Proverbs 17:8
A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that has it: wherever it turns, it prospers.
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(8) A gift is as a precious stone . . .—A description of the influence of bribery:—A bribe is as a jewel in the eyes of him that receives it; whithersoever he turns he prospers: all his energies are called out by the prospect of gain, so that he carries out successfully all that he sets his hand to. The constant warnings against this form of corruption, from the time of Moses (Exodus 23:8) to that of the prophets (Amos 5:12; Isaiah 1:23, &c), show the prevalence of the evil in Israel.

Proverbs 17:8. A gift is as a precious stone, &c. — “A gift is so tempting that it can no more be refused than a lovely jewel can, by him to whom it is presented; and such is its power, that it commonly prevails over all men, despatches all business, carries all causes; and, in a word, effects whatsoever a man desires.” — Bishop Patrick.17:8. Those who set their hearts upon money, will do any thing for it. What influence should the gifts of God have on our hearts! 9. The way to preserve peace is to make the best of every thing; not to notice what has been said or done against ourselves. 10. A gentle reproof will enter, not only into the head, but into the heart of a wise man. 11. Satan, and the messengers of Satan, shall be let loose upon an evil man. 12. Let us watch over our own passions, and avoid the company of furious men. 13. To render evil for good is devilish. He that does so, brings a curse upon his family. 14. What danger there is in the beginning of strife! Resist its earliest display; and leave it off, if it were possible, before you begin. 15. It is an offence to God to acquit the guilty, or to condemn those who are not guilty. 16. Man's neglect of God's favour and his own interest is very absurd. 17. No change of outward circumstances should abate our affection for our friends or relatives. But no friend, except Christ, deserves unlimited confidence. In Him this text did receive, and still receives its most glorious fulfilment. 18. Let not any wrong their families. Yet Christ's becoming Surety for men, was a glorious display of Divine wisdom; for he was able to discharge the bond.A half-satirical description of the power of bribery in palaces and among judges. The precious stone (literally as in the margin) is probably a gem, thought of as a talisman, which, "wherever it turns," will ensure "prosperity" to him who, being the possessor, has the power to give it. 8. One so corrupt as to take a bribe evinces his high estimate of it by subjection to its influence (Pr 18:16; 19:6). As a precious stone; pleasant and acceptable, and withal dazzleth his eyes.

Of him that hath it, Heb. of the lord or owner of it; either,

1. Of the giver; or rather,

2. Of the receiver of it, who by the giver is made lord of it; for to his eyes it was exposed, that he might discern the beauty and worth of it, and thereby be allured to do what was desired, which accordingly he did, as it here follows.

Whithersoever it turneth; to whomsoever it is presented. But this, as also many other proverbs, are to be understood of the common course or effect with most men, but not universally of all men. A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it,.... Or "is a stone of grace" (h), the note of similitude being wanting. It is an ornament of grace, adorns the person that wears it, makes him look lovely and amiable; is very grateful and desirable in itself, attracts and dazzles the eyes, and fills the mind with pleasure; so is a gift in the eyes of him that has it, that is the owner of it; either that has it in his possession to give, is the giver of it, as Aben Ezra; which, as it is valuable in his own eyes, he judges it to be so with others, and thinks he can do what be pleases with it, and engage persons by it to do as he would have them: or that is the receiver of it, as the Targum; who, having it given him, is master of it, and is so acceptable to him, and has such an influence upon him, as to do anything for it the giver of it directs him to, as follows:

whithersoever it turneth it prospereth: to whatsoever cause, or to whatsoever persons, judge or jury, it is given and received; it succeeds far better than the most eloquent orations, or learned pleadings in law, or appeals to statutes, and the production of them. Money answers all things; a gift blinds the eyes; it is like a diamond, so sparkling and dazzling, so charming and attracting, that the person to whom it is offered cannot resist it; and it draws him to do whatever is desired of him; it carries the cause, it succeeds according to the wish of the giver: or, as the Arabic version renders it,

"he shall find his business plain;''

done as he would have it. Jarchi applies the proverb thus;

"when a man comes before the Lord, and bribes him with words, and returns unto him, it is a precious stone in his eyes; and in all that he asks of him he prospers.''

