[b-hebrew] Proverbs 21:14 KPH

Trevor Peterson 06peterson at cua.edu
Wed Jul 21 19:27:51 EDT 2004


Karl Randolph wrote:

> Why is the gift in secret, unless neither the giver nor the givee want it to be known that the gift was made? Why wouldn’t they want the gift to be known? Similarly, a bribe in the bosom is being hidden. Why, if not to pervert justice?  What is the typical reaction when people see injustice being practiced, if not fury?
> 
> Hence, from the context, I read this term as having the definition of “excite” or “inflame”.

You're assuming that the anger is from onlookers. But if it's being done 
in secret, why would you even assume that? I would think it's at least 
as likely that the anger referred to is that of the one who receives the 
bribe. In this case, the meaning of the verb would most likely be the 
opposite of what you suppose.
> 
> Is there any clue from cognate languages or elsewhere that would override the contextual clues?

later Hebrew, all major strands of Aramaic, Arabic, and Akkadian--to 
bend, overturn

Note also the positive assessment of bribes in Prov 17:8. We can argue 
about whether Proverbs endorses bribery or not, but I think it's fairly 
safe to say that it acknowledges what a bribe can achieve.

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics



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