4 ¶ The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
Bribery in all its forms is condemned by God. Any public official who takes or demands a bribe should be taken out and horsewhipped, not just removed from office. A key part of public service is public trust. Without it you simply have a run of the mill barbarous government. It has been said that the U.S. government is totally corrupt, bought and paid for by corporate and union interests, plus influential men of great wealth.
Both the taking….
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.
Amos 5:12 For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.
And the giving of a bribe is soundly condemned.
Proverbs 17:23 A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
This Proverb states that a corrupt government, influenced by the taking of gifts, cannot stand for long. This is a clear warning for any nation whose leaders take gifts and bribes to pervert judgment. Without a dull, glassy eyed electorate or hidden hands to prop it up for special interests such a corrupt government cannot exist for long.
How does the king, the chief executive, the leadership establish a nation? By judgment. What is judgment?
It is synonymous with justice.
Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
It is to be done with righteousness.
Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
It is to be done in an impartial manner.
Deuteronomy 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
It is to be done without regard to the social status, political power, or legal status of the individuals being judged. (A stranger is a foreigner.)
Deuteronomy 24:17 Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge:
All of God’s ways; his precepts, statutes, commandments, testimonies, and words are judgments (read the first dozen or so verses of Psalm 119.)
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
There is no place in righteous judgment for the taking of gifts.
1Samuel 8:3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
(A word of note to Christians. The Holy Spirit will refer to verses in the Old Testament by allusions, paraphrases or quotes in the New. At times a different word is inserted into the verse to show that in God’s plan and for our edification the two words mean the same thing. The following verses show us that truth is the victory or triumph of God’s judgment just as we can see the relationship between to “bring forth” and “ send” [examine closely Exodus 3:10]. We know that Christ is THE truth (John 14:6) and God’s wisdom [1 Corinthians 1:24; 30] through whom we have victory [1 Corinthians 15:57] and Christ has the victory over Satan and death and Hell [1Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 1:18.] That would be a good subject for a sermon, perhaps.
Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
It is an interesting exercise to look for other parallel verses like this. I’ve found many.)
A corrupt government cannot be a just government. A corrupt government cannot stand for long. At the rate we are going the United States will be a flash in the pan in the long course of history.