Fox. Foxes were common predators in Bible times. Since they fed on small rodents like rats and mice, they helped to protect the grain crops. But their fondness for grapes caused farmers much grief. Sometimes they even tunneled under protective walls to feast on grapevines (Song 2:15). Foxes also settle in holes and burrows, often those abandoned by other animals. Jesus pointed out that foxes have holes, but the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head (Matt. 8:20).
Foxes have a keen sense of sight, smell, and hearing. They are also clever enough to lie in wait for prey. They may even play dead to attract a bird within striking range. When hunted, they are cunning and devious, misleading their pursuers. Jesus compared Herod, the Roman tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, to a fox, because of his crafty, devious nature (Luke 13:32).
“The land of Shual” (1 Sam. 13:17) may have been fox country, for shual means “fox” or “jackal.” Also see Jackal.
The Fox or Jackal. It is not quite certain whether the fox mentioned in the Bible is the same animal that we now call by that name. It probably means what we now call the jackal. This animal is about as large as a common sized dog, and its color is yellow, or reddish brown. It never goes out alone to seek its food, but always in companies of forty or fifty together. Then they make strange noises, which sound very much like the crying of children.
They do not go out for their food in the daytime, but wait till it begins to be dark; and then they kill all the animals they can find that are not too strong for them. Sometimes a large animal like the lion will hear the cries that they make when they are hunting, and will come and snatch away from them whatever they have found. These foxes or jackals have been known to scratch away the earth from graves that have been lately made, and then devour the bodies of the dead. This explains a verse in the sixty-second Psalm, where David says of those who “seek his soul to destroy it,”-“They shall fall by the sword; they shall be a portion for foxes.”
They eat plants of different kinds; sometimes roots, and sometimes fruits. This is one of the verses in Solomon’s Song, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes which spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes.”
These animals are often found in great numbers around the walls and ruins of old cities; they live in holes or burrows which they dig in the ground. Our Savior says, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” We have read this verse so many times that we scarcely think how much it means; but was it not a wonderful thing that when Christ came from his bright throne in heaven to this poor earth, he should not find even a home here? Every animal on all the hills has its shelter and hiding-place; every little bird in all the forest has its comfortable nest; but our Savior “had not where to lay his head.” During all his life he was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” For whom did he suffer all this?-and when his sorrowful life was ended, for whom did he die? I need not tell you this, dear child, but I may ask you,
“Is there nothing we can do
“To prove our grateful love?”
[Cook, Scripture Alphabet of Animals]