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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 17:18

"A man lacking in sense pledges and becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor"

This is interesting because it doesn't say that one should not become surety for someone else. It says it is dumb to pledge at all.


This is the Hebrew word chaser, which means needy or lacking or in want. The idea here is that the person lacks sense because they have entered into an agreement about the future and pledged to a debt with a witness who can testify that, yes, they agreed to pay a certain amount after a certain time.


This is the Hebrew word leb, which means heart or soul. Solomon teaches here, and throughout the Proverbs, that our soul is ours to develop. We can have a small and paltry soul based upon our unwillingness to think and act with wisdom and reflection, or we can have a fat and substantial soul because we have reflected upon life and we have pursued a path of wisdom.

Choose the deep and rich soul. Choose to look at the consequences of each choice you make before you make it. One of the problems with people is that they want what they want and cannot say no to themselves whether that is possessions, sexually, criticism, pride, or a hundred other personal wants. In this case the person cannot say no to some possession, so they go in debt to get it and thereby pledge themselves to paying for it in the future. This means that you should have said no to yourself. You should have realized that you did not have to have whatever was making you look at going into debt; you just wanted it.

Being unable to say no to yourself means that you are just an animal responding to whatever stimuli is in front of you. In this way your soul never develops into the true filter and decider that it should be. You will lurch from one crisis to another as you constantly respond to one temptation and desire after another. It is like temptation has a ring in your nose, and he leads you around by your own desires. In order to gain control over your life, you must more deeply engage your soul and evaluate the temptations and desires that present themselves to you.

One person said it this way, "Say no to something every day. Just to stay in practice."


The word pledgesis actually a Hebrew phrase made from two Hebrew words taqa, which means to thrust or clap or give a blow and kasph, which means hollow or flat of the hand. The idea here is that when two people shook hands on a deal, then it was binding.

Solomon is saying that you are not thinking deeply if you are binding future earnings for present desires.


This is the Hebrew word arubbah, which means pledge, a thing exchanged. When you make a pledge to pay off a present item of decreasing value with future earnings, you are being extremely unwise.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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