While the red fox is fairly common in Ontario, it’s also a shy animal and not often encountered in the wild. Foxes are secretive and most active during dusk and at night, hunting for small mammals or birds, and enjoying ripe fruit as part of their diet. They only weigh about 10-15 lbs. and are the size of a miniature collie, but their reputation in legends and folklore tales is much more sizeable. Besides their very bushy tails, they are usually noted for their cunning and sly ways and their destructive habits.
Even in the Bible foxes are known as destructive to vineyards (S.o.S. 2:15), and false prophets are compared to foxes (Ez.13:4), who are deceptive and crafty.
In the New Testament Jesus even calls Herod Antipas a fox.
This is what Luke writes in Lk.13:31-35 NASB:
“Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, “Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You.” And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’ Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it! Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Herod Antipas was the ruler of Jesus’ home province of Galilee throughout Jesus’ lifetime. Like his father, Herod the Great, he was an ambitious builder, commissioning the construction of Sepphoris and Tiberias (6 kms and 30 kms NE of Nazareth). Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, might well have worked at these sites and experienced Antipas, not just as tetrarch of Galilee, but also as employer.
The Herodian family came from Edomite stock (Antipater the Idumean, i.e. Edomite, was the father of Herod the Great). The Edomites were descendants of Esau, whose birth is described in Gen.25:25 (NIV):
“The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau.”
The Hebrew word for Esau means “hairy”, but he is also known as Edom which in Hebrew means “red”. So both of these descriptions lend themselves to the comparison with a red fox.
The relationship between Israelites and Edomites was always strained, if not outright hostile, and so the Herodian rule was never respected by the majority of the Jewish people. Jesus, too, would not allow this “fox” Herod to intimidate Him, and was following His plan, regardless of the suffering and death it would bring to Himself.
Those who follow Jesus in His ministry know that there are foxes around that cause devastation in the vineyard and are out to rob the hen of her chicks. Any church leader knows about these cunning, deceptive and crafty people that pose as prophets and teachers and mislead many.
But Jesus will reach His goal! The foxes will not have the last word, but will be judged. And Jesus’ kingdom mission will succeed. Regardless of the suffering and death that following Jesus entails, continuing in His footsteps is all worth it.
Here is the end of the story as Jesus Himself tells it in Mt.24:11-14:
“Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
Leave a Reply.
We are a pastoral couple named Stefan & Heidi König. We have many years of experience in various ministries, and are thankful that God has given us this property to use as a way to bless others who need a place to relax and reconnect with Him.
Kingfisher Spiritual Direction
Direct your heart to Jesus and restore your soul. If you need to hear from God, to grow deeper with Him, consider spiritual direction. An ancient discipline of soul care, Heidi is trained to prayerfully lead you in this practice.