|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:19. Great care must be taken to prevent quarrels among relations and those under obligations to each other. Wisdom and grace make it easy to forgive; but corruption makes it difficult. 20. The belly is here put for the heart, as elsewhere; and what that is filled with, our satisfaction will be accordingly, and our inward peace. 21. Many a one has caused his own death, or the death of others, by a false or injurious tongue. 22. A good wife is a great blessing to a man, and it is a token of Divine favour. 23. Poverty tells men they must not order or demand. And at the throne of God's grace we are all poor, and must use entreaties. 24. Christ Jesus never will forsake those who trust in and love him. May we be such friends to others, for our Master's sake. Having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them unto the end; and we are his friends if we do whatever he commands us, Joh 15:14.
Verse 24. - A man that hath friends must show himself friendly. The Authorized Version is certainly not correct. The Hebrew is literally, a man of friends will come to destruction. The word הִתְרועֵעַ (hithroea) is the hithp, infinitive of רעע, "to break or destroy" (comp. Isaiah 24:19); and the maxim means that the man of many friends, who lays himself out to make friends of bad and good alike, does so to his own ruin. They will feed upon him, and exhaust his resources, but will not stand by him in the day of calamity, nay, rather will give a helping hand to his downfall. It is not the number of so called friends that is really useful and precious. But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 27:10).
Νόμιζ ἀδελφοὺς τοὺς ἀληθινοὺς φίλους.
"Thy true friends hold as very brethren." The Vulgate has, Vir amabilis ad societatem magis amicus erit quam frater, "A man amiable in intercourse will be more of a friend than even a brother."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A man that hath friends must show himself friendly,.... Friendship ought to be mutual and reciprocal, as between David and Jonathan; a man that receives friendship ought to return it, or otherwise he is guilty of great ingratitude. This may be spiritually applied; a believer is "a man of friends" (b), as it may be rendered; he has many friends: God is his friend, as appears by his early love to him, his choice of him, and provisions of grace for him; by sending his son to save him; by visiting him, not only in a way of providence, but of grace; by disclosing his secrets, showing his covenant to him, and by making him his heir, and a joint heir with Christ. Christ is his friend, as is evident from his visiting him at his incarnation; and in a spiritual way, by the communication of his secrets to him; by his hearty counsel and faithful reproofs; by his undertaking and doing for him what he has; and especially by suffering and dying in his room and stead. The Holy Spirit is his friend, which he has shown by discovering to him his woeful estate by nature, and the way of salvation by Christ; by working all his works in him; by acting the part of a Comforter to him; by revealing divine things to him, by helping him under all his infirmities; by making intercession for him according to the will of God; and by making him meet for eternal glory and happiness: angels are his friends, as is plain by their well pleasedness with the incarnation of Christ for men; and which they express at their conversion; by their ministering to them, their protection of them, and the good offices they do them both in life and at death; and saints are friends to one another: and such should show themselves friendly to God, their covenant God and Father; by frequently visiting him at the throne of grace; by trusting in him; by a carefulness not to offend, but please him; and by a close and faithful adherence to his cause and interest: to Jesus Christ their Redeemer, by a ready obedience to his commands; by owning and using him as their friend; by taking notice of his friends, and showing them respect, his ministers and poor saints; by cleaving to him, and renouncing the friendship of his enemies: and likewise to the Holy Spirit, by not grieving, quenching, and despising him; but by making use of him, and giving up themselves to his influence and direction; and by acknowledging him as the author of all their grace: also to angels, by speaking well of them, owning their good offices, and reckoning it an honour that they are come and joined to such a company; and to the saints, by Christian conversation with them, by sympathizing with them in all conditions, by hearty counsel, faithful reproofs and admonitions, and by helping them in every distress, inward and outward;
and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother; who is to a man as his own soul, Deuteronomy 13:6; and so are of one heart and soul, as Jonathan and David, and the first Christians, were; this is true of Christ, and may be expressive of the close union between him and his people; and of his close adherence to their cause and interest; and of his constancy and continuance as a friend at all times; and of his faithfulness and unchangeableness as such; see Proverbs 17:17. The Heathens had a deity which presided over friendship, which they called Jupiter Philios (c): the character best agrees with the true God, who is a friend to men himself, and loves friendship among them.
(b) "vir amicorum", Montanus, Vatablus, Baynus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "vir sodalium", Cocceius, Schultens. (c) Aristoph. Acharn. Acts 3. Sc. 2. v. 2. Pausan. Arcadica sive, l. 8. p. 506.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. A man … friendly—better, "A man … (is) to, or, may triumph (Ps 108:9), or, shout for joy (Ps 5:11), that is, may congratulate himself." Indeed, there is a Friend who is better than a brother; such is the "Friend of sinners" [Mt 11:19; Lu 7:34], who may have been before the writer's mind.
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