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SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 17:17-18

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SIH TOTT ICONHe layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous (Prov 2:7)


The Wisdom of The Lord: The Value Of Friendship: Proverbs 17:17-18

17) A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
18) A man void of understanding striketh hands, [and] becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

In this text we can see the importance of obtaining and keeping friends…


17) A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
What does this Proverb mean by the phrase “friend”?  The Hebrew word translated “friend” in this proverb is a word that commonly refers to a shepherd caring for his sheep.  It is translated as “shepherd”, “companion”,  “feed”, “herdman” etc.  How is a “shepherd” related to a “friend”?   This word is teaching us that a true friend is one that cares for his cohort.  He will watch for his welfare, work to help meet his needs and be willing to give of himself for his friend’s benefit.

1.  A friend is one that possesses an ever-present, love for his cohort.  This love makes him willing to sacrifice himself for the other’s benefit.
2.  Family members should be willing to stand with their brethren in times of affliction and distress.  When needed the most, a family member will be a willing companion when others will not.  This unquestioning companionship is one of many reasons why the Lord created the family unit.

Also, the term “brother” could also be referring to a friend.  If so, this is teaching us that a true friend will be a faithful companion just as if he were a family member.

The motivation of love will cause family members, and friends, to give of themselves for their distressed, struggling loved ones.  This is the mark of a genuine friend.

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”   (John 15:12-15)

18) A man void of understanding striketh hands, [and] becometh surety in the presence of his friend.
A true friend will never act rashly and harm his friend, even at the risk of offending his friend…

In this case, a man that becomes surety for a friend’s debt is only hurting his friend. We know from a previous study (Provs 11:15) that refusing to be surety for a friend is an act of wisdom and genuine love.  Please refer to that devotional for additional information on the subject of suretyship.

When a man becomes a surety for his friend, he is showing himself to be lacking a true understanding of the responsibilities of friendship.  He is emotionally putting the desires of his friend leading to their friend’s eventual harm.

This verse is very important indeed, because it helps us to understand that true friends will NEVER do anything that will lead to a friend’s harm.  Even at the risk of offending the friend and, perhaps, losing the friendship, a genuine friend will only act for the benefit of the friend.

My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, [if] thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,  Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.  Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.  Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.  Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand [of the hunter], and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.”   (Proverbs 6:1-5)


A genuine friend’s value is incalculable because they will, much like a family member, will ALWAYS work for our benefit, giving of themselves and keeping us from harm.  A genuine friend will actually risk the friendship for the sake of stopping a friend from harming themselves through unwise decision making.

By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.

May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.

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  1. Terry says:

    thank you Rob

  2. Debbie says:

    Thank you for this look at true friendship! God bless you!

  3. great teaching about the value of a true friend, and the value of friendship.

  4. […] think this blog post, SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 17:17-18, at Settled In Heaven helps to explain the Bible passage I quoted in WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT OUR […]

  5. SLIMJIM says:

    Appreciate this study

  6. We all need such a friend.
    We all need to BE such a friend.
    Thanks Rob.

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