As much as I try, I cannot bring myself to think of a fox as “bad.” I know they often appear in literature (specifically, even in the Bible) as something other than sweet, little cuddly fur balls; nonetheless, I just think of them as beautiful creatures.
There are several Scripture passages about foxes, but the one that came to my mind as I was thinking about this “little fox,” was the reference to “little foxes” in Song of Solomon. This information is taken from one of my favorite resources, GotQuesions.org.
In Song of Solomon 2:15 the speaker says, “Catch for us the foxes, / the little foxes / that ruin the vineyards, / our vineyards that are in bloom.” It might seem strange that, in the middle of a romantic, tender conversation, the matter of a fox hunt should arise. As with much of the imagery in this beautiful poem, the foxes are symbolic.
Solomon’s readers considered foxes to be destructive animals that could destroy valuable vineyards (cf. Judges 15:4; Psalm 63:10; Ezekiel 13:4). As the Shulammite and her beloved verbalize their love for each other, we are suddenly confronted with the need to catch the foxes that spoil the vines. If the blossoming vineyard spreading its fragrance (Song of Solomon 2:13) refers to the growing romance between the couple, then the foxes of verse 15 represent potential problems that could damage the relationship prior to the marriage (which takes place in chapter 5). The command, in essence, is “Take preventative measures to protect this love from anything that could harm it.”
In the Old Testament, foxes are mentioned in Judges 15. Samson ties torches to 300 foxes and releases them to destroy the grain fields of the Philistines. In Nehemiah 4:3, the evil Tobiah mocks the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall, saying, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
Okay, I get that. And as the reference notes, “Solomon’s readers considered foxes to be destructive animals…” Writers need to know their audience.
For me, if I’m the “audience,” and someone wanted to warn me to “beware” of a potential danger, whether in a relationship with another person, or in my relationship with God (?), it might be well to warn me that little soft furry creatures may not always be what they appear to be.
But when I paint a little fox, I choose to think of him as just another of God’s beautiful creations—and I’m especially fond of furry ones.
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