Title: Catch the Foxes
Interpretive Summary: A request is made from one person to another, “Catch the foxes for us…that are ruining the vineyard…while our vineyards are in blossom.” The request is made in the form of a poetic metaphor. “She was probably speaking poetically about their relationship rather than about literal foxes and vineyards.” (Walvoord, P.1015)1
1. The speaker at the beginning of the verse apparent urgency says, “Catch the foxes for us.” The danger is immanent and threatens something of importance that is about to come to fruition. “Foxes were noted for their destructive tendencies in crop fields.” (Walvoord, P. 1015)2
2. “The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards.” The little foxes are symbolic of sin and distractions. And the vineyard is symbolic of relationships. Just as the foxes were ruining the vineyard, if the lover and beloved allowed sin and distractions to go un-checked it would ruin the relationship. “ The vineyards, beautiful with fragrant blossom, point to her covenant of love; and the foxes, the little foxes, which might destroy these united vineyards, point to all the great and little enemies, adverse circumstances, which threaten to gnaw and destroy love in blossom, ere it has reached the ripeness of enjoyment.” (Delitzsch, P.53)3
3. The request shows a desire for their relationship and actions to be godly and upright. “She requests that anything which would spoil the vineyard of their lives must be caught and eradicated. Let love be pure and undisturbed. There is no place here for lust, adultery, fornication, cheap sentimentality, or anything else which would spoil true love between man and wife.” (Guthrie, P. 582)4
4. “Even in ideal courtships and marriages most couples encounter some potentially destructive problems. Their willingness to solve them together is an evidence of their maturity.” (Walvoord, P. 1015)5 In every area of life there are things that are hazardous. The courage and integrity displayed in confronting and solving problems shows extreme maturity.
5. This passage relates to more than just couples. It holds insights for believers whether in a relationship or single. “This charge to take the foxes is, A charge to believers to mortify their own sinful appetites and passions which are as foxes…that destroy their graces, crush good beginnings, and prevent their coming to perfection.” (Henry, P. 815)6
Big Idea: Distractions cause destruction.
Application: While this is a request between two lovers, it holds truth for those who are single, perusing a relationship, or married. No matter how little or great, sin always causes damage, especially in our relationships. We need to “catch…the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards.” Pursuing our relationship with God and following Him wholeheartedly are the most important aspects of our Christian walk. Paul cautioned Timothy saying to“[keep the] faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.” (1 Timothy 1:19) Paul recognized the danger of leaving sin un-checked as did the writer of Song of Solomon.
1 Walvoord, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 1015.
2 Walvoord, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 1015.
3 Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes, p. 53.
4 Guthrie, The New Bible Commentary Revised, p. 582.
5 Walvoord, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 1015.
6 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, p.815.