Proverbs 11:15

ESV Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm, but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure.
NIV Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.
NASB One who is a guarantor for a stranger will certainly suffer for it, But one who hates being a guarantor is secure.
CSB If someone puts up security for a stranger, he will suffer for it, but the one who hates such agreements is protected.
NLT There’s danger in putting up security for a stranger’s debt; it’s safer not to guarantee another person’s debt.
KJV He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.
NKJV He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But one who hates being surety is secure.

What does Proverbs 11:15 mean?

Scripture does not say that all forms of lending are wrong. Rather, it points out the risks involved. In this verse, Solomon is specifically warning his students not to cosign a loan, or take on other debts or obligations, on behalf of a stranger. He had previously addressed this issue in chapter 6, but the mention of it again shows the serious of the transaction. If the first party to the loan reneges on his obligation to make payments, the cosigner is held responsible. This responsibility might bankrupt him and cause him to lose all his possessions.

Proverbs 22:26–27 likewise advises: "Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?" Solomon points out that there is safety in avoiding cosigning altogether. It is always wise to acknowledge God as the owner of all we have; we are simply stewards of what He has given to us. Therefore, we should be careful to use our funds in a way that He directs.
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