Abraham is signally honored in being called "the friend of God," Isa 41:8; Jas 2:23. Christ granted a similar honor and blessing to his disciples, Joh 15:15. It is a different word, however, in Greek, by which he addressed Judas, Mt 26:50; the word there translated friend, means simply companion, and appears to have been used as a conversational term not implying friendship. The same word occurs in Mt 20:13; 22:12.
FRIEND is taken for one whom we love and esteem above others, to whom we impart our minds more familiarly than to others, and that from a confidence of his integrity and good will toward us: thus Jonathan and David were mutually friends. Solomon, in his book of Proverbs, gives the qualities of a true friend. "A friend loveth at all times:" not only in prosperity, but also in adversity; and, "there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." He is more hearty in the performance of all friendly offices; he reproves and rebukes when he sees any thing amiss. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." His sharpest reproofs proceed from an upright, and truly loving and faithful soul. He is known by his good and faithful counsel, as well as by his seasonable rebukes. "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart, so does the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel:" by such counsel as comes from his very heart and soul, and is the language of his inward and most serious thoughts. The company and conversation of a friend is refreshing and reviving to a person, who, when alone, is sad, dull, and inactive. "Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." The title, "the friend of God," is principally given to Abraham: "Art not thou our God, who gavest this land to the seed of Abraham, thy friend, for ever?" And in Isa 41:8, "But thou Israel art the seed of Abraham, my friend." "And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God," Jas 2:23. This title was given him, not only because God frequently appeared to him, conversed familiarly with him, and revealed his secrets to him, "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?" Ge 18:17; but also because he entered into a covenant of perpetual friendship both with him and his seed. Our Saviour calls his Apostles "friends:" "But I have called you friends;" and he adds the reason of it, "for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you," Joh 15:15. As men use to communicate their counsels and their whole mind to their friends, especially in things which are of any concern, or may be of any advantage for them to know and understand, so I have revealed to you whatever is necessary for your instruction, office, comfort, and salvation. And this title is not peculiar to the Apostles only, but is common with them to all true believers. The friend of the bridegroom is the brideman; he who does the honours of the wedding, and leads his friend's spouse to the nuptial chamber. John the Baptist, with respect to Christ and his church, was the friend of the bridegroom; by his preaching he prepared the people of the Jews for Christ, Joh 3:29. Friend is a word of ordinary salutation, whether to a friend or foe: he is called friend who had not on a wedding garment, Mt 22:12. And our Saviour calls Judas the traitor friend. Some are of opinion that this title is given to the guest by an irony, or antiphrasis; meaning the contrary to what the word importeth; or that he is called so, because he appeared to others to be Christ's friend; or was so in his own esteem and account, though falsely, being a hypocrite. However, this being spoken in the person of him who made the feast, it is generally taken for a usual compellation, and that Christ, following the like courteous custom of appellation and friendly greeting, did so salute Judas, which yet left a sting behind it in his conscience, who knew himself to be the reverse of what he was called. The name of friend is likewise given to a neighbour. "Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say, Friend, lend me three loaves?" Lu 11:3.