As my country prepares for the upcoming presidential and senate elections, I was studying the Bible and came across a bible story that talks about corrupt politicians and cases of corruption in an important ancient government.
I considered that what the Bible says about corrupt politicians and corruption is not the subject of much study and disclosure, so I decided to use this opportunity to write about it.
In this instance, I set out to answer the question: What does the Bible teach about Corruption?
I hope it is a blessing to you.
Is corruption mentioned in the Bible?
Yes, corruption is mentioned in the bible in multiple instances, in every case, and implies multiple ideas. Nevertheless, it is condemned by God in every case.
What is corruption according to the Bible?
The Hebrew words for corrupt or corruption in the bible are mishchath, mashchath, mashchith, and their Greek equivalents, phthora, and diaphthora.
Considering the meaning of the previously mentioned terms, the word corrupt means in the Bible physical degeneration and decay in a literal sense.
In a non-literal sense, to be corrupt in the Bible means moral depravity and corruption, which ends in utter moral ruin and hopelessness, the second death.
Given the previous information, we can conclude that the word corruption in the bible means utter moral degradation and depravity.
What the Bible says about corruption
The Bible openly condemns corrupt goverments, and emphatically rejects any act of corruption.
The word of God emphasizes that we must refrain from, and fight against, all practices of bribery, fraud, and any type of theft.
Corruption in the eyes of God is a serious sin, since it harms others.
It is directly or indirectly affecting the poor, perpetuating their misery and depriving them of opportunities to improve their quality of life.
The ten commandments say that we should not covet what belongs to others, and that we should not take possession of what is not ours by right. That is, we should not steal.
The Bible broadly and explicitly condemns corrupt practices very similar to those that our countries, cities, and municipalities suffer from today.
It also tells us what our behavior should be regarding these issues.
Let’s go further in trying to answer the question: what does the Bible teach about Corruption.
Let’s look at some examples:
#1 Corruption causes suffering to the people
When the righteous rule, the people enjoy; when the wicked rule, the people suffer.
| Proverbs 29:2
#2 God condemns cheating and unfair acts in negotiations
“Do not be unfair in judgment, nor cheat in measuring land, or in weighing or measuring anything.
Use fair scales, weights and measurements.
I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt.
| Leviticus 19:35
#3 The Bible condemns the acceptance of kickbacks and bribes
You will not pervert justice or act with partiality.
You will not accept a bribe, for bribery clouds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.
| Deuteronomy 16:19
#4 Public officials must be content with their salary
Some soldiers also asked him, saying: And we, what shall we do?
And he said to them: Do not extort anyone, nor slander; and be content with your wages.
| Luke 3:14
#5 Those who commit fraud will not be accepted by God
No one who commits fraud will dwell in my house, nor will any liar come before me.
| Psalms 101:7
#6 For the corrupt: misfortune, ruin, the wrath of God and hell
“He will not enjoy his unjust riches, but all of them he will have to pay back, because he left the poor destitute, and he took possession of houses that he never built.
For this reason, he will never be able to live in peace, because in his ambition he let nothing escape.
Nothing ever escaped his voracity; therefore his prosperity will not last.
His extreme abundance will cause him pain, and all the power of evil will fall on him.
When he sits at the table, ready to eat, God will unleash all the heat of his wrath on him and on everything he eats.
Though he flees from iron weapons, he will fall victim to a bronze bow, an arrow will pierce his body, the steel point will pierce his liver, and terrible fears will come upon him.
A terrible darkness is reserved for him; an unstoked fire will consume him, and He will destroy what is left of his house.
The heavens will show its injustice, and the earth will rise up to accuse him.
On the day that God has appointed for his wrath, his sons will be carried into exile and scattered.
This is how God punishes wicked people; that is the inheritance that God has assigned to them.”
| Job 20:18-29
#7 God favors the non-corrupt
Only the one who acts with justice and speaks uprightly, the one who rejects the profit of extortion and shakes his hands so as not to accept a bribe, the one who does not listen to murder plots and closes his eyes so as not to contemplate evil.
That one will dwell in the heights; he will have a fortress of rocks as a refuge, he will be provided with bread, and he will not lack water.
After this introduction to the topic of corruption in the Bible, as usual, I would like to address the issue from the perspective of a Bible story, and then make several reflections on it.
