Ecclesiastes 7:7
New International Version
Extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart.

New Living Translation
Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart.

English Standard Version
Surely oppression drives the wise into madness, and a bribe corrupts the heart.

Berean Study Bible
Surely extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart.

King James Bible
Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.

New King James Version
Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason, And a bribe debases the heart.

New American Standard Bible
For oppression makes a wise person look foolish, And a bribe corrupts the heart.

NASB 1995
For oppression makes a wise man mad, And a bribe corrupts the heart.

NASB 1977
For oppression makes a wise man mad, And a bribe corrupts the heart.

Amplified Bible
For oppression makes a wise man foolish, And a bribe corrupts the [good judgment of the] heart.

Christian Standard Bible
Surely, the practice of extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the mind.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Surely, the practice of extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe destroys the mind.

American Standard Version
Surely extortion maketh the wise man foolish; and a bribe destroyeth the understanding.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Because oppression destroys the wise and a gift destroys the heart

Brenton Septuagint Translation
for oppression makes a wise man mad, and destroys his noble heart.

Contemporary English Version
Corruption makes fools of sensible people, and bribes can ruin you.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Oppression troubleth the wise, and shall destroy the strength of his heart.

English Revised Version
Surely extortion maketh a wise man foolish; and a gift destroyeth the understanding.

Good News Translation
You may be wise, but if you cheat someone, you are acting like a fool. If you take a bribe, you ruin your character.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Oppression can turn a wise person into a fool, and a bribe can corrupt the mind.

International Standard Version
Unjust gain makes the wise foolish, and a bribe corrupts the heart.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Surely oppression turneth a wise man into a fool; And a gift destroyeth the understanding.

Literal Standard Version
Surely oppression makes the wise mad, And a gift destroys the heart.

NET Bible
Surely oppression can turn a wise person into a fool; likewise, a bribe corrupts the heart.

New Heart English Bible
Surely extortion makes the wise man foolish; and a bribe destroys the understanding.

World English Bible
Surely extortion makes the wise man foolish; and a bribe destroys the understanding.

Young's Literal Translation
Surely oppression maketh the wise mad, And a gift destroyeth the heart.

Additional Translations ...
Context
The Value of Wisdom
6For like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This too is futile. 7Surely extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart. 8The end of a matter is better than the beginning, and a patient spirit is better than a proud one.…

Cross References
Exodus 23:8
Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous.

Deuteronomy 16:19
Do not deny justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.

Proverbs 17:8
A bribe is a charm to its giver; wherever he turns, he succeeds.

Proverbs 17:23
A wicked man takes a covert bribe to subvert the course of justice.

Ecclesiastes 4:1
Again I looked, and I considered all the oppression taking place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, and they had no comforter; the power lay in the hands of their oppressors, and there was no comforter.

Ecclesiastes 5:8
If you see the oppression of the poor and the denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be astonished at the matter; for one official is watched by a superior, and others higher still are over them.

Ecclesiastes 8:9
All this I have seen, applying my mind to every deed that is done under the sun; there is a time when one man lords it over another to his own detriment.


Treasury of Scripture

Surely oppression makes a wise man mad; and a gift destroys the heart.

oppression

Deuteronomy 28:33,34,65
The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway: …

a gift

Exodus 23:8
And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.

Deuteronomy 16:19
Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

1 Samuel 8:3
And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.









(7) Surely.--Rather, For. This change is required not only by literalness, but by the fact that the verse comes in a series of paragraphs, each commencing with the word "better," as does the next verse. This verse therefore cannot introduce a new subject, but must be connected with what has gone before. But it is so hard to do this satisfactorily, that Delitzsch conjectures that a line may have dropped out, and that this verse may have begun with "Better: e.g., "Better is a little with righteousness, &c," as in Proverbs 16:8. If this be thought too strong a remedy, we may explain the connection, that by listening to faithful rebuke rather than to the flattery of fools, a ruler may be checked in a course of oppression or corruption which threatens to undermine his understanding. As we understand the passage, he becomes mad who commits, not who suffers, the oppression.

Verse 7. - The verse begins with ki, which usually introduces a reason for what has preceded; but the difficulty in finding the connection has led to various explanations and evasions. The Authorized Version boldly separates the verse from what has gone before, and makes a new paragraph beginning with "surely:" Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad. Delitzsch supposes that something has been lost between vers. 6 and 7, and he supplies the gap by a clause borrowed from Proverbs 16:8, "Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right;" and then the sentence proceeds naturally, "For oppression," etc. But this is scarcely satisfactory, as it is mere conjecture wholly unsupported by external evidence. The Vulgate leaves ki untranslated; the Septuagint has ὅτι. Looking at the various paragraphs, all beginning with rob, rendered "better," viz. vers. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, we must regard the present verse as connected with what precedes, a new subject being introduced at ver. 8. Putting ver. 6 in a parenthesis as merely presenting an illustration of the talk of fools, we may see in ver. 7 a confirmation of the first part of ver. 5. The rebuke of the wise is useful even in the case of rulers who are tempted -to excess and injustice. The "oppression" in the text is the exercise of irresponsible power, that which a man inflicts, not what he suffers; this makes him "mad," even though he be in other respects and under other circumstances wise; he ceases to be directed by reason and principle, and needs the correction of faithful rebuke. The Septuagint and Vulgate, rendering respectively συκοφαντία and calumnia, imply that the evil which distracts the wise man is false accusation. And a gift destroyeth the heart. The admission of bribery is likewise an evil that calls for wise rebuke. So Proverbs 15:27, "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live." The phrase, "destroys the heart," means corrupts the understanding, deprives a man of wisdom, makes him no better than a fool (comp. Hosea 4:11, where the same effect is attributed to whoredom and drunkenness). The Septuagint has, ἀπόλλυσι τὴν καρδίαν εὐγενείας αὐτοῦ, "destroys the heart of his nobility;" the Vulgate, perdet robur cordis illius, "will destroy the strength of his heart." The interpretation given above seems to be the most reasonable way of dealing with the existing text; but Nowack and Volck adopt Delitzsch's emendation.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
Surely
כִּ֥י (kî)
Conjunction
Strong's 3588: A relative conjunction

extortion
הָעֹ֖שֶׁק (hā·‘ō·šeq)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 6233: Injury, fraud, distress, unjust gain

turns a wise man
חָכָ֑ם (ḥā·ḵām)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 2450: Wise

into a fool,
יְהוֹלֵ֣ל (yə·hō·w·lêl)
Verb - Piel - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 1984: To shine

and a bribe
מַתָּנָֽה׃ (mat·tā·nāh)
Noun - feminine singular
Strong's 4979: A present, a sacrificial offering, a bribe

corrupts
וִֽיאַבֵּ֥ד (wî·’ab·bêḏ)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Piel - Conjunctive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 6: To wander away, lose oneself, to perish

the heart.
לֵ֖ב (lêḇ)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3820: The heart, the feelings, the will, the intellect, centre


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OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 7:7 Surely extortion makes the wise man foolish (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.)
Ecclesiastes 7:6
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