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renders the traditional counsel incredible. The sages believed in the effectiveness of the laments.

If Yahweh had been informed of the enemies and their attacks, then the sage could quit worrying about them so much. Why should valuable time be spent planning vengeance or seeking legal recourse when Yahweh was fully competent to bring enemies to judgment--in his own good time? Therefore, the sages set about the task of examining, testing and recommending ways of getting along with enemies, friends and neighbors (and they were often identical) which would secure life until Yahweh acted.

Does the wisdom literature of Israel then depart in a remarkable way from the dominant Old Testament attitude toward personal enemies? As with the closing question of Chapter Four, this too requires a qualified affirmation. The attitude toward enemies expressed in the wisdom litera- ture is a part of all Israel's common inheritance. Due to its particular concerns and intentions, however, the wisdom tradition had more cause to preserve, transmit and explicate this cultural inheritance. Other strands of Old Testament tradition do not ultimately contradict it. They simply fail to do anything significant with it.

The responses in the Psalms, on the other hand, provide the religious underpinnings for the practical responses which appear most often in the wisdom literature. Without

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