Proverbs 18:24

ESV A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
NIV One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
NASB A person of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
CSB One with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.
NLT There are 'friends' who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
KJV A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
NKJV A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

What does Proverbs 18:24 mean?

Merely having large numbers of "friends" does not always mean having many deep, committed allies in times of need. In this context, a "man of many companions" suggests a person who seeks popularity and shallow relationships. When times are good, those kinds of associates can be a source of pride, or entertainment. But when times are rough, one finds out quickly who their true friends really are. Even a person well-known and popular can find themselves on hard times, made all the harder when their relationships are superficial.

This proverb is echoed in the English expression "a friend in need is a friend, indeed." The meaning is that being willing to meet another person's need is a sign of true friendship. False and shallow companions don't act like friends, at all, when the relationship might cost them something. When the prodigal son was wasting his inheritance on a raucous lifestyle, he probably had a wide circle of "companions," just in the sense mentioned in this proverb. However, when he was penniless, he "began to be in need" (Luke 15:14). Consequently, he took a lowly job feeding pigs (Luke 15:15). His plight was so bad that he longed to eat what the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything (Luke 15:16). Whatever throng of party mates he might have had before, none of them were there to help when he was in desperate straits.

True friends can be even more loyal than blood family. Although Solomon's observation identifies anyone who is a true friend in time of trouble, the description certainly fits the Lord Jesus. He is the believer's close, true Friend, who promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: