Proverbs 18:24 RSV: “There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” How could that be bad? I then looked up different Bible versions. They were so different from one another.
Let’s start with a better translation, “A man has many friends, but there is one who loves, who clings more closely than a brother.”
The Hebrew is difficult in the first half of the verse, “A man of friends comes to ruin?” The Greek Old Testament says something like, “A man of friends toward friendship…” which some think means “comes to ruin,” and others think “must be friendly himself” (NKJV). No matter the exact meaning of the first half of the verse, the idea of many friends is being contrasted with a single friend of incomparable value (sticks closer than a brother). Solomon is not saying that having many friends is bad; not at all. Solomon is saying that among the many friends a person has, there is, at least the potential, of having a friend who genuinely loves you, who would sacrifice everything for you more reliably and readily than a family member. As Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13).