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virtually place him on an equal footing with Yahweh and urge,

My son, fear Yahweh and the king, and do not associate with those who change; for disaster from them will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both? Proverbs 24:21-22

With the "stranger" (rz) none of this ambiguous

response appears. It is true that the stranger himself is an ambiguous figure (he belongs to the "neutral group" of enemies), but the responses to him in the context of surety. ship are univocal. He is best avoided.

He who gives surety for a stranger will smart for it, but he who hates suretyship is secure Proverbs 11:1515

Financial dealings with the stranger are indeed dangerous and ought to be avoided. Sometimes, however, the involvement with a stranger is already effective. In that case, people are urged to go to extraordinary lengths to extricate themselves.

My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger; if you are snared in the utterance of your lips, caught in the words of your mouth; then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into your neighbor's power:

15 See also 20:16 and 27:13 on surety for a stranger; cf. 22:26-27 on the problem of surety in general.

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