My son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; for you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; plead with your friend.
The Bible teaches very high standards for our words, promises and pledges. Solomon here warns of the dangers of promising something unwisely. If you have committed to pay a loan if your friend can’t pay it, be prepared to pay it. Never assume that your pledge will not be called on. Sometimes others can wheedle us into promising to help by assuring us our help won’t be needed. Beware! If you can’t afford to keep your promise in the worst-case scenario, Solomon urges you to do everything you honestly can do to get out of the trap you have got yourself in.
Read more about God’s standards of honesty in “The Ninth Commandment: You Shall Not Bear False Witness.”