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15 The one who has put up security for a stranger[a] will surely have trouble,[b]
but whoever avoids[c] shaking hands[d] is secure.[e]

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  1. Proverbs 11:15 sn The “stranger” could refer to a person from another country or culture, as it often does, but it could also refer to an unknown Israelite, with the idea that the individual stands outside the known and respectable community.
  2. Proverbs 11:15 tn The sentence begins with the Niphal imperfect and the cognate (רַע־יֵרוֹעַ, raʿ yeroaʿ), stressing that whoever does this “will certainly suffer hurt.” The hurt in this case will be financial responsibility for a bad risk.
  3. Proverbs 11:15 tn Heb “hates.” The term שֹׂנֵא (soneʾ) means “to reject,” and here “to avoid.” The participle is substantival, functioning as the subject of the clause. The next participle, תֹקְעִים (toqeʿim, “striking hands”), is its object, telling what is hated. The third participle בּוֹטֵחַ (boteach, “is secure”) functions verbally.
  4. Proverbs 11:15 tn Heb “striking.” The term “hands” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied. The imagery here is shaking hands to seal a contract. It does not refer to greeting people with a handshake or exclude all business agreements.
  5. Proverbs 11:15 tn The participle בּוֹטֵחַ (boteakh) means to “be secure, confident, safe, or care free.” In this verse it applies specifically to the issue of putting up security for another, not all the rest of life. A person who avoids this bad decision has no worries about its consequences.