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Oil and incense make the heart glad,
and the sweetness of a friend is better than one’s own counsel.a Bible
a[9]
That is, “self-counsel.”

“one’s own counsel.” The Hebrew text reads, the “counsel of the soul.” The HCSB gets the sense correct in it’s translation: “and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel.” This verse has been misunderstood for centuries. The Latin Vulgate, done in the last part of the fourth century, is basically, “the soul is sweetened by the good counsel of a friend.”

The sweet counsel of a friend is always better than trusting that you yourself will be right. Of course, the verse presupposes that a person will have a friend who loves him and will be honest with him. But sadly, many people do not cultivate that kind of friendship with others. A good church leader recognizes the pressures in the world that separate people and works to make his or her church a place where genuine friendships can develop.

There are many verses that talk about the necessity of having good counsel to make plans succeed (Prov. 11:14; 15:22; 24:6) versus trusting one’s own heart in what seems right (Prov. 16:25).


Commentary for: Proverbs 27:9