New American Bible (Revised Edition)
8 Like a bird far from the nest
so is anyone far from home.[a]
9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
but by grief the soul is torn asunder.
10 Do not give up your own friend and your father’s friend;
do not resort to the house of your kindred when trouble strikes.
Better a neighbor near than kin far away.[b]
- 27:8 The bird symbolizes vulnerability as it flees before danger as in Is 10:14; 16:2; and Ps 11:1. For the importance of place in human life, see Jb 20:8–9. People are defined by their place, but, tragically, war, poverty, or illness can force them from it.
- 27:10 The adage is about the difference between friends and kin in a crisis. Two admonitions are grounded in one maxim (colon C). The same Hebrew word means both “one who is near” and “friend.” The whole proverb urges the reader to cultivate old family friends and neighbors and not to rely exclusively on kin in times of trouble, for kin may not be there for us.