The lawyer, who feels sympathy and compassion towards Bartleby, nevertheless wants him to leave the office for good after Bartleby repeatedly states that he "prefers not" to do work anymore. Knowing that Bartleby will not simply go if he doesn't want to—even if the lawyer orders him to do so—the lawyer turns to bribery. This is similar to the devil in the desert tempting Jesus to do his bidding. The devil tempts the hungry Christ with material goods, telling him that he, Christ, should turn stones into bread. The lawyer also tempts Bartleby with material goods. He offers him his owed pay and twenty dollars (a large amount of money at that time) if he will leave. Like Christ, Bartleby is unmoved by a bribe. The passage in which this occurs goes as follows:
“Bartleby,” said I, “I owe you twelve dollars on account; here are thirty-two; the odd twenty are yours.—Will you take it?” and I handed the bills towards him.
But he made no motion.
After the lawyer finally moves his offices in frustration, Bartleby shows up again. Like the devil, the lawyer tries to get him to obey him and leave with another temptation. This time, he uses the bribe of offering Bartleby the equivalent of his own kingdom, such as a bartender's business. This would put Bartleby in charge of his own domain, similar to Satan offering Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he would just bow down and worship him. Like Jesus, Bartleby refuses:
“How would a bar-tender’s business suit you? There is no trying of the eyesight in that.”
“I would not like it at all; though, as I said before, I am not particular.”
His unwonted wordiness inspirited me. I returned to the charge.
“Well then, would you like to travel through the country collecting bills for the merchants? That would improve your health.”
“No, I would prefer to be doing something else.”
The lawyer recognizes that there is something mysterious and divine about Bartleby, much like Christ. The lawyer decides that
these troubles of mine touching the scrivener, had been all predestinated from eternity, and Bartleby was billeted upon me for some mysterious purpose of an all-wise Providence, which it was not for a mere mortal like me to fathom.