Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics, in his Book 9 wrote about the relationship between benevolence and friendship. Benevolence is amability, kindness, affability, benediction. Benevolence is an excellent virtue. For Aristotle friendship is not only necessary but beautiful. He tells us in his work that there are different types of friendship: the friendship based on likeness, utility or virtue.
About benevolence he wrote: "Benevolence is similar to friendly, but it is certainly not friendship, in fact, benevolence is given even to the strangers and pass unnoticed, but friendship not. Neither is affection, because it has neither the intensity or the desire that accompanies affection. In addition, the affection is produced with the treatment, and the benevolence, suddenly, as it happens with the competitors in competitions: we are well disposed towards them and we share their desire to win.
It seems undoubtedly that benevolence is the principle of the friendship, just as the visual pleasure is of love, because nobody loves if before it is not pleased with the beloved's beautiful form ... Thus, it is also not possible to be a friend without being first well predisposed ... That is why, metaphorically, one could say that benevolence is inactive friendship. "Nicomaquea Ethics Book 9 A 5.
Summarizing, benevolence has as its goal not the one who experiences it but the one to whom it is direction, the benevolence is directly related with empathy. Aristotle tells us that the benevolent "desires" but the friend "does". Desire is a form of beginning. Every friend is benevolent but not all benevolent is a friend, concludes Aristotle. Later in the Christianism the figure of the benevolent would be retaken again in the figure of Christ and the Good Samaritan, in the Gospel of Luke.