(h) "lapsis gratiae", Montanus, Baynus, Michaelis.

A bribe is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: wherever it {c} turneth, it prospereth.

(c) The reward has great force to gain the hearts of men.

8. him that hath it] Lit. its lord or possessor. This may mean either the giver, or the receiver of it. The former sense seems preferable. He who has a gift to bestow counts himself the possessor of that with which he can secure success in any direction he pleases, as though he turned in this direction or in that a precious gem or talisman to attract and conciliate the beholder. Maurer quotes the familiar lines of Ovid (de art. am. 3. 653),

“Munera, crede mihi, capiunt hominesque deosque;

Placatur donis Jupiter ipse datis.”

Comp. Proverbs 18:16.Verse 8. - There is a breath of satire in this verse. A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it. "A precious stone" is literally "a stone of grace" (Proverbs 1:9). The gnome expresses the idea that a bribe is like a bright jewel that dazzles the sight and affects the mind of him who receives it (see on Proverbs 15:27; comp. Deuteronomy 16:19; 1 Samuel 12:3). Ovid, 'Art. Amat.,' 3:653 -

"Munera, crede mihi, capiunt hominesque deosque;
Placatur donis Jupiter ipse datis."
It is possible that the gnome may have a more general application, and apply to gifts given to appease anger or to prove friendship (Proverbs 19:6; Proverbs 21:14). Septuagint, "A reward of graces is discipline to those who use it;" i.e. moral discipline brings an ample reward of graces to those who practise it. Whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth. The Authorized Version refers these words to the gift. Delitzsch points out that the words are more properly taken of the person who receives the gift, so that they should be rendered, "Wheresoever he turneth himself he dealeth wisely." Inflamed by sordid hopes and the love of gain, he acts with all possible skill and prudence in order to work out his wages and show that he was rightly selected to receive the present. The verse merely states a common trait among unscrupulous men, and pronounces no judgment upon it. 2 A prudent servant shall rule over the degenerate son;

   And he divides the inheritance among the brethren.

Regarding the contrasts of משׂכּיל and מבישׁ, vid., at Proverbs 10:5; Proverbs 14:35. The printed editions present בּבן־מבישׁ in genit. connection: a son of the scandalous class, which is admissible; but Cod. 1294 and Cod. Jaman,

(Note: The Cod. brought by Sapiir from Jemen, of which there is an account in the preface to the edition of Isaiah by Baer and me.)

Erf. No. 2, 3, write בּבן מבישׁ (with Tsere and Munach), and that is perhaps right, after Proverbs 10:5; Proverbs 17:25. The futures have here also a fut. signification: they say to what it will come. Grotius remarks, with reference to this: manumissus tutor filiis relinquetur; יחלק tutorio officio. But if he is a conscientious, unselfish tutor, he will not enrich himself by property which belongs to another; and thus, though not without provision, he is yet without an inheritance. And yet the supplanting of the degenerate is brought about by this, that he loses his inheritance, and the intelligent servant steps into his place. Has one then to suppose that the master of the house makes his servant a co-heir with his own children, and at the same time names him as his executor? That were a bad anachronism. The idea of the διαθήκη was, at the time when this proverb was coined, one unknown - Israelitish iniquity knows only the intestate right of inheritance, regulated by lineal and gradual succession. Then, if one thinks of the degenerate son, that he is disowned by the father, but that the intelligent servant is not rewarded during the life of his master for his true services, and that, after the death of the master, to such a degree he possesses the esteem and confidence of the family, that he it is who divides the inheritance among the brethren, i.e., occupies the place amongst them of distributor of the inheritance, not: takes a portion of the inheritance, for חלק has not the double meaning of the Lat. participare; it means to divide, and may, with בּ, mean "to give a part of anything" (Job 39:17); but, with the accus., nothing else than to distribute, e.g., Joshua 18:2, where it is to be translated: "whose inheritance had not yet been distributed (not yet given to them)." Jerome, haereditatem dividet; and thus all translators, from the lxx to Luther.

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