This attitude toward enemies which aims to resolve conflict and restore harmony in the daily life with one's fellows was not the sole possession of the wisdom tradition; it was the common inheritance of all Israelites. Neverthe- less, some of the particular concerns of the wisdom tradi- tion predisposed the sages to trace out its implications in some detail. The particular concerns of other circles in Israel, on the other hand, predisposed them to deal with problems other than personal enemies.
Impressions of the dominant attitude toward personal enemies in the Old Testament, however, are not formed on the basis of the historical literature, nor the prophetic literature, nor the law codes. They are formed rather on the basis of the Psalms which regularly ask for vengeance upon personal enemies. What is to be made of the striking difference between the attitude toward personal enemies expressed in the wisdom literature and that expressed in the Psalter?
The answer to this question is to be sought in the religious life of the sages, for, at bottom, the primary motivations behind their counsel stand or fall with Yahweh's reliability and intentionality. Yahweh's faithfulness is the presupposition of wisdom and the laments which were uttered in the cult. Qoheleth shows that the disintegration of this faith in God's faithfulness and intention for good