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The wicked are also recognizable in their behavior toward others. They overturn common virtues. A neighbor of the wicked finds no help from them for their appetite craves harm.28 As the admonition of Proverbs 24:15-16 shows, they characteristically lie in wait against the righteous and their belongings.

Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do not violence to his home; for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again; but the wicked are overthrown by

calamity.

Proverbs 24:15-16

Of course, these signs are often hard to detect until it is too late to avoid disaster. Nevertheless, there is a hint of the wicked person's distortion; they give them- selves away by mistreating their animals.

A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. Proverbs 12:10

Their "mercy" then reveals itself for the cruelty it really is. Presumably they think they can get by with such behavior toward animals since "dumb beasts" are seldom ever known to talk back to their master.29

28 29 21:10. The wicked are clearly not students of the Torah, else they would know of Balaam's ass, Num. 22:28.

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