newly created, unknown beasts full of rage, or such as breathe out fiery breath, or belch, forth a thick pall of smoke, or flash, terrible sparks from their eyes; not only could their damage exterminate men, but the mere sight of them could kill by fright.
Wisdom of Solomon 11:18-19
Instead God used a "multitude of irrational creatures," who were sent in order that the Egyptians might learn that "one is punished by the very things by which he sins" (11:15-16).
Summary In the preceding survey of enemy designations within the wisdom literature enemies have appeared with varying frequency in the sages' reflections. Enemies from the byvx-group have a very low frequency in Proverbs moving
to a high frequency in Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon. This movement from lower to higher frequency of the byvx-
group is contradicted only by Qoheleth.
Various factors are certainly responsible for this situation. Within Proverbs the low frequency of the enemies probably reflects the relative stability of the sages' social status. Their social world was, of course, not immune to distortions and upheavals, especially where a particular individual was concerned, but the circles of the wise apparently lived in the confidence that their social group had been and would continue to be enduring in spite of the vagaries of social change. Threats to their well- being were not posed primarily by enemies. Even if enemies