Samson and the Foxes


In Judges 15:1-5 Samson decides to go back to his wife and try to make amends. When he arrives his wife’s father will not let him in to see his wife. In fact the father has assumed that Samson would not come back at all because of the deceptions practiced on Samson. So the father had given the wife to Samson’s “companion” and offers the younger sister to Samson. In some ways this is similar to the older sister younger sister discussion that God has with Ezekiel in chapter 16 of the book of Ezekiel and how treacherous is Samaria and Judah in their relationship with their husband Jesus.


When Samson is confronted with this problem he passes judgment on the Philistines and decides to do them a, “displeasure”. Samson gathers 300 foxes and pairs them up and then ties a lighted firebrand to their tails and turns these foxes loose into the dried harvest fields of the Philistines. This acts is a testimony of Samson, the Judge of Israel and the Deliverer of Israel, against the treacherous behavior of the Philistines (Leviticus 18:22-30). This in effect puts a major dent into the food supply of the Philistine nation. In fact it is very similar to one of the judgments that God sent upon Egypt prior to freeing Israel from the oppression of the Egyptians (The plagues of hail and of locusts in Exodus 9:18-10:20). This judgment like environment had been repeated for the Philistines and they get to decide whether to recognize it as a judgment from God or the assaults of a single person whom they think that they can control.


It is interesting to note that the Bible has several definitions of what a “fox” means in Bible study. The Bible defines a fox as an “eater of carrion” or an eater of dead things Psalms 63:10. Then in Luke 13:3 Jesus refers to Herod as a fox and thus He identifies a cunning and evil man to be a fox. In Song of Solomon 2:15 a fox is simply an animal that spoils the fruit of the vineyard thus a fox could also be one that negatively affects a spiritual harvest. In Lamentations 5:18 a fox is an animal that walks in desolate places so a “fox” could be a person who dwells in places without the presence of the Holy Spirit. Finally in Ezekiel 13:1-8 God refers to foxes as the false prophets, or false brethren, of Israel. So in general a fox is not thought of highly in the Bible to represent a good healthy God fearing person or animal but one that undermines the church or the country. So it is possible that Samson was emulating Gideon and chose 300 unique “warriors” to pass a judgment on the Philistines a non-God fearing country.


As a result of this judgment on the Philistines by Samson, as a judge sent from God, is that they now pass judgment on the marital family of Samson and they judge Samson’s father in law and estranged wife as worthy of death and they kill them. As a result of this action then Samson does not use foxes again but goes directly into battle form and destroys the Philistines hip and thigh. We are not told how many men died in this battle, or how God chose to deliver Samson in this combat, none the less the whole Philistine nation is now on alert because Samson is no longer passing judgments on the Philistines secretly but in open direct combat.


As a result of this combat then Samson chooses not to go home but goes to the Rock Etam – a place of wild beasts. Apparently this was a fortified enough rock that the Philistines could not get to him easily and would have to come at him in a way that he could defend the position well. This is an interesting place for Samson to go for it is a symbol of that Rock – Christ (I Corinthians 10:1-4). This is a good place for one to go when they are in danger, or when all is well, to get to where Jesus is so that He can protect you.