Q.

Is the writer being sarcastic when, in Proverbs 18:16, he writes that a bribe does wonders and that it will bring a person before men of importance?

A.
Whenever we consider the statements in the book of Proverbs, we need to remember that they are general observations and that they do not necessarily condone certain practices. If the verse does refer to bribery, the writer means influential people do it and it works in the eyes of the world. But this observation does not imply approval.

Many Bible students do not believe the word “gift” here means “bribery.” Rather, they believe it refers to gifts given to people. The KJV and other versions use the word gift: “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” The verse simply means that a legitimate gift given or favor done can go as far as to bring a person in contact with a truly great person. If one takes this view, he doesn’t see the verse as saying that giving a gift is necessarily buying one’s way into the heart of an influential or rich person.

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (December 1992).
© 1992 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.