If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, have been caught with the words of your mouth
This verse is the continuation of the idea developed in verse one – namely, that you have promised to pay the debts of another person. But it also carries a nugget of wisdom about the use of the tongue that is surely independent of co-signing and borrowing. Namely, that one can be put into a snare by what they say.
if you have been snared with the words of your mouth
The word snare is the Hebrew word yaqosh and appears first in the sentence. This emphasizes the word and the importance of the concept in the sentence. The writer is trying to emphasize that promising certain things is a trap or a snare which you make yourself. This is foolish talk.
The second word in the Hebrew sentence is speech or words. And the third word is mouth. In other words, the sentence reads: A trap built with words out of your mouth. This is the definition of foolishness. Who would build their own trap? Who would build a trap for themselves using their own words that everyone knew came out of their own mouth? Who would walk into a trap to be caught? Who would walk into their own trap that they themselves designed? The answer to each of these questions is A FOOL.
In trying to appear big and generous, the fool has built and stepped into a trap. How impulsive and lacking sense.
Let’s expand the application of this idea a little further. How many of us have used our mouth to spin a tale that is really not true but makes us look good? This is also a trap built with our own words. We then are forced to openly admit our fabrication or to protect our tale with greater fabrications. Don’t build a trap with your own words. Tell the truth. Don’t try and have people be impressed with you because of what you say or what you do. Just do the right thing and the appropriate praise will come to you. When we try and make ourselves look better, through loaning people money or stretching the truth, it is a trap that will be an uncomfortable prison.
If you have built one of these traps, before it springs closed verse 4 tells us to get out by telling the truth and canceling the contract. Don’t allow yourself to be caught.
have been caught with the words of your mouth
There is a difference between the first phrase and the second phrase. The first is a snare that has been built but it has not been sprung. The second is the trap that has been closed and caught someone – namely, you. The first phrase refers to before the problem has occurred and the second is after you have been caught by what you said and made to pay for another.
In either case the person must do the same thing: seek deliverance from the trap. It is obviously better to be delivered before the trap has sprung shut.
The picture is of a person who is walking down the path of life and stops to build a steel cage on the side of the road to impress his friends. Instead of making progress on the path, he is busy building this cage. Then he walks into the cage and waits for the door to be thrown closed and locked. It is the friends that you have been trying to impress who will throw the door closed and imprison you. Don’t let this happen. Keep moving on the path of life.
When we make a pledge to cover the debts of others, this is a fool’s trap. Only a fool needs us to cover their debts, and the goods purchased by such an arrangement did not need to be purchased.
I have watched as people have derailed their marriages, families, and even careers to help out a friend, relative, or boss. Often these include bailing a person out of prison or co-signing for a car or starting a business. When the debt becomes due, it totally destabilizes the helper’s life while the person who needed the help moves forward without them.
Do not do this…
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.