Osama Bin Laden and Proverbs: Which Verse Applies to Him?
There are some dainty, sensitive souls who have cautioned Americans against being overly exuberant over the well-deserved death of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, claiming that the Bible warns against such celebrations in the verse of Proverbs, “When your enemy falls, do not be happy.” (Proverbs 24:17) But the Book of Proverbs also says, “When the wicked perish, there is gladness.” (10:11)
So which verse applies to Osama Bin Laden?
The verse which warns against celebrating your enemy’s downfall, refers to a private enemy, a business competitor or a neighbor with whom you have quarreled. Not to a moral monster like Hitler, Stalin, or Osama Bin Laden.
It is true that we do not say full Hallel on the later days of Passover, out of consideration for all the Egyptians who died during the Plagues, and at the Red Sea. But, we do say full Hallel at the Seder and on the first two days of Pesach! Likewise, we celebrate on Purim and do not mourn the downfall of Haman and his sons.
Feeling good about the destruction of an evil person like Bin Laden does not make us “like them” and we do not need to “balance” when any remembrance of the “good qualities” of Osama Bin Laden, like his mother thought he was a cute baby.