simple rejection of enemy behavior as a pattern of life through avoidance of the enemy to aid for the enemy. The motives which stand behind this range of responses include some of the fundamental presuppositions of the sages. The following discussion will proceed by noting the variety of responses which Proverbs counsels together with their motives.
The reasons given for the various responses seem to be somewhat ad hoc. Any of them may be encountered in connec- tion with several different responses. Therefore, they will simply be noted as they arise. After all the various responses have been discussed the motives will be collected for discussion.
Rejection of Enemy Behavior
The most frequent counsel when confronted with the problem of enmity is an outright rejection of all kinds of hostility. Conduct which is characteristic of enemies is prohibited by the wise. These prohibitions are most evident in the instruction genre.
Do not plan evil (hfr wrH) against
your neighbor who dwells trustingly beside you.
Do not contend (byr) with a man for no
reason (MkH), when he has done you no harm. Do not envy (xnq, pi.) a man of violence,
and do not choose (rHb) any of his ways;
for the perverse man is an abomination to Yahweh,