Proverbs 21:14
A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) A gift in secret.—Comp. Abigail and David (1Samuel 25:18).

Proverbs 21:14. A gift — Bestowed on a person offended and angry with us, as the following words show; in secret — That is, given in secret, which makes it more acceptable; for gifts openly given savour of ostentation in the giver: and cause some shame to the receiver; pacifieth anger — Removes all resentment, and conciliates love; and a reward in the bosom — Secretly conveyed into the bosom; strong wrath — Will extinguish that wrath which was thought implacable.

21:9. It is best to shun bitter contention by pouring out the heart before God. For by prudence and patience, with constant prayer, the cross may be removed. 10. The evil desires of a wicked man's heart, lead to baseness in his conduct. 11. The simple may be made wise by punishments on the wicked, and by instructions to those who are willing to be taught. 12. Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them. 13. Such as oppress the poor by beating down wages, such as will not relieve according to their ability those in distress, and those in authority who neglect to do justice, stop their ears at the cry of the poor. But doubtless care is to be used in the exercise of charity. 14. If money can conquer the fury of the passions, shall reason, the fear of God, and the command of Christ, be too weak to bridle them? 15. There is true pleasure only in the practice of religion. 16. Of all wanderers in the ways of sin, those are in the most dangerous condition who turn aside into the ways of darkness. Yet there is hope even for them in the all-sufficient Saviour; but let them flee to him without delay. 17. A life of worldly pleasure brings ruin on men. 18. The righteous is often delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead, and so seems as a ransom for him. 19. Unbridled passions spoil the comfort of all relations. 20. The plenty obtained by prudence, industry, and frugality, is desirable. But the foolish misspend what they have upon their lusts. 21. True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct. 22. Those that have wisdom, often do great things, even against those confident of their strength. 23. It is our great concern to keep our souls from being entangled and disquieted. 24. Pride and haughtiness make men passionate; such continually deal in wrath, as if it were their trade to be angry. 25,26. Here is the misery of the slothful; their hands refuse to labour in an honest calling, by which they might get an honest livelihood; yet their hearts cease not to covet riches, pleasures, and honours, which cannot be obtained without labour. But the righteous and industrious have their desires satisfied. 27. When holiness is pretended, but wickedness intended, that especially is an abomination. 28. The doom of a false witness is certain. 29. A wicked man bids defiance to the terrors of the law and the rebukes of Providence. But a good man asks, What does God require of me? 30,31. Means are to be used, but, after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.Or, The Righteous One (Yahweh) regardeth well the house of the wicked, and maketh the wicked fall into mischief. 14. The effect of bribery (Pr 17:23) is enhanced by secrecy, as the bribed person does not wish his motives made known. A gift, to a person offended and angry with us, as the following words show.

In secret; which makes it more acceptable; for gifts openly given savour of ostentation in the giver, and cause some shame or contempt to the receiver.

In the bosom; secretly conveyed into his bosom. See Poole "Proverbs 17:8", See Poole "Proverbs 18:16".

A gift in secret pacifieth anger,.... Appeases an angry man; humbles and "brings his anger down" (y), 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 (z): 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".

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

A {g} gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.

(g) To do a pleasure to the angry man pacifies him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. pacifieth] The Heb. word occurs only here, and scholars, both ancient and modern, are divided between pacifieth (A.V. and R.V. text), turneth away, or bendeth (ἀνατρέπει, LXX.; frangit, Syr.; bendeth, R.V. marg.), and extinguisheth (extinguit, Vulg.); the word in this last case being regarded as synonymous with the similar word rendered quenched (of God’s anger), Jeremiah 7:20. Both renderings are admissible, but the former is to be preferred.

a reward] Rather, a present, R.V., as the same Heb. word is rendered in Proverbs 6:35, Proverbs 17:8, A.V.

in the bosom] brought in the folds of the garment from which it is drawn out stealthily and presented, see Proverbs 17:23.

Verse 14. - A gift in secret pacifieth anger. We have had above various maxims about bribes and presents; e.g. Proverbs 17:8, 23; Proverbs 18:16. The word translated "pacifieth" is from the ἅπαξ λεγόμενον verb כֵפָה, "to turn away," "avert." Septuagint, ἀνατρέπει; Vulgate, extinguit; Venetian, κάμψει. A gift offered secretly to one incensed, whether personal enemy, judge, or prince, averts the consequences of the offence. The next hemistich is parallel in meaning. And a reward (present) in the bosom strong wrath. A present kept handy in the bosom of the petitioner's garment, ready to be transferred at a fitting moment, as experience proves, calms the most violent wrath. Septuagint, "He that is sparing of gifts amuses strong wrath." Proverbs 21:1414 A gift in secret turneth away anger;

     And a bribe into the bosom violent wrath.

Hitzig reads with Symmachus, the Targ., and Jerome, יכבּה, and translates: "extinguishes anger;" but it does not follow that they did read יכבה; for the Talm. Heb. כּפה signifies to cover by turning over, e.g., of a vessel, Sanhedrin 77a, which, when it is done to a candle or a fire, may mean its extinction. But כפה of the post-bibl. Heb. also means to bend, and thence to force out (Aram. כּפא, כּפי), according to which Kimchi hesitates whether to explain: overturns equals smothers, or: bends equals forces down anger. The Venet. follows the latter signification: κάμψει (for Villoison's καλύψει rests on a false reading of the MS). But there is yet possible another derivation from the primary signification, curvare, flectere, vertere, according to which the lxx translates ἀνατρέπει, for which ἀποτρέπει would be yet better: כפה, to bend away, to turn off, ἀρκεῖν, arcere, altogether like the Arab. (compared by Schultens) kfâ, and kfy, ἀρκεῖν, to prevent, whence, e.g., ikfı̂ni hada: hold that away from me, or: spare me that (Fleischer); with the words hafı̂ka sharran (Lat. defendaris semper a malo) princes were anciently saluted; kfy signifies "to suffice," because enough is there, where there is a keeping off of want. Accordingly we translate: Donum clam acceptum avertit iram, which also the Syr. meant by mephadka (מפרק). This verb is naturally to be supplied to 14b, which the lxx has recognised (it translates: but he who spares gifts, excites violent anger). Regarding שׂחד, vid., at Proverbs 17:8; and regarding בּחק, at Proverbs 17:23. Also here חק (חיק equals חיק), like Arab. jayb, 'ubb, חב, denotes the bosom of the garment; on the contrary (Arab.) hijr, hiḍn, חצן, is more used of that of the body, or that formed by the drawing together of the body (e.g., of the arm in carrying a child). A present is meant which one brings with him concealed in his bosom; perhaps 13b called to mind the judge that took gifts, Exodus 23:8 (Hitzig).

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