18 You must appoint judges and civil servants for each tribe in all your villages that the Lord your God is giving you, and they must judge the people fairly. 19 You must not pervert justice or show favor. Do not take a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and distort the words of the righteous. 20 You must pursue justice alone so that you may live and inherit the land the Lord your God is giving you. 21 You must not plant any kind of tree as a sacred Asherah pole near the altar of the Lord your God which you build for yourself. 22 You must not erect a sacred pillar, a thing the Lord your God detests.
19 It is better to live in the wilderness than with a quarrelsome and easily provoked woman. 20 There is desirable treasure and olive oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish person devours all he has. 21 The one who pursues righteousness and love finds life, bounty, and honor. 22 A wise man went up against the city of the mighty and brought down the stronghold in which they trust. 23 The one who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his life from troubles.
Notes and References
"... The presented considerations show in an exemplary way that the book of Deuteronomy does not simply belong to a continuum of sapiential tradition. older concepts of “wisdom” are distinctively transformed in Deuteronomy 1:13, 15 and in Deuteronomy 16:19–20, but in both cases in a different way. In Deuteronomy 16:19–20, the transformation substantially relativizes any claim of Israel's judges to be “wise.” There are indications that this claim was related to the self-perception of the Deuteronomistic scribes. if this holds true, the phrase “the bribe blinds the eyes of the wise” can be read as a kind of scribal self-critique. At the same time, the Deuteronomistic editing of Deuteronomy, of which both Deuteronomy 1:9–18 and Deuteronomy 16:19–20 are part, draws on sapiential tradition on more than one occasion. The judicial instruction of Deuteronomy 1:17a resumes a tradition of condemning partiality in judgment that is represented by Proverbs 24:23. The commandment of Deuteronomy 16:20 reformulates the admonition of Proverbs 21:21. The proverbial saying, “the bribe blinds the eyes of the wise, and twists the cases of the righteous,” is, through Exodus 23:8b, indirectly dependent on a sapiential tradition that obviously influenced this section of the covenant code ..."
Müller, Reinhard "The Blinded Eyes of the Wise: Sapiential Tradition and Mosaic Commandment in Deut 16:19-20" in Schipper, Bernd Ulrich, et al. (eds.) Wisdom and Torah: The Reception of “Torah” in the Wisdom Literature of the Second Temple Period (pp. 9-33) Brill, 2013