|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
One who becomes responsible for another. Christ is the surety of the better covenant (Hebrews 7:22). In him we have the assurance that all its provisions will be fully and faithfully carried out. Solomon warns against incautiously becoming security for another (Proverbs 6:1-5; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16).
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) A pledge, guarantee or security to insure a debt or obligation.
2. (n.) That which makes sure; that which confirms; ground of confidence or security.
3. (n.) Security against loss or damage; security for payment, or for the performance of some act.
4. (n.) One who is bound with and for another who is primarily liable, and who is called the principal; one who engages to answer for another's appearance in court, or for his payment of a debt, or for performance of some act; a bondsman; a bail.
5. (n.) Hence, a substitute; a hostage.
6. (n.) Evidence; confirmation; warrant.
7. (v. t.) To act as surety for.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
shoor'-ti: This word is used in three different connections or groups:
(1) As a derivative of the word "sure" it means "of a certainty" or "surely."-In Genesis 15:13 the infinitive absolute of the verb is used to give emphasis to the idea of the verb and is rendered "of a surety." In Genesis 18:13 the Hebrew 'omnam is translated "of a surety." In Genesis 26:9 'akh is similarly rendered, and has the force of our "indeed." In Acts 12:11 alethos, is translated in the King James Version "of a surety," but better in the Revised Version (British and American) "of a truth."
(2) In the sense of security or pledge for a person.-This means that one person may become security for another, that such a one will do a certain thing at a time in the future. Judah was "surety" to his father Jacob that Benjamin would safely return from Egypt (Genesis 43:9). He pledged his life that the younger brother would return safely. He tells Joseph (Genesis 44:32) how he had become surety for Benjamin, and offers to become Joseph's slave for the sake of his brother. Job says (Job 17:3), "Give now a pledge, be surety for me with thyself; who is there that will strike hands with me?" The striking of hands refers to the action or gesture by which the surety or pledge was publicly manifested and thus ratified. Job here beseeches God to become surety for him, to pledge him that some time in the future He will cause Job's innocence to be made known and be acknowledged by God Himself. In Isaiah 38:14 Hezekiah says, "O Lord, I am oppressed, be thou my surety." He wishes God to give him a pledge of some kind, to go security for him in such a way that he will surely be saved out of his sickness and distress. Jesus is called "the surety (egguos) of a better covenant" (Hebrews 7:22). Jesus is the pledge or surety that through Him we may obtain the assurance and certainty that a more excellent covenant has been established by God, and are assured also of the truth of the promises connected with it.
(3) It is used to describe the practice of going security for another by striking hands with that person and becoming responsible for money or any object loaned.-The Book of Proverbs unhesitatingly condemns the practice. No mention is made of it in the Mosaic Law, as if the custom were then practically unknown. The Book of Proverbs makes no distinction between a stranger and a neighbor; the person who does such a thing is likened unto an animal caught in a trap. He is exhorted to sleep no more until he has got out of the trap, or freed himself from this obligation (Proverbs 6:1-5). The wisdom of such advice has been abundantly verified by experience. It does not necessarily preclude certain special cases, where the practice may be justified. The international relationships of the Jews in the period of the monarchy, together with the unsettled condition of the country (Nehemiah 5:3) and people, needed such commercial strictness. Their trade was mostly in the hands of the Phoenicians and other foreigners, and the pressure of taxation for the payment of foreign tribute, etc., was heavy (Nehemiah 5:4 f). Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 17:18 declare one "void of understanding" who thus goes security for another. Proverbs 20:16 seems to contain an exclamation of contemptuous rebuke for the man who goes security. Proverbs 22:26; Proverbs 27:13 contain like admonitions.
See DEBT; PLEDGE; SECURITY; STRIKE.
James Josiah Reeve
Surety (21 Occurrences)
Acts 12:11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the LORD hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. (KJV)
Ephesians 5:5 For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (ASV)
1 Thessalonians 5:3 for when they may say, Peace and surety, then sudden destruction doth stand by them, as the travail 'doth' her who is with child, and they shall not escape; (YLT)
Hebrews 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Genesis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; (KJV JPS ASV RSV)
Genesis 18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? (KJV JPS ASV)
Genesis 26:9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife; and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her. (KJV JPS ASV)
Genesis 43:9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Genesis 44:32 For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Joshua 2:24 And they said to Joshua, Of a surety Jehovah has given the whole land into our hands, and even all the inhabitants of the land faint because of us. (DBY)
Job 17:3 Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me? (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS RSV)
Job 34:12 Yea, of a surety, God will not do wickedly, Neither will the Almighty pervert justice. (See JPS ASV)
Psalms 119:122 Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV)
Proverbs 6:1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Proverbs 11:15 He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Proverbs 17:18 A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Proverbs 20:16 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Proverbs 20:19 A revealer of secret counsels is the busybody, And for a deceiver 'with' his lips make not thyself surety. (YLT)
Proverbs 22:26 Be thou not of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts; (See RSV)
Proverbs 27:13 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Isaiah 38:14 Like a swallow or a crane, so did I chatter; I did moan as a dove; mine eyes fail with looking upward: O Lord, I am oppressed, be thou my surety. (See JPS ASV YLT)