The verses 17:23, 18:11 & 18:16 all address bribery, but with slightly different tones.
Something I appreciate about the Proverbs is that it’s not a list of rules. It’s clever-written sentences of wisdom. Sometimes it paints a picture (nothing haunts me more than the comparison of repeating sin being like a dog gobbling down it’s own bile), allowing you to draw your own conclusion from the analogy given. Instead of “don’t nag or argue”, it says “better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house full of feasting-and conflict” (17:1). That’s convincing enough for me to disarm arguments. Who wants to sit in turmoil at a beautiful dinner party?
Bribes will get you places, it reads. But later, it also adds that being able to dole out gifts to get yourself places provides false security. Bribes might get you places, sure, but the text quickly concludes that they’re not places you want to be going.
Where else do you notice the Proverbs seemingly contradicting itself? Do the analogies help you, or do you prefer a more Deuteronomy-style text? I’m so thankful that God’s word has depth, different styles of literature and wisdom within wisdom.
What was your favorite verse today?