Exodus 23:8

8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.

Read Exodus 23:8 Using Other Translations

And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.
And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.
“Take no bribes, for a bribe makes you ignore something that you clearly see. A bribe makes even a righteous person twist the truth.

What does Exodus 23:8 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Exodus 23:8

And thou shalt take no gift
Of the persons whose cause is to be tried in a court of judicature before judges; neither of those on the one side nor on the other, neither before the trial nor after, neither by words, by a promise, nor by facts, by actually receiving money; and not even to judge truly, as Jarchi observes, neither to clear the innocent nor to condemn the guilty: a gift was not to be taken on any consideration whatever:

for the gift blindeth the wise;
or the "seeing" F1; the open ones, who used to have both their eyes and their ears open, and attentive to the cause before them; and yet a gift so blinds them, by casting such a mist before them, that they are inattentive to the true merits of the cause, and their affections and judgments are to be carried away in favour of those that have bribed them, as to pass a wrong sentence:

and perverteth the words of the righteous;
either the sentences of righteous judges, as they ought to be, but a gift perverts their judgment, and they give a wrong decree; or the causes of the righteous that are brought before those are perverted by giving the cause to their adversaries, who are wicked men.


F1 (Myxqp) "videntes", Pagninus, Vatablus, Cartwright; "apertos", Montanus, Drusius.
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