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 come back and spend money because of the favorable attitude the gift produces. Those who are honest with this type of gift still offer the best price for their services, but the one seeking to use this to up sale a customer are really just giving it as a bribe, which always ends in a dissatisfied and often angry customer.

This world is a malignantly evil place, but that does not mean we cannot walk in wisdom through it, redeeming the time and knowing the desirous will of God (Ephesians 5:17). Gifts should never be used to pervert justice, or manipulate people, but are of value in setting a positive frame of mind towards us. This aspect of giving can also be seen in being kind. Kindness is not a trait that humans intuitively seek to express, (There are none that do kindness – Romans 3:12); however, when we as Christians are using the fruit of the Spirit, God’s quality of kindness can be expressed through us, which puts others at ease (Galatians 5:22). So a gift is not just a tangible item, but a friendly disposition, a helping hand, and even a manifestation of kindness.  Remember, it is the kindness of God that brings a change of the mind, not wrath (Romans 2:4).

Therefore, as the elect of God, let us put on kindness (Colossians 3:12) and be wise in the way we walk in this malignantly evil world, for we are children of the light and walk in the day, not as unbelievers in revelry, drunkenness, and lewdness according to their own lusts (Romans 13:13; 2 Peter 3:3) who use bribes to dishonestly gain. Gifts can be offered in a wise way for the purpose of gaining favor without becoming a bribe. For a gift can truly go a long way in subduing anger and producing prudence in the one receiving it.