Proverbs 28:21
To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) For, for a piece of bread.—A thing proverbially of little value. (Comp. Ezekiel 13:19.)

That man will transgress.—So degrading is the habit of servility.

Proverbs 28:21. To have respect of persons is not good — It is a fundamental error in the administration of justice, and that which will lead men to many transgressions, to consider the quality of the parties concerned more than the merits of the cause; for a piece of bread that man will transgress — When a man hath once accustomed himself to take bribes, a very small advantage will make him sell justice, and his own soul into the bargain. The design of this proverb is to warn men to take heed of the beginnings of that sin, and consequently of all other sins.28:18. Uprightness will give men holy security in the worst times; but the false and dishonest are never safe. 19. Those who are diligent, take the way to live comfortably. 20. The true way to be happy, is to be holy and honest; not to raise an estate suddenly, without regard to right or wrong. 21. Judgment is perverted, when any thing but pure right is considered. 22. He that hastens to be rich, never seriously thinks how quickly God may take his wealth from him, and leave him in poverty. 23. Upon reflection, most will have a better opinion of a faithful reprover than of a soothing flatterer.Dishonest partiality leads men who have enslaved themselves to it to transgress, even when the inducement is altogether disproportionate. A "piece of bread" was proverbial at all times as the most extreme point of poverty (compare the marginal reference). 21. respect of persons—(Pr 24:23). Such are led to evil by the slightest motive. When a man hath once vitiated his conscience, and accustomed himself to take bribes, a very small advantage will make him sell justice, and his own soul into the bargain. The design of the proverb is to warn men to take heed of the beginnings of that sin, and consequently of other sins. To have respect of persons is not good, &c. In courts of judicature, to give a cause or pass sentence in favour of a person, because he is rich, or is a relation, a friend, an acquaintance, or has done a kindness; and against another, because of the reverse, Leviticus 19:15; nor in religious assemblies, making a difference between the rich and the poor, James 2:1; this is not good in itself, nor productive of good effects, and cannot be well pleasing to God, who himself is no respecter of persons;

for for a piece of bread that man will transgress; the laws of God and men; having used himself to such unrighteous methods of proceeding, he will do any base action for a small gain, he will stick at nothing, and do it for anything; as Cato used to say of M. Coelius the tribune,

"that he might be hired, for a morsel of bread, to speak or hold his peace;''

see Ezekiel 13:19.

To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of {k} bread that man will transgress.

(k) He will be abused for nothing.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. For … that man will transgress] Or, Neither that a man should transgress, R.V. The rendering of A.V., however, which is retained substantially in R.V. marg., has the support both of LXX. and Vulg.

a piece of bread] Dean Plumptre, in Speaker’s Comm., and others quote the words of Cato with reference to M. Cœlius, “frusto panis conduci potest, vel uti taceat, vel uti loquatur,” A. Gell., Noct. Att. i. 15.

transgress] i.e., as the former clause indicates, pervert justice by shewing partiality.Verse 21. - The first hemistich occurs a little fuller in Proverbs 24:23, referring there, as here, to the administration of justice. For for a piece of bread that man will transgress. Thus translated, this clause confirms the former, and says that a judge given to favouritism will swerve from right under the smallest temptation. But to bribe a judge with a morsel of bread seems an unlikely idea; and the gnome is of general application, "And for a morsel of bread a man [not 'that man'] will transgress." As some men in responsible positions are often swayed by low and unworthy considerations, so in social life a very insignificant cause is sufficient to warp the judgment of some persons, or draw them aside from the line of rectitude. (For "a piece of bread," as denoting abject poverty or a thing of no value, see on Proverbs 6:26) The commentators cite Aul. Gell., 'Noct. Att.,' 1:15, "Frusto panis conduci potest vel uti taceat vel uti loquatur." Septuagint, "He that regards not the persons of the just is not good; such a cue will sell a man for a morsel of bread." This general ethical proverb is now followed by one concerning the king:

15 A roaring lion and a ravening bear

     Is a foolish ruler over a poor people,

i.e., a people without riches and possessions, without lasting sources of help - a people brought low by the events of war and by calamities. To such a people a tyrant is a twofold terror, like a ravenous monster. The lxx translate מושׁל רשׁע by ὃς τυραννεῖ πτωχὸς ὤν, as if רשׁ had been transferred to this place from Proverbs 28:3. But their translation of רשׁע, Proverbs 29:7, wavers between ἀσεβής and πτωχός, and of the bear they make a wolf זאב, dialectical דּיב. שׁוקק designates a bear as lingering about, running hither and thither, impelled by extreme hunger (Venet. ἐπιοῦσα), from שׁקק equals שׁוּק, to drive, which is said of nimble running, as well as of urging impulses (cf. under Genesis 3:16), viz., hunger.

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