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There are two verses in the Pentateuch that exhort against bribery.

Exodus 23:8

וְשֹׁחַד לֹא תִקָּח כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר פִּקְחִים וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִים

Deuteronomy 16:19

לֹא תַטֶּה מִשְׁפָּט לֹא תַכִּיר פָּנִים וְלֹא תִקַּח שֹׁחַד כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר עֵינֵי חֲכָמִים וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִם

While these statements about bribery are virtually identical, there are some minor differences:

  • In Exodus the noun (bribe) appears before the verb (take), while in Deuteronomy it is reversed.
  • In Exodus the word used for the people who are getting blinded is פִּקְחִים. This word is switched to חֲכָמִים in Deuteronomy. (Note that in Exodus 4:11 פקח, which is the singular of פקחים, appears to simply refer to a person with the faculty of sight, while a חכם is generally taken to be someone with specific wisdom.)
  • In Exodus the people themselves are said to get blinded, whereas in Deuteronomy it is the eyes of the people that are said to get blinded.

Are any of these differences significant, and if they are what do they mean?

I have seen English translations that translate the two verses differently, as well as ones that translate them the same.

For example, the ESV translations:

Exodus

And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.

Deuteronomy

You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous.

In this version the noun-verb order is the same in both verses, but the verb is translated as "take" in Exodus and "accept" in Deuteronomy (despite the same Hebrew word תִקָּח in both verses). This version differentiates between פִּקְחִים – "clear-sighted" and חֲכָמִים – "wise", and also adds in "the eyes of" in Deuteronomy.

The King James Version translates both פִּקְחִים and חֲכָמִים as wise, though it does add "the eyes of" in Deuteronomy.

Interestingly, the Aramaic translations retain the distinct noun-verb orders.

Targum Onkelos has וְשׁוּחְדָּא לָא תְקַבֵּיל in Exodus, but וְלָא תְקַבֵּיל שׁוּחְדָּא in Deuteronomy. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan has ושוחדא לא תקביל in Exodus and ולא תקבלון שוחדא in Deutornomy. Onkelos translates both פִּקְחִים and חֲכָמִים as חַכִּימִין, while Pseudo-Jonathan differentiates between נסבוי and חכימיא. And both Targumim have "the eyes of" in both verses.

  • Robert Young's Literal has for the bribe bindeth the the open-[eyed], and perverteth the way of the righteous [Exodus] and for the bribe blindeth the eyes of the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous [Deut]. – Nigel J Jun 8 '18 at 13:04
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To address each of the bullet points in the question:

  • In Exodus the noun (bribe) appears before the verb (take), while in Deuteronomy it is reversed.

There is (presumably) a very simple reason for this. In Exodus, bribery is the only thing discussed in the verse. Therefore the phraseology has the liberty of putting the noun first. In Deuteronomy, however, bribery is the third in a list of things that the verse is speaking against. Since the first two things are phrased as "do not do X" rather than "X, do not do" the third thing follows that phraseology in order to have the verse be consistent.

  • In Exodus the word used for the people who are getting blinded is פִּקְחִים. This word is switched to חֲכָמִים in Deuteronomy. (Note that in Exodus 4:11 פקח, which is the singular of פקחים, appears to simply refer to a person with the faculty of sight, while a חכם is generally taken to be someone with specific wisdom.)

The Syriac Bible uses the same word ܕܚܟܝ̈ܡܐ in both verses. This may indicate that there is no significant difference between the words חֲכָמִים and פִּקְחִים, or it might indicate that there was a version of the Hebrew text that had the same word both times.

  • In Exodus the people themselves are said to get blinded, whereas in Deuteronomy it is the eyes of the people that are said to get blinded.

Both the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Syriac Bible have "the eyes of" in both verses. Again, this might be indicative of a corrupted text, or insignificance.

In sum, all three discrepancies can easily be explained, by positing consistency within a verse and textual variants or insignificance.

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Some Hebrew:

The adjective חכם means "wise, intelligent, smart".

As noun the word חכם refer to "wise person, intelligent person ; sage (title used by Oriental Jews for learned person come more as the plural form חכמים).

As adjective the word פקח means someone that: "sharp, bright, smart, quick-witted"

As noun the word פקח means "someone who is sharp-sighted"

As all Biblical Hebrew dictionery point, roots from "sight" semantic family used to express smartness and wisdom that got connection to God. Example while ראה is "see" (using eyes), the present form רואה is also mean: "prophet" as show in 1st Samuel chapter 9 verse 9. Another example: as ראה also חזה means to see (with the additional meaning of to be in the place and see the thing), and like רואה also חוזה mean "prophet" like the famus Gad (1st Samuel chapter 22 verse 5).

And we have this verse in Ecclesiastes chapter 2 verse 14 that make equal the חכם with one who can see.

To conclusion i think that the changes are because it's a different "glossary" to say the same basic thing: "money can blind justice - and even who are God choose to speak with".

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