Ishmaelites.3 David spared Saul's life when he was most vulnerable.4 In the latter case, Saul was evidently sur- prised by David's behavior for he asked, "If a man finds his enemy will he let him go away safe?" (I Sam. 24:19). Each of these examples may be viewed as beneficent responses to a personal enemy.
The wisdom tradition, however, sounds this note most clearly. The narrative examples of this ethic may perhaps be gainsaid since David was not dealing with a common enemy but with Yahweh's anointed,5 and Joseph was acting under the watchful and subtle guidance of God's providence.6 The beneficent behavior mandated by Exodus 23:4-5 is somewhat oblique for the object of neighborly consideration is the enemy's livestock, not the enemy himself. Why should
3 Gen. 37:18, 24, 28; the whole story comprises chapters 37, 39-50.
4 I Sam. 24:1-22; 26:1-25. The two stories are doublets of the same tradition; see K. Koch, Was Ist Formgeschichte? Methoden der Bibelexegese (3 Aufl., Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1974), pp. 163-181.
5 1 Sam. 24:6; 26:9; in both versions of this saga the fact that Saul is Yahweh's anointed is the reason given for David's restraint.
6 Gen. 45:4-8; 50:20; G. von Rod argued that the Joseph story is a wisdom tale in "The Joseph Narrative and. Ancient Wisdom," in The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays, trans. by E. Dickens (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966), pp. 292-300; and in Genesis: A Commentary, trans. by J. Marks (rev. ed., Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1972), p. 435; but see also G. Coats, "The Joseph Story and Ancient Wisdom: A Reappraisal," CBQ 35 (1973), 285-297.