Friendship

See also Friend

frend, frend’-ship: In the Old Testament two words, variously translated "friend" or "companion": re`eh, indicating a mere associate, passing friend, neighbor, or companion; ’ahabh, indicating affection natural or unnatural. In the New Testament also two words: hetairos, "a comrade," or "fellow," and philos, suggesting a more affectionate relation.


In the New Testament, Jesus and His disciples illustrate the growth of friendship from that of teacher and disciple, lord and servant, to that of friend and friend (Joh 15:13-15). Paul and Timothy are likewise conspicuous (2Ti 1:2).

In general literature we have the classic incident, recorded by Plutarch, of Damon and Pythias during the rule of Dionysius. Pythias, condemned to death, was about to be executed but desired to see his family. Damon offered himself as a ransom in case he should not return in time for the hour of execution. Returning in time, both were released by the great Dionysius, who asked to be taken into the secret of such friendship. The writings on friendship are many. Plato and Cicero have immortalized themselves by their comments. Cicero held dearly the friendship of Scipio, declaring that of all that Nature or Fortune ever gave him there was nothing which could compare with the friendship of Scipio. Bacon, Emerson, Black, Gladden, King, Hillis, and many others in later days have written extensively concerning friendship. The best illustration of the double use of the word (see above) is that in Pr 18:24, "He that maketh many friends doeth it to his own destruction; but there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Again, "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" (27:17). The honesty and frankness of genuine friends are set forth in the maxim, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend" (27:6).

Walter G. Clippinger