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What the scriptures say about
Foe, adversay
Also see Evil Doers, Satan
Easton's Bible Dictionary | Smith's Bible Dictionary | International Standard Bible Encyclopedia | Thompson Chain Reference

ENEMY, ENEMIES in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]

Cross Reference Bible links
Why did Israel go into exile? And what happened when God brought them back?
2 Chronicles 6:34-39 | Nehemiah 9:27-28 | Ezekiel 39:23 and 39:27
God's enemies fight against Him and His people
Psalm 83 - God's enemies are stirred up, conspiring against His people. They look for ways to completely destroy Israel as a nation, to obliterate God's people. So instead of taking vengeance in their own hands, God's people pray and ask God to deal with these enemies.

ENEMY, ENEMIES [Holman Bible Dictionary]

An adversary, foe, or hater. An enemy is one who dislikes or hates another and seeks to harm the person. It can refer to an individual opponent or to a hostile force, either a nation or an army.

Several Hebrew words are rendered "enemy" in the Old Testament.

means an "adversary, foe, oppressor, or enemy." It comes from the verb tsarar, which means "to show hostility toward."
An 'ohev
is "one who is hostile, an enemy or foe."
The term sane' means,
"one who hates."
is a "stranger, foreigner, or alien."
One Greek term, echthros,
is used for each of the Hebrew words in the New Testament. Its basic definition is simply "enemy."
In the Old Testament enemy generally referred to the national enemies of Israel. These included most of their neighboring nations at one time or the other. The enemies of Israel often were considered the enemies of God, for Israel was God's nation (Exodus 23:22). This view is also espoused by many of the prophets. Though the word "enemy" is not used there, the first chapter of Amos is a classic example of this.

Enemy is also used to speak of one's personal foes. This is especially true in the Psalms. David asked for help against his enemies on a number of occasions (Psalms 25:2,Psalms 25:19). Other poets in the Psalter often sought this same protection (Psalms 119:84,Psalms 119:86).

In the New Testament enemy most often refers to one's personal enemies, for the nation of Israel was no longer a force on the political scene. But it also was used of strangers and foreigners in general.

The natural inclination of all people is to hate their enemies. Some have even misconstrued God's law to teach hatred. Jesus taught rather to love one's enemies and to seek their good (Matthew 5:43-47). This is also the teaching of the Old Testament (Proverbs 24:17; Proverbs 25:21).

In the Bible, a person who disobeys divine commands is declared to be God's enemy. Paul referred to sinners as the enemies of God (Romans 5:10). Job felt that God had become his enemy, too (Job 13:24). Because of this severed relationship, God has made provision for our forgiveness in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Satan is also called "the enemy" (1 Timothy 5:14-15). He has revealed himself as such throughout history by seeking to hurt men and women, leading them away from God.

The greatest and final enemy is death itself (1 Corinthians 15:24). It is feared by all because of its finality and unknown nature. But the Bible teaches that Jesus has "abolished" death once for all (2 Timothy 1:10). Death need not be feared by those who have trusted Christ for the salvation He freely gives.

Bradley S. Butler


en'-e-mi ('oyebh, tsar, tsar; echthros):

"Enemy," "enemies," are frequent words in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word most often so translated is 'oyebh, meaning perhaps literally, "one who hates"; very frequent in the Psalms, eg. 3:7; 6:10; 7:5; 8:2; 9:3,1; 13:2, where the cry is often for deliverance from enemies. Another word for "enemy," found chiefly in the poetical books, is tsar, or tsar, "distresser," "straitener" (Numbers 10:9; Job 16:9; Psalms 27:2,12, the Revised Version (British and American) "adversary," etc.); also tsarar (Esther 3:10; Psalms 8:2; 10:5 the King James Version, etc.). Other words are `ar, "one awake" (1 Samuel 28:16 the King James Version; Daniel 4:19 the King James Version); sane', perhaps, "to be sharp or bite" (Exodus 1:10; Proverbs 25:21; 27:6); sharar, "to watch" (Psalms 5:8; 27:11), and qum, "to stand up," or "withstand" (Exodus 32:25).

In the New Testament echthros, "enemy," "opponent," is the only word translated "enemy" (Matthew 5:43,14; Mark 12:36; Luke 1:71,74, etc.; Romans 5:10; 11:28, etc.), once with anthropos ("a man"), joined to echthros (Matthew 13:28).

In the Revised Version (British and American) "adversary" is frequently substituted for "enemy" (Numbers 24:8; Deuteronomy 32:41; Psalms 6:7; 7:6; 44:10, etc.); for "O thou enemy," etc. (Psalms 9:6) we have "The enemy are come to an end"; instead of "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19) we have "For he will come as a rushing stream, which the breath of Yahweh driveth" (with the text of the King James Version in margins); for "The fire of thine enemies shall devour them" (Isaiah 26:11), "Fire shall devour thine adversaries" (text of the King James Version in the margin).

The frequent reference to enemies in the Old Testament is what we should expect to see in these early times on the part of a people settling in a land that had been occupied by other tribes, worshipping other gods. The spirit of their law was that expressed by our Lord in His Sermon on the Mount, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy." This He changed: "but I say unto you, Love your enemies." An approach toward this spirit had been made in the later prophets by their inclusion of the whole world under one God, who had a gracious purpose toward all, but the near statement of it we only find in Proverbs 25:21 (quoted by Paul, Romans 12:20). See also Exodus 23:4, and compare 2 Kings 6:22; 2 Chronicles 28:15.

W. L. Walker

ENEMIES [Thompson Chain Reference]
# God Delivers from

    * 1 Samuel 12:11
    * Ezra 8:31
    * Psalms 18:48
    * Isaiah 62:8
    * Luke 1:71

# Of God, their Punishment

    * Exodus 15:6
    * Deuteronomy 32:41
    * Judges 5:31
    * Psalms 68:1
    * Psalms 74:23
    * Isaiah 1:24
    * (Wicked, The)

# Duty to Enemies

    * Exodus 23:4
    * Job 31:29
    * Proverbs 24:17
    * Proverbs 25:21
    * Proverbs 25:22
    * Matthew 5:44
    * Romans 12:20
    * (Good for Evil)
    * (Retaliation)

# Of the Soul

    * Psalms 71:10
    * Psalms 86:14
    * Psalms 94:21
    * Psalms 109:20
    * Jeremiah 2:34
    * Jeremiah 18:20
    * Ezekiel 13:18
    * Ezekiel 22:25
    * Luke 22:31
    * Ephesians 6:12
    * 1 Peter 5:8
    * (Satan)

# Prayer for

    * Matthew 5:44
    * Luke 23:34
    * Acts 7:60
    * (Love)  

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