Favoritism and partiality is characterized as not being good in this proverb. In order to understand this we have to have a worldview that sees mankind as fallen and sinful. The modern worldviews that see man as basically good will not fully grasp this. They blame things on the environment in which someone was reared - or on a lack of education. If this were the case, then the most priviledged and educated would be the godliest among us - right?
The reason partiality is not good - is because men and woman can be bought. The proverb that we are looking at today says they can be bought for a piece of bread. That is cheap. But we only need to remember Esau to be reminded that he sold the birthright of a very rich family for a bowl of stew. The offer of immediate gratification will trump the mind of a sinful man that should counsel him to see the full price of what he is about to do.
Bribery in the matter of judges must have been as common then as it is today among politicians. The Old Testament is filled with admonitions to even the least official who would pervert justice for a bribe. Today it is a rare thing to see a man in public office who has not been bought with money donated to his campaign. What we MUST remember is that if a man can be bought for a price - who's to say that he cannot be bought by someone offering a little more?
God's admonition to us is not the size of the bribe - but whether the heart can be bought at all. The Scriptures warn us that he who is unfaithful in a little - will be unfaithful no matter how much is offered. The trustworthy man is the one who rejects any kind of bribe. His desire is to offer justice based on the Word of God. He knows that truth will prevail no matter how much money is thrown his way. He also knows that there will be a day when even judges will face the judgment. We read of that day in Psalm 2 as God gives the following admonition to the kings and judges of the earth, "Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" Even judges will be judged - and rulers have One who rules over them. Thus the wise man is one who recognizes the ultimate authority of God, who submits to Him, and who makes his decisions, not in light of the bread or bribe set before him, but in light of day when every judgment will be judged itself.