in judgment, so we need to humble ourselves now instead of ruining the rest of our lives by our pride, haughtiness, and hardheadedness.