Proverbs 21: King James Bible
A Gift or a Bribe – Daily Devotion of Proverbs chapter twenty one, Verse 14
14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.
Daily Inspiration from This Verse – A Gift or a Bribe
There are many different directions that the verse above can take us. In this devotional, we’ll take a look at a couple of those directions, and see when they lead.
What I tend to be extremely impressed by, is that though this verse in particular may be understood in several different ways, all of those that I have seen, have been correct. It can have mischievous connotations, or can be totally innocent.
Reward Causing Wrath, or Settling it?
The first thing that I would like to introduce, are the two different directions that the second half of the verse can be understood. In one sense it is a continuation, or perhaps a reiteration of the first half of the verse.
As in giving the gift or reward to the person “in the bosom,” meaning close to the chest, or to the heart. Giving it in a meaningful way, pacifying strong wrath.
The other direction the second half of this verse goes completely opposite. It isn’t a continuation of the first half, but is an opposite.
The first half given in secret, the second half not in secret, which provokes the angry person further. Which would mean more to someone; a gift given that is only between the offended and the offender to settle the matter, or a public display of pomp and a sense of less sincerity?
One may come across as a genuine olive branch, the other a public display of one trying to save his bacon, while at the same time putting the already offended person on the spot. You may have a difference of opinion, but to me both of these different directions this verse can take ring true, and make sense.
What are we talking about here?
Concerning the verse as a whole, there are two different directions to take. That would be to understand the gift involved being a heartfelt gesture being made to right a wrong of some type. The other way to look at it is a bribe taking place.
What’s the difference? As far as this verse is concerned, you can apply both and see where it gets you. Being as a gift is something that the Lord would approve of, giving it a sense of being useful advice from the Father.
However, should it be a bribe, it is something that the Father wouldn’t look too well upon, turning the verse into a warning. Again this causes for us to need the question answered; what’s the difference?
The difference is, the intentions in the heart of the giver. Are you trying to calm or make peace? Blessed are the peacemakers. Are you trying to get yourself some sort of gain? Cursed are those who are greedy for gain.
A gift expects nothing in return, but a bribe awaits a desired result that will be beneficial to the giver. In many cases, a gift given as a bribe is a manipulative attempt to swing some sort of judgement their way, thus corrupting sound judgement. Be it a gift or a bribe, it all comes down to the intentions of the heart, and the purposes involved, that make all the difference in the eyes of the Lord. That’s where the rubber meets the road.
All this from that innocent little verse above… Isn’t the Word of the Lord an amazing thing?
Related New Testament Scripture
2 Corinthians 1: King James Bible
17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? 18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
2 Corinthians 9: King James Bible
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Hebrews 4: King James Bible
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Thank you for leading us through your Word, and for all that you’ve shown us along the way. May our hearts always remain open you your Word, and responsive to your voice. Help all of us with the intents and purposes of the heart Father, so that we don’t feel a desire to give a bribe, or to manipulate a situation in a manner that is unseemly of a servant of the Lord. But renew our hearts, that our desires are pure in your sight, and righteous righteous in your eyes. In the name of and through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray.
In the scenario that verse 14 unfolds, which would you be found partaking in; a gift or a bribe?