Since the dawn of time, humanity has been drawn to various animal figures including foxes. Some of the creatures have inspired awe from one civilization to another starting from the Aztec empire to the Native American tribes. Foxes have been used symbolically to mean so many things.
Since the documented existence of man, humans have been known to keep foxes captive because of their clever and brave reputation. Everywhere a fox was spotted, people believed that there is positivity and luck.
The Bible also talks of foxes but from a slightly different angle. Many of the symbolisms are noted in scripture and we shall look at some of those to get an idea of what they exactly mean or refer to.
What You'll Learn Today
Symbol of Mischief
You have probably heard the common saying that it is the little foxes that spoil the vines. This phrase is extracted from Song of Solomon 2:15 that says,
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”
This is a passage of scripture that is super important to lay hold off.
Symbolically, this analogy means that in life, the things that trip us up are not the obvious boulders, but rather the little pebbles. It is the small things that work consistently to destroy our relationship with God and damage the core of our faith.
In an otherwise ideal setting, the foxes come into picture as one of negative element. That is why the Bible insists that the foxes be caught to prevent them from interfering with the state of affairs.
The danger with the little foxes is that they creep in insensibly and do a lot of mischief. They target the vines which may probably have tender grapes and destroy them.
Believers are the vines and from time-to-time bear fruits. If the foxes are not taken care of, they can destroy the vines and therefore prevent the fruits from maturing. Catching the foxes could have two implications.
The first implication is that believers must look within at their own sinful passions and appetites which are likened to the foxes. Failure to do so will see their good beginnings crushed and graces destroyed. The foxes are the first raisings of sin, the sins that look negligible, but at some point, can turn dangerous.
The second implication is for believers to take charge in order to prevent and oppose practices that have a tendency of corrupting the conscious and judgment of people.
In Luke 13:32, the persecutors can be viewed as foxes and in Ezekiel 13:4, the false prophets can also be foxes. These are people who are determined to plant the tears of heresy and trouble the peace that believers enjoy in churches.
Symbol of the Call to Follow Jesus
In the Book of Luke 9:58, the Bible says,
“Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
If you have lived in ana area surrounded by woods, chances are you may have seen foxes at twilight. Naturally, the activity of foxes increases after dark.
Walking during the day in the same woods, you may not see even a single trace of foxes. They sleep during the day in a secure, safe, and hard to find place.
Jesus in both Luke and Matthew contrasted the nature of his ministry to the comfort of the foxes. Unlike the foxes that had somewhere to sleep, the nature of his ministry didn’t guarantee him a place to rest.
He either stayed in homes that belonged to his followers or was out in the fields teaching or praying. Unlike in today’s church organizations, Jesus never had a head office for ministry. He traveled from place to place doing ministry for relatively short periods.
The implication of this verse of scripture and symbolism is that when you decided to follow Jesus, you may have to leave the comfort of your family, your home, or even your career to follow a road whose only assurance is faith in God.
Jesus doesn’t give his followers atlases so that they can have a big picture of where they are going, rather he hands them over a strip map just to show them where they are and a few steps ahead. It is a call to believe and trust in God.
Symbol of Worthlessness
Jesus spoke using different references, close to what people today may call name calling. In Luke 13:31-33, the Bible says,
“At that very hour, some Pharisees came to Jesus and told Him, “Leave this place and get away, because Herod wants to kill You. But Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘Look, I will keep driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach My goal. Nevertheless, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day, for it is not admissible for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem.”
Herod was a real threat to everybody during his reign including the disciples of Jesus. However, Jesus looked at Herod from different lenses and instead referred to him as a fox. This didn’t mean that he was not dangerous, but he didn’t pose a threat to his ministry.
By referring to Herod as a fox, Jesus chose to exploit the worthlessness and slyness of Herod which was a major shift from how everybody looked at him.
This can be a lesson to all of us that how you look at somebody or something will inform your reaction to it. Jesus was never afraid or scared of the presence of Herod because of his perspective.
Foxes may look dangerous, but the Bible is concerned more about their slyness, mischief, and destructive nature to warn Christians that they need to be careful. The foxes that spoil the vines can bring down a whole ministry and scatter Christians in different directions.
In one instance, when Sanballat was angry that the wall was being rebuilt, mocked the Jews saying that the wall could collapse if a fox walked on top of it.
This was a discouragement to the Jews who were toiling to have the wall up. Such discouragement should not be allowed to find their way into the community of brethren.
2 thoughts on “What Does A Fox Symbolize In The Bible?”
Very interesting references to the fox. I always see them as a symbol of sly, cleverness as well.
They seem to be neutral, not inherently bad or good. More like, they can be both, depending on how well or poorly one is trained.
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I have been seeing a fox cross my path every monday on my walk back from churhc. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?? HELP