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Proverbs 21:14 (NLT)
"A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury."

Reading this scripture it would seem to indicate that the Bible supports (at the very least some form of) bribery. Is that really the case?

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I think rather than 'bribery' as we consider it, it's more specifically talking about in times of distress, in which you should not be above calming someone with a 'gift'. –  Kyomu Jun 27 '12 at 13:44
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@Kyomu Ah: a baby's dummy/pacifier to stop a tantrum? –  Andrew Leach Jun 27 '12 at 14:44

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Proverbs is wisdom literature, and that category seeks to describe things as they are, not necessarily what they should be.

Ecclesiastes 7:15-16, for example, says:

In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness. Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise— why destroy yourself?

Exodus 23:8 is clear that bribery is bad:

Exodus 23:8 (ESV)

And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.

Proverbs 15:27 says as much as well:

Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live.

And Proverbs 17:23 says don't do it:

23 The wicked accepts a bribe in secret[a] to pervert the ways of justice.

Even Jesus notes the unfairness in life saying in Matthew 5:45,

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous

The easiest way to reconcile all of this is to say that this verse is descriptive rather than prescriptive.

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I says to not accept, but how about give a bribe as Proverbs 21:14 suggests? –  user1054 Jun 27 '12 at 17:05

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