Foe - Treatment of Enemies - Religious Doctrines On The Treatment of Enemies

Religious Doctrines On The Treatment of Enemies

The Book of Exodus states: "If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and thou wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him." The Book of Proverbs similarly states: "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbleth", and: "If thine enemy be hungry give him bread to eat, and if he be thirsty give him water to drink. For thus shalt thou heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee". The Jewish Encyclopedia contends that the opinion that the Old Testament commanded hatred of the enemy derives from a misunderstanding of the Sermon on the Mount, wherein Jesus said: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies and pray for them that persecute you".

The Jewish Encyclopedia also cites passages in the Talmud stating: "If a man finds both a friend and an enemy requiring assistance he should assist his enemy first in order to subdue his evil inclination", and: "Who is strong? He who converts an enemy into a friend".

The concept of Ahimsa found in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism also captures this sentiment, requiring kindness and non-violence towards all living things on the basis that they all are connected. Indian leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi strongly believed in this principle, stating that "o one who follows this doctrine there is no room for an enemy".

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