||In several continental Western European legal systems, a person may be liable in person or through his property for payment of a debt which is not his. Both personal surety and a pledge which has been alienated by its owner come to mind. Under such circumstances, the question rises whether a creditor can attach the surety or the pledge before seeking payment from the debtor. According to classical Roman law, the creditor had a right to choose. However, emperor Justinian changed the law in this regard, forcing the creditor to first seek recourse against his debtor, even to the point of insolvency proceedings. This rule later became known as the ‘beneficium ordinis’ or ‘beneficium excussionis / discussionis’. Over the ages, the rule has come under severe attack, which resulted in it either being abandoned or modified, so as not to interfere with creditors’ rights. The author tracks these developments through the medieval European ‘ius commune’ into French law, Roman-Dutch law and modern Dutch law. The latter has extended the rule in 1992 for real security interests, while at the same time abandoning it for sureties. It is asserted that this was a mistake and the rule should be abolished entirely.