Proverbs 17:8 A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.
The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates this verse this way, "A bribe seems like a magic stone to its owner; wherever he turns, he succeeds." This verse highlights the power of bribery, but in no way condones it. Later in this chapter, Solomon says that the wicked takes a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment (17:23).
Because of the power of bribes, God commanded Israel’s rulers to reject any bribes offered them. Exodus 23:8 says, "And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous." While a bribe, may buy the power of a ruler, it also shows his inferior character. The bribe may buy power, but a righteous man will not be bought with bribes. The buck stops with him, he refuses it.
In Proverbs 17:8, Solomon mentions the eyes. Thus the righteous man does not have an evil eye like the wicked. In Scripture, an evil eye, is an eye of greed (28:22). The love of money (discontentment, greed) is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10).
Who or what has your eye? An accepted bribe blinds the receiver’s perception. Does this world have your eye? The devil wants each of us to compromise, and wants us to "take control" of our lives and not yield to the Lord’s control. His hands are full of bribes to try to allure us to sin. As Proverbs 28:22 says, those who have a greedy eye do not consider the poverty that will come on them. We will leave ourselves in spiritual poverty if we give into the world’s offer of pleasure rather than rejecting it. Will the buck stop at us, or will we accept it? Do not allow yourself to be blinded spiritually by accepting the bribes of this world or anyone else.
As Christians, our eyes need to be on the Lord. I like Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse, "Those who set their hearts upon money, will do any thing for it. What influence should the gifts of God have on our hearts!"
Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "Chapter 17".
What influence do God’s gifts have on your heart?