Proverbs 17:8

ESV A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it; wherever he turns he prospers.
NIV A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it; they think success will come at every turn.
NASB A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner; Wherever he turns, he prospers.
CSB A bribe seems like a magic stone to its owner; wherever he turns, he succeeds.
NLT A bribe is like a lucky charm; whoever gives one will prosper!
KJV A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.

What does Proverbs 17:8 mean?

Some "proverbs" are statements of fact; not all are endorsements. Another statement in this passage connects bribery to sin (Proverbs 17:23). Other Scriptures do the same (Ecclesiastes 7:7; Isaiah 5:22–23; Proverbs 29:4). Here, Solomon points out that bribes can be effective—so much so that those who offer bribes can come to trust them too much.

Bribery has always been a common temptation for those in power. Scriptures from Exodus to the Minor Prophets condemn it. Exodus 23:8 commands Israel: "You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right." Isaiah 1:23 reveals how common bribes were in that time: "Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not do justice to the fatherless, and the widow's cause does not come to them." The prophet Amos spoke the Lord's words to Israel that included the condemnation of bribes. He declared: "For I [the LORD] know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins—you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate" (Amos 5:12).
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