The first is that “many curry favor with a ruler.” Because of a leader’s position, power and influence people go to significant lengths to connect with them. This might include giving the ruler a gift or doing something the rule might appreciate, whether good or bad.
At the same time, “everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts.” While many try to hook up with the big guy or gal, everyone wants to get connected with someone handing out gifts.
One the one hand, this verse speaks of the masses – “many” who do one thing and “everyone” who will do the other. But I’d like to suggest the most important focus of this wise saying may be on the “one who gives gifts.”
This gift-giving could be considered either a righteous or unrighteous activity. To do so unrighteously would be something like offering bribes to get what I want.
But I could also give gifts because I care about people and am glad to share what I have with them. This is a powerful way to live and is definitely a way to influence others.
So, if I want to make an impact, I can try to connect with the ruler. Or I could try bribery.
But there is another way. I can have great influence and make a major difference in the lives of many by just being a caring, sharing, generous person.