16 Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger;
hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.
17 Food gained by fraud tastes sweet,
but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.
There are numerous warnings in Proverbs about risky deals, the one who puts up security for a stranger “has no sense” and “will surely suffer.” If you must deal with such a person it is prudent to protect yourself with a deposit, which in those times was often a garment. If you do get stuck in a bad deal, Solomon’s advice (Chapter 6) is to waste no time in resolving it, as such things only get worse over time.
“Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.” A moment of sweetness is not worth a lifetime of regret, fraud may benefit in the short term but it will eventually catch up with you. “It’s just this once,” temptation fraudulently whispers, with full intentions of trapping you in a vice. Those who are caught committing fraud are often found to have been doing it for a while, once begun it is not an easy thing to quit. Provide for yourself honestly, and you will avoid the anxieties and consequences of living a lie.