- Older Than Feudalism examples from Greek Mythology:
- This happened when Zeus decided to take revenge at humanity because Prometheus stole fire from him. He did this by first giving Prometheus' brother Epimetheus a woman named Pandora who was very curious. With her also came a mysterious box in which Pandora was told never to open it. Naturally, Pandora's curiosity got the better of her and now humanity is ravaged with diseases and vices.
- The Odyssey features how Odysseus manages to escape the cyclops Polyphemos. When he's first captured, he tells the cyclops that his name is "Nobody". Although his plan does work in the end, it rests on the assumptions that, if the Polyphemos's brothers hear Odysseus blind him and ask if there's anyone there, 1) that Polyphemos will say "It's Nobody," and 2) they'll buy it and go away.
- A couple of these are in The Bible.
- One interpretation of the Fall of Man is thus: the serpent/Satan pulls one by getting Adam and Eve to disobey God by questioning whether he has the right to tell them what to do, knowing that God won't kill them immediately or else look like he is afraid of someone not being under his authority, thus possibly causing the angels to question his authority. God retaliates by exploiting his Vetinari Job Security and ceding Earth to Satan and the humans so they can screw themselves over trying to rule themselves. God then turns on his foresight and pulls a 4,000-year-long gambit ending in the death of Jesus Christ to redeem the rest of humanity who got pulled into this whole mess.
- A more common interpretation is that God pulled the Gambit on Satan by allowing Adam and Eve to be tempted, thus causing them to be cast out of Paradise to inhabit and populate the world (an event that would never have happened had they remained in the Garden).
- King Solomon pulled this off when he determined which of two women was the true mother of a child they both claimed was theirs. He proposed that the child be cut in half so that both women would have part of him, rightfully believing that the false mother would allow the "division" and that the real mother would sooner have her son be raised by someone else than have him killed.note
- Jacob pulled one on Esau when he "tricked" Esau into selling his birthright for a bowl of soup. Jacob's cooking was the first thing Esau saw on his was back into camp, and he was so hungry that he agreed to Jacob's price. The camp consisted of hundreds of people - Esau could have walked to the next tent over and found someone else to feed him.
- In Christian Theology, Molinism holds that God, knowing perfectly what people will choose if placed into a specific situation, arranges things such that He gets his way whilst ensuring that free will is not violated.
- Krishna is the king of this in Hindu Mythology.
- The Pandavas, Krishna's cousins, are forced to have to defeat an evil, powerful king, Jarasandha, in order for them to become the emperors of the Earth. Krishna destroys Jarasandha's army no less than 17 times, each time sparing the king himself, so that whenever he lets the evil king beat him once, Jarasandha becomes conceited and vain. He then agrees to a duel with Bheema, the strongest Pandava, when he waltzes into his court, rather than just kill him on the spot. Krishna tells Bheema what Jarasandha's weakness is, note and Bheema is able to topple Jarasandha.
- The several versions of this folktale where a fragile farmer (or a relative) tricks someone into digging his rough land plot after implying that something valuable is hidden under the earth and he wants nobody to dig it. All of them end with the farmer happy with his new harvest.
- Kids Praise: In the ninth album of this Christian praise music for kids, Risky Rat tricks the protagonists into believing certain apparently-natural events are signs from God, such as all the pillars in some jungle ruins falling in the same direction after an earthquake. In reality, this was special effects simulating an earthquake in an abandoned movie set that happened to be in the general area of Africa where Risky was hiding.
Batman Gambit / Mythology & Religion