Laughing When Enemies Fall?

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Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
I was singing this morning from Psalm 52 and was curious about verse 6:

Psalm 52:6

And how it correlates with a teaching from Proverbs:

Prov 24:17


Is it wrong to rejoice and thank God when the wicked are thrown down? How can it then be said that "righteous" men are able to laugh?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
First, at a lexical level, these two passages are talking about different things. Second, one is a command from wisdom literature, the other is a description from poetry. Our dealing with how these relate must start from these two hermeneutical facts.

I think the Proverb passage is talking about self-glorying glee at the destruction of another, while the Psalm speaks of the God-ward exposition of the fall of the wicked, pointing others to the Lord. The Proverb speaks of a man being only concerned for himself in his hatred; the Psalm speaks of awe before the Lord at the fall of the wicked.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
First, at a lexical level, these two passages are talking about different things. Second, one is a command from wisdom literature, the other is a description from poetry. Our dealing with how these relate must start from these two hermeneutical facts.

I think the Proverb passage is talking about self-glorying glee at the destruction of another, while the Psalm speaks of the God-ward exposition of the fall of the wicked, pointing others to the Lord. The Proverb speaks of a man being only concerned for himself in his hatred; the Psalm speaks of awe before the Lord at the fall of the wicked.
So essentially, it's the difference between rejoicing at my enemy falling and rejoicing that the Lord's justice has been carried out?
 

Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Sophomore
So essentially, it's the difference between rejoicing at my enemy falling and rejoicing that the Lord's justice has been carried out?
I believe so, Calvins commentary on Psalm 52 points out that it is a laughing in reverence. The title of the Psalm points to a specific situation regarding Doeg the Edomite (1 Samuel 20-21), a study of those chapters should help with determining the proper context.

From Matthew Henry’s commentary:

The title is a brief account of the story which the psalm refers to. David now, at length, saw it necessary to quit the court, and shift for his own safety, for fear of Saul, who had once and again attempted to murder him. Being unprovided wit harms and victuals, he, by a wile, got Ahimelech the priest to furnish him with both. Doeg an Edomite happened to be there, and he went and informed Saul against Ahimelech, representing him as confederate with a traitor, upon which accusation Saul grounded a very bloody warrant, to kill all the priests and Doeg, the prosecutor, was the executioner, 1 Samuel 22:9
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Just to add a little more detail to what others have written, note that in Psalm 52:6 we have the wicked opposing God, thus making himself a direct enemy of God. Of such we may laugh at him because he is opposed to the LORD, who himself laughs in heaven (Psalm 2:4). Indeed, this enemy has been marked out for destruction (vs. 5), not only with respect to something that happens to him but is prophetically denounced (as I explore here).

In the case of the man in Proverbs 24:17 we do not have the same warrant because he is our or "thine enemy." It may be assumed that, as such, he is also the LORD's enemy (vs. 18), but his actions are against us as individuals. In this case, God's judgment can be no laughing matter nor assumed (as permanent) because no prophetic utterance has been given.
 
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