Proverbs Chapter 18 has no single theme, but underlying it is the whole subject of the Character and Conduct of the Wise. No Person can get far in life before coming up against the issues touched on in Proverbs Chapter 18: Relationship, Depravity, Words, Fairness, Security. There are some profound observations on these points:
Observation on Personal Relationships:
Proverbs 18:1 (NIV) “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgement.” The unfriendly person is “a Loner.” The term “unfriendly” literally means “he who separates himself.” He is Antisocial, he has little time for anyone else because he is “selfish” and pursues “selfish ends,” that is, he has his own ends in view and the company of others interferes with them.
This brings him into conflict with conventional Wisdom – “Sound Judgement” – for in order to justify being different from others he has to criticize and condemn normal thinking and behaviour. The word for “defies” is strong, literally “breaks out,” suggesting that from his ivory tower he issues scornful denunciations of the lives and views of his fellow-citizens. This kind of person is introduced in Proverbs 18:1, as one not to be emulated, for the truth is, not that he is superior to others, but that he cannot form relationships.
Proverbs 18:24a (NIV) “A man of many companions may come to ruin.” Proverbs Chapter 18 ended on the subject of Personal Relationships on which it began, but with the complete opposite of the Loner (unfriendly Person – Proverbs 18:1). The meaning of Proverbs 18:24a is a bit obscure but it describes a person who has many Friends, that is, he is a Good Mixer who treats all alike and is “every man’s friend.” There is no depth in relationship.
At first glance, this great Socialiser seems the ideal, yet we are told he “may come to ruin,” because in adversity he had no one to whom he is close enough to command his loyalty, no one such as the part two of Proverbs 18:24b (NIV) “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” It is possible to have so many friends that we have no real friends!
To be continued…… Stay Tuned.