“One who puts up security for” someone else makes an agreement to cover that person’s financial commitment to a third party — if the obligation is not met.
While many of us might be willing to do this for a loved one or good friend, it would not seem to be financially wise to do, as this verse says, for a “stranger” or “outsider” whom we hardly know.
Our proverb tells us the result of such a situation would be to “take the garment of one…” and “hold it in pledge.” It suggests the one who will lose their shirt over this arrangement is he or she who did the co-signing.
In reality, if we really believe God wants us to cover another’s financial commitments, maybe we should just give them the money in the first place.
That way we won’t get surprised or inconvenienced by what happens. It also won’t put pressure on our relationship if they struggle and can’t take care of their obligation.
Our verse doesn’t say it’s a sin to co-sign — just that it’s not very smart and will probably cost us!