A wicked man receives a bribe from the bosom To pervert the ways of justice. Proverbs 17:23
When someone reverts to bribing others in matters of justice - you can guarantee that they are doing so because they are guilty of the charge that has been brought. That is what we learn from today's proverb of the day.
The "wicked man" to whom this proverb refers is a man who is guilty of the offense with which he is charged. The Hebrew word used here is "rasha" which means someone who is guilty or wrong. It is used of people who are transgressors, criminals, and honestly - who are just plain wicked. The word is an antonym of the Hebrew word "saddiyq" which has as its meaning - to be righteous or in the right. Therefore someone who is turning to a bribe is wrong - and therefore guilty as charged. When used in the Old Testament it refers to those who are enemies of God - and enemies of His people. God is a God of righteousness and justice - therefore anyone who desires to pervert true justice will find themselves an enemy of God.
The phrase ". . . from the bosom" has the idea of someone who is slipping money to another in a secret fashion. This is how most bribes pass hands - through subversive and secretive ways. This happens because the wicked man offering them - and the wicked man receiving them to pervert justice - both do not want to be exposed. Therefore everything is done in a cloak and dagger fashion.
This is done to "pervert the ways of justice." The one offering it is wicked - and the one receiving it is perjerous. They perjure themselves - for they make it clear that truth is not something they value (at least not as much as money). Where such judges rule - there cannot be justice - because the hearts of such men are corrupted by various means to twist justice as the bribes have purchased. In 1973 Charles Ashman wrote a book entitled, The Finest Judges Money Can Buy. This is a very depressing book because it exposes the chronic problem of bribes in our own justice system. In his book Ashman reveals eight judges involved in Mafia-type organizations, ten who were guilty of receiving bribes, sixteen who were guilty of petter larceny, at least six who were guilty of sexual impropriety, seven who were guilty of being drunk on the job, and ten more who have used their position and authority for impure political gain. Those who bemoan the corruption in our nation should see clearly one of the chief reasons it exists - and that is gross corruption in our legal system. This is why God makes it clear to all the judges within the biblical judicial system that they were NEVER to take a bribe to pervert justice. God also promises special judgment upon those who do!
The one thing we can be eternally grateful for is that our ultimate judge is nothing like these men and women who parade as judges, yet have no integrity. He is the One Who sits enthroned - and Whose very throne is founded upon justice and righteousness. He hears and sees all things - and judges accordingly. He is incorruptible and cannot make an unjust decision, for such a decision is contrary to His very nature which is holiness and purity. When it came down to how God would deal with sin, He even judged His only Son when He took sin upon Himself. He is completely and absolutely just and righteous in all that He does. Therefore know that although justice and righteousness may not be given to us here on this fallen earth - we can know that there will be a day when God will judge ALL men according to His righteous standard.
Therefore be of good cheer and be greatly comforted! Your God has the ultimate bar of justice - which will be held before Him alone. In the meantime, we can thank Him daily for His gracious kindness and for His unparalleled love!
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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