|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
27:9,10. Depend not for relief upon a kinsman, merely for kindred's sake; apply to those who are at hand, and will help in need. But there is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother, and let us place entire confidence in him. 11. An affectionate parent urges his son to prudent conduct that should gladden his heart. The good conduct of Christians is the best answer to all who find fault with the gospel. 12. Where there is temptation, if we thrust ourselves into it, there will be sin, and punishment will follow. 13. An honest man may be made a beggar, but he is not honest that makes himself one. 14. It is folly to be fond of being praised; it is a temptation to pride.
Verse 10. - Another proverb, a tristich, in praise of friendship. It seems to be a combination of two maxims. Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not. A father's friend is one who is connected with a family by hereditary and ancestral bonds; φίλον πατρῷον. Septuagint. Such a one is to be cherished and regarded with the utmost affection. Neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity. The tried friend is more likely to help and sympathize with you than even your own brother, for a friend is born for adversity, and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24, where see notes). The mere blood relationship, which is the result of circumstances over which one has had no control, is inferior to the affectionate connection which arises from moral considerations and is the effect of deliberate choice. We must remember, too, that the practice of polygamy, with the separate establishments of the various wives, greatly weakened the tie of brotherhood. There was little love between David's sons; and Jonathan was far dearer to David himself than any of his numerous brothers were. Better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off. "Near" and "far off" may be taken as referring to feeling or to local position. In the former case the maxim says that a neighbour who is really attached to one by the bonds of affection is better than the closest relation who has no love or sympathy. In the latter view, the proverb enunciates the truth that a friend on the spot in time of calamity is more useful than a brother living at a distance (μακρὰν οἰκῶν, Septuagint); one is sure of help at once from the former, while application to the latter must occasion delay, and may not be successful. Commentators quote Hesiod, Ἔργ. καὶ Ημ., 341 -
Τὸν δὲ μάλιστα καλεῖν ὅστις σέθεν ἐγγύθεναίει
Αἰ γάρ τοι καὶ χρῆμ ἐγκώμιον ἄλλο γένηται
Γείτονες ἄζωστοι ἔκιον ζώσαντο δὲ πηοί
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thine own friend, and thy father's friend forsake not,.... Who have been long tried and proved, and found faithful; these should be kept to and valued, and not new ones sought; which to do is oftentimes of bad consequence. Solomon valued his father's friend Hiram, and kept up friendship with him; but Rehoboam his son forsook the counsel of the old men his father's friends and counsellors, and followed the young mien his new friends, and thereby lost ten tribes at once. Jarchi interprets this of God, the friend of Israel and of their fathers, who is not to be forsaken, and is a friend that loves at all times; and to forsake him is to forsake the fountain of living waters;
neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity; poverty and distress, to tell him thy case, expecting sympathy relief, and succour from him; but rather go to thy friend and father's friend, who sticks closer than a brother; see Proverbs 18:24;
for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off: a neighbour that is a fast and faithful friend, and who is not only near as to place but as to affections is more serviceable and, useful to a man in time of distress than a brother though near in blood, yet as far off in place, so much more in affection, and from whom a man can promise nothing, and little is to be expected. The phrase in the preceding clause signifies a cloudy day, and such a day of distress through poverty is; in which sense it is used by Latin (e) writers, when a man is alone, and former friends care not to come nigh him.
(e) "Tempora si fuerunt nubila, solus eris", Ovid. Trist. 1. Eleg. 8.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. Adhere to tried friends. The ties of blood may be less reliable than those of genuine friendship.
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