Proverbs – Chapter 27 –
Wisdom and Benefits in Friendship
Today’s selection is about friendship. The Old Testament Hebrew has two root words that have been translated as friend:
- aw-hab’ which means someone for whom we have affection and love. It can be sexually or otherwise.
- ray’-ah meaning an associate, neighbor, companion, friend
The word “faithful” could be translated “building up”, “fostering”, “trustworthy, “helpful”. The word translated as friend is “aw-hab’”. Here we learn that those who love us may tell us something that hurts us to help us because we need to hear it. Sometimes it hurts to hear the truth but it is necessary for our growth. Jesus warned his disciples to be wary of those who flattered them (Lk 6:26).
The distinction between the two words is clear in Pro 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Here, first, “friends” and “friendly” are based on “ray’ah”, while the friend closer than a brother is translated from “aw-hab’”. The first part of this proverb shows us how to develop friendships. The second part refers to Jesus’ loving friendship for us. (John 15:13-15)
An example of this affectionate friendship is also that between David and Jonathan. (See 1 Sam 18:1)
Proverbs 27:9 – “Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart.” (Ampl)
Proverbs 27:10 – This proverb shows the importance of keeping our friendships even with older friends. Our family may be far off while our friends are near in times of need.
Proverbs 27:14 – Excess in praising by friends raises suspicion.
Proverbs 27:17 – When our friends (“ray’ah”) rub us the wrong way, they help us to grow.
We have seen other proverbs and Scripture warning us about choosing friends wisely because they will have an effect on us see http://mzchurch.org/biblerd/?s=friend.
I thank you Father, for your instructions about friendship. We need friends and our friends need us. But the most important friendships for us should be with Jesus, our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit. God is our friend and has created us to be His friends.
Thank you Lord, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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