[b-hebrew] Bribes, Gifts, and Tribute

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Tue May 18 01:46:16 EDT 2004


Biblical Hebrew does make a difference between hiring %KR שכר and bribing $XD שחד . What the kings did was called a bribe.

A couple of times mercenaries were hired, but for some reason sending a gift to the king asking him to act constituted a “bribe”.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: <david.kimbrough at charter.net>
> Karl,
> If I ask a carpenter to build me a house he may not be 
> inclined to do so.  If I offer to pay him he will probably 
> become so inclined.  Similarly if I have a case before a 
> judge, he may not be inclined to find in my favor.  I offer 
> to pay him; he may well be come so inclined in my favor.  
> The former is legal and is not considered bribery while the 
> latter is not and is considered bribery. 
> In the case of the two kings, in each case, the king of 
> Judea made payments to some foreign king (Syrian and 
> Assyrian) to attack his enemy (Israel and Syria).  This 
> sort of arrangement was legal and normal. Notably, the 
> author of 1 and 2 Kings do not condemn either Ahaz or Asa 
> for these payments.  Indeed why should there be any 
> condemnation when in each case the payments had the desired 
> effect, the enemy attacking Judea was defeated Judea was 
> rescued.  Asa?s ?heart was perfect with the LORD all his 
> days?.
> It is only the modern reader who detects something wrong or 
> immoral in this arrangement, even it is a practice that is 
> stilled used today.  Ancient readers did not detect and 
> moral problem, especially since it seemed to work quite 
> well.
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