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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verse 16
Verse 16

Of what great force gifts (that is, bribes) are he had intimated before, Prov. 17:8, 23. Here he shows the power of gifts, that is, presents made even by inferiors to those that are above them and have much more than they have. A good present will go far, 1. Towards a man’s liberty: A man’s gift, if he be in prison, may procure his enlargement; there are courtiers, who, if they use their interest even for oppressed innocency, expect to receive a gratuity for it. Or, if a mean man know not how to get access to a great man, he may do it by a fee to his servants or a present to himself; those will make room for him. 2. Towards his preferment. It will bring him to sit among great men, in honour and power. See how corrupt the world is when men’s gifts will not do, though ever so great; nay, will gain that for them which they are unworthy of and unfit for; and no wonder that those take bribes in their offices who gave bribes for them. Vendere jura potest, emerat ille prius—He that bought law can sell it.