Proverbs 20:6

Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
– Proverbs 20:6

The words for goodness and faithful are both terms that speak of loyalty, or steadfastness. The contrast in the proverb is between talk and reality. Many will claim loyalty but few are truly loyal. A true friend speaks faithfully (Proverbs 27:6), without hurting his friend (Proverbs 29:5). This proverb is counterpart to the saying about the virtuous woman (Proverbs 31:10). The proverb highlights rarity, but not impossibility, for other proverbs speak of faithful friends (Proverbs 17:17; 18:24).

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Proverbs 19:4

Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbor.
– Proverbs 19:4

The word for maketh means to add. Wealth adds many friends, or continues to add them. The word for friends is a common and general word that can cover a range of associations. The same word is translated neighbor in the second phrase. The contrast indicates the poor lose friends as the rich add them (Proverbs 14:20). This proverb is a wisdom observation and complements Proverbs 18:24.

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Proverbs 17:17

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
– Proverbs 17:17

The word for adversity means straits, or tightness. It describes troubles of all kinds. Adversity tries men’s hearts and the relationships we have with one another. Adversity proves the worth of family relations and true friends (Proverbs 19:6-7). Friends can be fickle (Proverbs 14:20; 19:4), but can also be true (Proverbs 18:24). That last reference also hints at a proverbial form of the golden rule (Luke 6:31). So, if you seek loyal, loving friendships, be a loyal, loving friend (Proverbs 27:10).

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