Fickle, Reviling, & Betraying “Friends”: Biblical Commentary

Fickle, Reviling, & Betraying “Friends”: Biblical Commentary November 29, 2018

Here we see some of the darkest aspects of human nature and sin. It’s not a pretty sight. All passages are from RSV.

Job 16:14 He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.

Job 19:14 My kinsfolk and my close friends have failed me;

Job 19:19 All my intimate friends abhor me, and those whom I loved have turned against me.

Psalms 7:4-5 if I have requited my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, [5] let the enemy pursue me and overtake me, and let him trample my life to the ground, and lay my soul in the dust.

Psalms 15:3 who does not slander with his tongue, and does no evil to his friend, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;

Psalms 38:11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my kinsmen stand afar off.

Psalms 41:9 Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

Psalms 55:12-14, 20-21 It is not an enemy who taunts me — then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me — then I could hide from him. [13] But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. [14] We used to hold sweet converse together; within God’s house we walked in fellowship. . . . [20] My companion stretched out his hand against his friends, he violated his covenant. [21] His speech was smoother than butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, . . .

Proverbs 18:24 There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 27:10 Your friend, and your father’s friend, do not forsake; . . .

Sirach 6:1 and do not become an enemy instead of a friend; for a bad name incurs shame and reproach: so fares the double-tongued sinner.

Sirach 6:8-10 For there is a friend who is such at his own convenience, but will not stand by you in your day of trouble. [9] And there is a friend who changes into an enemy, and will disclose a quarrel to your disgrace. [10] And there is a friend who is a table companion, but will not stand by you in your day of trouble.

Sirach 6:15 There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence.

Sirach 7:12 Do not devise a lie against your brother, nor do the like to a friend.

Sirach 9:10 Forsake not an old friend, for a new one does not compare with him. . . .

Sirach 12:9 . . . in his adversity even his friend will separate from him.

Sirach 22:20 . . . one who reviles a friend will break off the friendship.

Sirach 22:22 . . . as for reviling, arrogance, disclosure of secrets, or a treacherous blow — in these cases any friend will flee.

Sirach 27:17 Love your friend and keep faith with him; . . .

Sirach 37:1-2 . . . some friends are friends only in name. [2] Is it not a grief to the death when a companion and friend turns to enmity?

Sirach 37:4 Some companions rejoice in the happiness of a friend, but in time of trouble are against him.

Jeremiah 12:6 For even your brothers and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; they are in full cry after you; believe them not, though they speak fair words to you.

Micah 7:5 Put no trust in a neighbor, have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom;

Matthew 10:21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death;

Matthew 10:36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.

Matthew 13:54-57 and coming to his own country he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? [55] Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? [56] And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” [57] And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”

Matthew 24:10 And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another.

Mark 3:21-22 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, “He is beside himself.” [22] And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Be-el’zebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”

Luke 12:51-53 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; [52] for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; [53] they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

John 7:5 For even his brothers [i.e., family, kinsmen] did not believe in him.


(originally 3-7-15 on Facebook; expanded on 11-29-18)

Photo credit: The Betrayal (1508), by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]


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