innocent animals suffer merely because neighbors had become involved in some dispute?
Personal Enemies in the Psalms Although personal enemies do appear in narrative materials, law and wisdom literature, they seem to play a relatively minor role. With the individual laments and thanksgiving songs the enemies play a major role. They form one of the three fundamental components of the lament.7 Furthermore, although the Hebrew title of the Psalter
(Mylht) is more properly translated "Praises" there is
a large amount of prayer or petition (tvlpt); approxi-
mately one third of the Psalms are not in fact praises but laments.8 It is scarcely surprising, therefore, that enemies appear so frequently in the Psalter.
Because of the major role which enemies play in so many psalms, impressions of Old Testament attitude toward per- sonal enemies are most easily formed on the basis of the Psalter. When it is examined with a view toward discerning how to treat one's enemies, the results are radically dif- ferent from the beneficent, or at least non-aggressive,
7 C. Westermann, "The Structure and History of the Lament in the Old Testament," in Praise and Lament in the Psalms, trans. by K. Crim and R. Soulen (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1981), p. 169 (= "Struktur and Geschichte der Klage im Alten Testament," ZAW 66 , 44-80).
8 A. Anderson, The Book of Psalms, Vol. I (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), 36.