A person giving a gift in secrecy is doing so for worthy reasons if it is a charitable gift, given anonymously. The giver seeks neither recognition nor gratitude. His motives are pure and in giving this gift, he pleases Hashem.
But another kind of secret gift is a bribe given to a judge. The giver is motivated by the intent to distort justice. His motives are shameful, and instead of pleasing Hashem, he has aroused Hashem’s strong wrath.
יד = מַתָּן בַּסֵּתֶר יִכְפֶּה אָף וְשֹׁחַד בַּחֵק חֵמָה עַזָּה
(14) An anonymous gift to charity can overcome anger,
but a covert bribe to a judge to distort justice, arouses strong wrath.
The proverb begins with an anonymous gift to charity that pleases Hashem. In fact, if the giver was guilty of a sin, the effect of the donation is to pacify Hashem’s anger.
Mishlei compares this with a covert gift in the form of a bribe given to a judge. The handover is typically done by slipping the shameful gift into the bosom of the judge without formal acknowledgement. Such a gift has the opposite effect, arousing Hashem’s strong wrath against both the giver and the receiver.
(14) An anonymous gift — מַתָּן בַּסֵּתֶר
presented quietly to charity
can overcome anger. — יִכְפֶּה אָף
But a bribe in the bosom — וְשֹׁחַד בַּחֵק
strong wrath — חֵמָה עַזָּה.
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