Proverbs 21:14

ESV A gift in secret averts anger, and a concealed bribe, strong wrath.
NIV A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.
NASB A gift in secret subdues anger, And a bribe in an inside pocket, strong wrath.
CSB A secret gift soothes anger, and a covert bribe, fierce rage.
NLT A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury.
KJV A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.
NKJV A gift in secret pacifies anger, And a bribe behind the back, strong wrath.

What does Proverbs 21:14 mean?

Once again, Solomon (Proverbs 10:1) notes how the world is, without endorsing that fact as ideal (Proverbs 17:8). Solomon is not giving his approval of this action; he is simply stating the fact that such practices take place and produce desirable results.

Exodus 23:8 clearly condemns bribery by stating, "And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right." Deuteronomy 16:19 repeats this command for the new generation of Israelites who would enter the Promised Land. This verse reads: "You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous."

Jacob understood the fact that giving gifts to an angry person can subdue his anger. On his return home Jacob sent messengers with gifts to his brother Esau, from whom he had stolen the birthright. The gifts were meant to cool any residual anger Esau held (Genesis 33:8). The two men met on cordial terms (Genesis 33:4), and, after some urging, Esau agreed to keep Jacob's gift (Genesis 33:9–11).
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