|Volume 19 Number 12 December 2017||
Donald R. Fox
Bribery, a form of pecuniary corruption, is an act implying money or gift given that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting, of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty. The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient’s conduct. It may be any money, good, right in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, object of value, advantage, or merely a promise or undertaking to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity. (Wikipedia)
It is difficult for ordinary folks, who are not trained in the legal system, lawmaking and government to understand the interworking of our elected officials. We hear about closed-door, under the table and arm-twisting agreements. When the closed-door meetings are over, our elected government officials come out, and guess what, they changed their mind about thus and so. Most of the time, we citizens are not privy to these sweet deals, and if we find out, it’s at a much later time. Citizens ask, “What’s going on?” Should not government be transparent? Have we heard about transparency somewhere? Bribery can be found in different forms. An interesting quote by Robert Jackson may shed some light on our subject. “Men are more often bribed by their loyalties and ambitions than by money.”
Biblical Examples of Bribery
Delilah betrayed Samson. “And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver” (Judges 16:5 KJV).
Samuel’s sons took bribes. “And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment” (1 Samuel 8:1-3).
Soldiers were bribed. “Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept” (Matthew 28:10-13).
Judas betrayed Jesus for money. “Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand. And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely” (Mark 14:42-44).
“Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: in whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes” (Psalm 26:9-10). I cannot think of a better conclusion to this essay than to define the word bribe via Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary., which reads, “money or favor bestowed on or promised to a person in a position of trust to pervert his judgment or corrupt his conduct; something that serves to induce or influence.”
[Editor’s Note: The very nature of bribes pertains to unrighteousness. As such, then, Christians ought to shun bribes, both the giving and the receiving. We should “…provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Bribes Are a Curse: To the
Receiver and to the Giver
Leonard U. Ibeh
People always ask, “What do you mean by a 'bribe' or 'extortion.'” Those who ask this question may not be asking to know, but to justify their intention or action. Whichever way you see it, please read the Bible and hear from God. God’s commandment states that we should not take bribes or deny justice to a poor man. He stated the reason for this. “And you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clearsighted and subverts the cause of the just” (Exodus 23:8). King David knew God would destroy bribe-takers, and hence, he prayed, “Do not take my soul away along with sinners, nor my life with men of bloodshed, in whose hands is a wicked scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes” (Psalm 26:9-10).
The Bible says that those who take bribes are wicked. Why are they wicked? They pervert the ways of justice (Proverbs 17:23). Would you like to be addressed as a wicked man or woman? If your friend calls you wicked, you will not be happy with him because the Bible says that wicked people will be destroyed, and you would not like to be destroyed. Perhaps you are good, righteous in other aspects of life or religion. Will you take bribes to ruin you? The Bible calls those who take bribes “rebels” and “companions of thieves.” “Your rulers are rebels, and companions of thieves; every one loves a bribe and chases after rewards” (Isaiah 1:23).
Some people believe that through bribes or corrupt gifts or extortion they can achieve whatever they want—such as to build nice houses, eat better food, buy cars, etc. To them, bribes work like magic—it is a way of making quick wealth. Their actions and thoughts are recorded in Proverbs 17:8, “A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner…”
My friend, no matter what gain you make with bribe money, it is cursed. The Bible says, “Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel” (Proverbs 20:17).
Like God told the people of Israel, so it is today. “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but not enough to be satisfied; you drink but never have your fill, you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns wages to put into a purse with holes” (Haggai 1:6).
The house you must rebuild today is repentance for you are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19). Rebuild yourself! Repent and come to the true God via Christ. Stop standing on the wages of your fellow workers, for the cry of those whose wages you stand on has reached God. “Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out against you, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord… You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter” (James 5:4-5). “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).
The Bible records another curse to those who do evil, including bribes. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil… Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine… who justify the wicked for a bribe and take away the rights of the ones who are in the right” (Isaiah 5:20, 22-23).
You can buy your way to anywhere on earth, but be assured you can never buy your way to God’s kingdom! You can never buy God the Creator! Those who tried to buy the gift of God were cursed to hell. Simon the magician offered money to Peter and John, saying, “Give this power to me also” (Acts 8:18-24). The condemnation of God came upon him. “But Peter said to him, May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! …your heart is not right before God” (Acts 8:20-21). “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great and mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe” (Deuteronomy 10:17).
What, then, must you do? You must repent of all your sins and follow Jesus Christ (Mark 10:21-22; 16:16).