Example of corruption in the Bible
Our story for the day takes place in the ancient kingdom of Babylon, which had recently been conquered by King Darius of the Medo-Persian empire.
It is about an interaction between the prophet Daniel and some corrupt politicians who wanted to harm him, to get away with their wrongdoings.
For the effective control of his kingdom, Darius thought it prudent to appoint one hundred and twenty satraps and three administrators, one of whom was Daniel.
These satraps were responsible to the administrators, so that the king’s interests would not be affected.
And Daniel distinguished himself so much for his extraordinary administrative qualities that the king thought of putting him in charge of the entire kingdom.
Then the administrators and the satraps began to look for some reason to accuse Daniel of mismanagement in the affairs of the kingdom.
However, they found nothing to charge him with because, far from being corrupt or negligent, Daniel was a trustworthy man.
| Daniel 6: 1 – 4
We have here a good politician, victim of harassment and political persecution from corrupt politicians.
It sounds a bit familiar with today’s politics.
This is not surprising, since corruption is so old; that neither the Babylonians nor the Medo-Persians were spared from it.
After the facts that we read in the bible quote, those unscrupulous characters seek the death of the just man in the lions’ den, for their own convenience.
To perpetuate themselves in power.
To achieve this, they trick the king into enacting a law that makes that good public administrator unable to pray to God, since it is the only thing they manage to scheme to harm him.
In the Bible story, our anti-corruption administrator decides to continue his daily prayers despite that, and these corrupt ones manage to force the king to sentence him to death.
They manage to force the king to throw his best governor into a den full of hungry lions; but God miraculously saves him from death by preventing the lions from eating him.
The king, realizing what these villains were up to, sentences them to die just as they tried to have our hero killed.
Then the king sent for those who had falsely accused him and ordered them to be thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and his children.
They hadn’t touched the ground before the lions had fallen on them and crushed their bones!
| Daniel 6: 24
A Biblical Response To Corruption
#8 Not all politicians are corrupt
The first lesson I would like to draw from this story is that the Bible gives us hope, because it reminds us that not all politicians are corrupt.
In our Bible story, we have a good politician who did his job well and did not steal a penny.
Being a politician is not always a synonym for theft or corruption. God in his love will always have good people who participate in government to look after the interests of His children. Our duty is to vote wisely to elect them.
#9 The antidote to corruption
Evil, envious, unscrupulous and corrupt men accompanied the public office held by the good public administrator of our story today.
Although they had similar jobs, there was a big difference between them.
Our good politician feared God, while his colleagues lived exclusively according to their selfish interests.
The antidote to corruption is a life that seeks to please God before the self. As long as the self has first place in life, decisions will be made that benefit personal interests before those of the people.
#10 The response to political persecution
In order that no one interfered with their corrupt practices of power, these men set out to frame our good politician out of the way.
As it is done today, they began to look for any error to disqualify him; but they could not find it.
Our good public servant was persecuted and politically harassed.
However, from his response to the situation, we can learn something.
We are not told that he played the same dirty game as his persecutors; although defending himself would have been nothing wrong; he left the matter in the hands of God.
In the face of political persecution, the answer is not to lower yourself to the level of the corrupt. Defend yourself, yes, but better to continue working with integrity; let God judge, and let the results speak for themselves.
#11 Corruption is unviable in the long run
Our lovers of corruption thought to do what was best for them; but their own criminal acts came upon them, and their end was tragic.
Corrupt politicians may enjoy impunity and privileges, but this does not last forever. What easily comes, easyly goes. And although justice is lame, you can never escape it. Be it in this life or in the future.
#12 God honors good politicians
Just as our anti-corruption hero was saved from death by God, the Lord continues to honor good politicians.
God is faithful to those who honor him. Nobody is perfect, but when things are done right, they always turn out well. Doing politics with integrity and honesty is having God as an ally. Sooner or later, it bears the best fruits.
It is clear from our bible study, that the bible teaches that God despises corruption in government and that he is pleased with governments that are fair to the people.
I would like to recommend you to read the book: Politics – According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture by Wayne A. Grudem, in which these issues are discussed in more detail.
Also, It would be very useful to check out our article on the leadership of Jesus to contrast with today’s topic.
What do you think? What does the Bible teach about Corruption? What is your experience? Share in the comments.
A hug, God bless you.