The gift [is] a favorable stone in [the] eyes of its owners, unto all which it turns it causes to be prudent. Proverbs 17:8
So-had (שֹׁחַד) is a gift that is given for the purpose of bringing favor. Although not specifically a bribe, it can be used to gain favor in an illicit way and is prohibited under the Mosaic law for being used in this manner (Deuteronomy 16:19); however, when used correctly the result will be a favorable attitude towards the one giving the gift. It is the one who walks righteously and speaks with equity while shutting up bribery that will see God (Isaiah 33:15), where a wicked man accepts a gift to pervert the way of justice (Proverbs 17:23).
We see this type of favorable gift being given in negotiations (1 Kings 15:19), which is not meant as a bribe, but to bring favor. When used this way, it will cause the one receiving it to be wise in handling practical matters while exercising good judgment related to the circumstances bringing about the gift.
The negative side of giving is seen with one who uses money to gain favor. Such as with Ananias and Saphira giving a gift to the Apostles (Acts 4:37), Simon trying to bribe the Apostles into giving him the ability to give the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands (Acts 8:18-20), and Felix seeking a bribe from Paul to release him (Acts 24:26). However, when used properly this type of gift will result in a favorable attitude from the one receiving it. In business, when a shop is willing to offer free service, such as fixing a flat tire, the one receiving this generosity is far more likely to […]