The ninth discourse consists of a series of four warnings that when taken in the overall context, amount to problems that can rob a person of marital happiness, since both the eighth and tenth discourses deal with adultery.
Verses 1-5 deal with a person who has placed himself in a position of being a guarantor for the debts of another person. For most of us, the most familiar modern equivalent to this would be to cosign for someone’s loan which would result in you becoming liable for repayment of the other person’s debt in the event of a default. You wouldn’t necessarily know there’s a problem until you received the demand notice from the lender. The teacher advises that the person who has done this should not rest until they have been released from this obligation, taking whatever means they can do ensure they are freed from its trap.
Laziness is the next thing the teacher warns about in 6-11. Here he enjoins everyone to be industrious and active in providing for the material needs of their families and setting something aside for a “rainy day” so to speak. Imagine living in an agrarian society in which wealth was achieved by producing food. Your first goal would be to produce enough to feed your family. Your second goal would be to produce enough extra to exchange with others for additional supplies that your family might need that you cannot grow or make yourself, and only then can you have enough to sell so that you can have savings for hard times. In such a circumstance, there isn’t much leisure time; thus the warning.
In 12-15 the teacher warns against stirring up trouble within the community. There is no coincidence that this follows the warning about laziness, for this is the kind of person who ends up being the one described in these verses; a troublemaker. This is the person who has a foul mouth, a toxic attitude, someone who would rather scheme and plot than do an honest day’s work. This reminds me of the classic villain in an old Western; the guy who is more interested in cheating someone than earning a living, the guy who always gets killed at the end of the movie.
The last small section really needs no elaboration from me. Seven woes that should be our guides through life:
There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.