Proverbs 21:14

14 A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

Proverbs 21:14 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.
English Standard Version (ESV)
14 A gift in secret averts anger, and a concealed bribe, strong wrath.
New Living Translation (NLT)
14 A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury.
The Message Bible (MSG)
14 A quietly given gift soothes an irritable person; a heartfelt present cools a hot temper.
American Standard Version (ASV)
14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger; And a present in the bosom, strong wrath.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
14 A gift [given] in secret calms anger, and a secret bribe calms great fury.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
14 A secret gift soothes anger, and a covert bribe, fierce rage.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
14 A secret gift calms anger down. A hidden favor softens great anger.

Proverbs 21:14 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 21:14

A gift in secret pacifieth anger
Appeases an angry man; humbles and "brings [his anger] down" F25, as Aben Ezra and Gersom observe the word signifies; which before rose very high, and showed itself in big words and disdainful looks, as proud wrath does; or extinguishes it, as the Targum and Vulgate Latin version render it, and very fitly. Anger is a fire in the breast; and a restraining or causing it to cease is properly expressed by an extinguishing of it: this a gift or present does, as it did in Esau from Jacob, in David from Abigail; but then it must be secretly given, otherwise it may more provoke; since it may show vanity in the giver, and covetousness in the receiver; and the former may have more honour than the latter. Some understand this of a gift for a bribe to a judge, to abate the severity of the sentence; and others of alms deeds to the poor, to pacify the anger of God F26: Jarchi interprets it of alms; and the Jews write this sentence upon the poor's box, understanding it in this sense; but the first sense is best; and a reward in the bosom strong wrath:
the same thing in different words; the meaning is, that a reward or gift, secretly conveyed into the bosom of an angry man, pacifies his wrath, when at the greatest height. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, understand it in a quite different sense, of a gift retained in the bosom, and not given, and render it thus, "he that spareth gifts stirreth up strong wrath".


F25 (hpky) "deprimit", Piscator; so some in Mercerus; "subigit", Cocceius; "pensat nasum", Schultens.
F26 "Munera (crede mihi) placant hominesque deosque", Ovid. de Arte Amandi, l. 3.

Proverbs 21:14 In-Context

12 The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked and brings the wicked to ruin.
13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.
14 A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.
15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.
16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead.

Cross References 1

  • 1. S Genesis 32:20; Proverbs 18:16; Proverbs 19:6
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