2 Samuel 13:3-4 But Amnon had a very crafty friend—his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimea. One day Jonadab said to Amnon, “What’s the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?” So Amnon told him, “I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
Oh, Amnon! if only you had been more discerning in the selection of your confidant and in the content of his counsel.
Jonadab was ‘crafty.’ The King James Version uses the word subtil, “But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab… and Jonadab was a very subtil man.” This word is only used two other times in scripture, both uses are negative in nature. Let’s take a look and see who shares Jonadab’s company.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1 KJV)
And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.(Proverbs 7:10 KJV) Needless to say, Jonadab shared some abominable company.
Synonyms for subtle, as we would spell it today, include crafty, devious, fraudulent, insidious, guileful, and scheming.(1)
Ladies, there is absolutely no substitute for godly friends. Their influence upon us cannot be overemphasized. The book of Proverbs has much to say about friends that gives enlightening descriptions and alerts us to the outcome of the friends we choose.
- Proverbs 10:31-32 “The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off. The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.”
- Proverbs 12:26, “The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.”
- Proverbs 16:28, “A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.”
- Proverbs 17:17, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”
- Proverbs 17:18, “It's poor judgment to guarantee another person's debt or put up security for a friend.”
- Proverbs 19:6, “Many seek favors from a ruler; everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts!”
- Proverbs 18:19, “An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.”
- Proverbs 18:24, “There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
- Proverbs 19:4, “Wealth makes many "friends"; poverty drives them all away.”
- Proverbs 22:11, “Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend.”
- Proverbs 25:19, “Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.”
- Proverbs 26:18-19, “Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon is someone who lies to a friend and then says, ‘I was only joking.’"
- Proverbs 27:6, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”
- Proverbs 27:9, “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.”
- Proverbs 27:10, “Never abandon a friend–either yours or your father's. When disaster strikes, you won't have to ask your brother for assistance. It's better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.”
- Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Out of all the factors that determine friendship, integrity should top the list. This doesn’t mean we cannot befriend those who struggle with issues of truthfulness, loyalty, and discretion. Certainly not! Where would we be if someone had not mirrored to us a more honorable way! We must, however, be acutely and extremely aware of those who have our ear, those from whom we receive counsel, those who influence our thinking and behavior. Proverbs 13:20 asserts, “Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” The Message (3)
1) Think of one your closest friends.
What factors or characteristics determined your friendship?
2) What do you think Proverbs 27:6 means: “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”
3) Can you think of a time that you personally experienced this scripture?
4) Was ‘the wound’ done in humility and graciousness?
5) How did ‘the delivery’ affect your acceptance of it?
6) If you were the friend who delivered ‘the wound,’ did you do so with wisdom, kindness and discretion?
7) Please read Galatians 6:1, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” How do you carry out your friendship duty according to this scripture?
According to Proverbs 18:8, gossip is a dainty morsel eaten with great relish It is the downfall of many precious friendships: leaving hearts feeling betrayed, broken, disillusioned, stranded and lonely.
Contrast these scriptures…
Proverbs 16:28, “A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.
Proverbs 17:17, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”
Gossip is subtle but deadly. Loyalty, however, is intrinsic to true friendship and should be overt in expression. The time to be loyal to a friend who is being attacked is when the gossip or criticism is happening. Don’t stay silent then later go to your friend and share the hurtful accusations. This only serves to relieve your conscience! No! May it never be! Speak up and defend the one who is not there to defend themselves. Proverbs 31:8 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” Further, after you have defended your friend, resist the temptation to later heap the refuse on her. If possible, protect her from having to deal with with the painful words against her.
An anonomus poem gives insight into the nature of gossip, “My Name Is Gossip. I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age. The more I am quoted the more I am believed. I flourish at every level of society. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become. I am nobody's friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and ruin marriages. I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartache and indigestion. I spawn suspicion and generate grief. I make innocent people cry in their pillows. Even my name hisses. I AM CALLED GOSSIP.”(4)
8) In your opinion, (a)what qualifies as gossip and (b)when is it be beneficial to share the gossip with the victim of the attack?
9) Deferring gossip or criticism to defend a friend doesn’t necessarily have to be hostile and confrontational. It could be as simple as saying, “If she hurt you, I don’t think she intended to; Let’s go and talk to her; I’m sorry you are hurt but I can’t help, please go to her. Can you think of other constructive ways to discourage gossip? Practice by writing them here.
Please read these verses from Luke 12:3 and Matthew 12:36 respectively, “Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!” “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” The word careless in Matthew 12:36 means idle, lazy, thoughtless, unprofitable, injurious.
10) With this scripture in mind, how does this affect your views on gossip?
The b part of our key verse sets the stage for a horrific and unimaginable plot, “…One day Jonadab said to Amnon, “What’s the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?” So Amnon told him, “I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
Jonadab was the prince’s cousin. He enjoyed the prestige of the role. He couldn’t possibly see any advantage of jeopardizing such a lucrative relationship by questioning the emotions of Prince Amnon. Ladies, it makes a knot form in my gut when I read how easily the plot forms and begins to roll off the schemer’s tongue; and with absolutely no thought of the destruction of an innocent, trusting, sapling Palm.
With the gift of friendship, comes the responsibility of accountability. I don’t know about you, dear sisters, but I pray for the Lord to give me courage, wisdom and compassion to graciously lend wise counsel to my friends, not just erroneous soothing affirmations when I observe destructive trends.
Oh God, give us brave, loving and discerning hearts to not only comfort, but confront!
Devo 3 resources…
1) synonyms for subtle: http://thesaurus.com/browse/subtle?s=t
3) You version https://www.youversion.com/bible/97/pro.13.20.msg