Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards. Song of Solomon 2:15
While talking on the phone with a friend who lives by the seaside, I expressed delight at hearing seagulls squawking. “Vile creatures,” she responded, for to her they’re a daily menace. As a Londoner, I feel the same way about foxes. I find them not cute animals but roaming creatures that leave smelly messes in their wake.
Foxes appear in the love poetry of the Song of Solomon, an Old Testament book that reveals the love between a husband and wife and, some commentators believe, between God and His people. The bride warns about little foxes, asking her bridegroom to catch them (2:15). For foxes, hungry for the vineyard’s grapes, could tear the tender plants apart. As the bride looks forward to their married life together, she doesn’t want vermin disturbing their covenant of love.
How can “foxes” disturb our relationship with God? For me, when I say “yes” to too many requests, I can become overwhelmed and unpleasant. Or when I witness relational conflict, I can be tempted to despair or anger. As I ask the Lord to limit the effect of these “foxes”—those I’ve let in through an open gate or those that have snuck in—I gain in trust of and love for God as I sense His loving presence and direction.
How about you? How can you seek God’s help from anything keeping you from Him?
Lord God, You are powerful and You are good. Please protect my relationship with You, keeping out anything that would take my eyes off You.
Although the author is not specifically named, Song of Songs is traditionally attributed to Solomon, who is mentioned in 1:1, 5; 3:7, 9, 11; 8:11, 12 and who is referred to as “King Solomon” in 3:9–11. Therefore, this book is also called “The Song of Solomon.” Solomon composed 1,005 songs (1 Kings 4:32), but this song is deemed to be “the best”—hence the appropriate title “Solomon’s Song of Songs” (1:1). It is one of two biblical books (the other is Esther) where God isn’t mentioned explicitly. Some interpret Song of Songs as an allegory of Christ’s love for the church; others consider it to be a poem describing the romance and relationship of two passionate lovers. Rich in nature metaphors—“Your eyes are doves” (1:15); “My beloved is like a gazelle” (2:9); “The little foxes that ruin the vineyards” (v. 15)—the song celebrates sexual love and physical intimacy within the bonds of marriage (4:8–5:1). Together husband and wife wield out “the foxes” (2:15), removing anything that threatens their loving union or hurts the exclusivity of their marriage.