Verse 24. A man that hath friends must show himself friendly - Love begets love; and love requires love as its recompense. If a man do not maintain a friendly carriage, he cannot expect to retain his friends.
Friendship is a good plant; but it requires cultivation to make it grow.
There is a kind of factitious friendship in the world, that, to show one's self friendly in it, is very expensive, and in every way utterly unprofitable: it is maintained by expensive parties. feasts, &c., where the table groans with dainties, and where the conversation is either jejune and insipid, or calumnious; backbiting, talebearing, and scandal, being the general topics of the different squads in company.
"There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. " - In many cases the genuine friend has shown more attachment, and rendered greater benefits, than the natural brother. Some apply this to God; others to Christ; but the text has no such meaning.
But critics and commentators are not agreed on the translation of this verse. The original is condensed and obscure. [[wrthl µy[r wa ish reim lehithroea, or lehithroeang, as some would read, who translate: A man of friends may ring again; i.e., he may boast and mightily exult: but there is a friend, bha oheb, a lover, that sticketh closer, qbd dabek, is glued or cemented, jam meach, beyond, or more than, a brother. The former will continue during prosperity, but the latter continues closely united to his friend, even in the most disastrous circumstances.
Hence that maxim of Cicero, so often repeated, and so well known: - Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur.
"In doubtful times the genuine friend is known." A late commentator has translated the verse thus: ] The man that hath many friends is ready to be ruined: But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
"A frende that delyteth in love, doth a man more frendship, and sticketh faster unto him, than a brother." COVERDALE.
"A man that hath friends ought to show himself friendly for a friend is nearer than a brother." BARKER'S Bible, 1615.
"A man amyable to felowschip, more a freend schal ben thanne a brother." - Old MS. Bible. The two last verses in this chapter, and the two first of the next, are wanting in the Septuagint and Arabic.
These are the principal varieties; out of them the reader may choose. I have already given my opinion.