What kind of person is the king's friend? That is in interesting question because those who have been in places of high authority know that it is often difficult to determine which ones are their friends - and which ones are befriending them for ulterior motives. When you look at the circle of those who surround the king or leader - among them you will always find the sycophants who are there to get what they can from the king. They offer their friendship . . . for a price. What the leader finds in the end is that this person was not really their friend. Unfortunately for the king, this is only learned when trouble comes - or when the king no longer can give the person what they want. So what kind of person is the king's friend?
First we learn that he is a person who loves purity of heart. The term purity here was often used to describe the condition of being "clean" in Israel. This was a pretty strict definition - and thus it describes someone who is pure to a very high standard. When used of a person's heart, it referred to someone who was morally pure - as well as ethically pure. Since it refers to the condition of someone's heart - it speaks of someone who has wonderful morals, wonderful ethics, and whose thoughts and intents were as pure as the driven snow. The king gravitates to this kind of person because of that purity of heart. This is a person who would never be the king's friend for the ride. If he chose to befriend the king - it would be because he wanted to be the friend of the man - who just happened to be the king. That purity of heart would be such a comfort to someone who could give you so much. Most likely, this pure-hearted man would refuse the king's gifts and honors - choosing instead to simply be the king's friend - not the king's benefactor. It is interesting that among the many named as those who surrounded David, one man, Hushai the Archite, was simply known as the king's friend. He befriended David just because he wanted to be David's friend.
Hushai the Archite was an interesting man. We only hear of him twice in Scripture. in 1 Chronicles he is simply referred to as the king's friend. The other place we learn of him is in 2 Samuel 15-17. We see him meeting David as David reaches the top of the Mount of Olives after David has had to leave the throne due to being deposed by his son, Absalom. He arrives with his coat torn and with dust on his head. Here was a friend who stuck with David in the very worst of times. Sometimes the king will only know his true friends when he is deposed. Hushai was one of those friends who did not care whether David was king or not - he was still his friend. But when David faced such horrific circumstances, Hushai was there grieving with him through it all. But Hushai's friendship went far deeper - and endured even more challenges. David asked him to return to the city and act as Absalom's servant - to thwart the counsel of Ahithophel. This was dangerous to say the least, because as soon as Absalom sees him - he notes that this was his father's friend. He even chides him for being a poor friend, turning on David in his hour of need. At that moment Absalom could have had Hushai killed or imprisoned. But Hushai went - and served David well. He did thwart the counsel of Ahithophel - and later alerted David to get over the Jordan for safety even if they possilby did follow Ahithophel's advice. Here was a true friend, willing to risk his life to protect his friend.
The other factor in being the king's friend was that you needed to have speech that was gracious. There are times when I wish we would translate Hebraisms directly - because I think they paint a much more powerful picture for us. The Hebraism here literally says, "and who has grace on his lips." What a great picture this paints of how this man speaks. He speaks the truth - but does so with plenty of grace. That is the kind of friend the king needs. He needs someone who will tell him the truth - but will do so with much grace as he does so. Too many around the king simply tell him what he wants to hear. They become suck-ups who are too busy trying to woo the king's favor. But a true friend will both speak the truth to us - but will also speak with much grace in what he or she says.
Here is the friend of the king - with a pure heart and with grace on his lips. As we look at him closer, we should see here not just a fitting friend for the king, but in all honesty - a fitting friend for anyone! This description fits what we should want in a friend period. May God be gracious to us and allow us to find such a friend in our lifetime. If we do find one - we should thank God for them - and - be such a friend to them as well.