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Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Remove the little things to be full and fruitful.

Dear Nana,

What is meant by the Little Foxes in the Song of Solomon 2:15?

- Curious

Dear Curious,

The Song of Solomon is a beautiful love story of several levels. It is a true story of King Solomon and his love, it is a symbolic story of Jesus and His love for His bride and it is a representative and warning story for all couples concerning their relationships.

In Israel, vineyards and wine making is a very important business. Most Israelis would immediately understand the danger of the little foxes but those of us who do not know vineyards well, need a bit more help in understanding. First of all note the vineyards are in blossom. This is early in the growth process. The vines are putting out those coiled spring-like tendrils, early branches and flowers. Each bloom will become a grape and clusters of blooms become clusters of grapes ready for the wine vat in the future. So each blossom that is destroyed effects the final outcome of the vineyard.

The baby foxes are intrigued by the springy coils of the tendrils. And like any baby they bat them with their paws and chew on them with their teeth. It doesn't take long for quite a section of vines to be stripped of anything that will produce good fruit. The foxes don't mean any harm. They are having fun. But they are practicing actions that destroy future fruitfulness.

The allegorical lesson for relationships is to pay attention to early actions in a relationship that seem harmless or even fun but as they form habits of interaction in a relationship they guarantee certain destruction of that relationship. One of these playful little foxes is when a couple uses teasing that attacks character to play with each other. This often starts in courtship and you both believe the other doesn't really mean it, they are just joking. Relating this way with each other sets up a competitive habit instead of a teamwork habit which feeds into an actual battle or polarization in every area of the relationship. It is often used as a way to express negative judgement and feedback without being responsible for your wrong responses. "I was just teasing" doesn't really cut it when you actually meant the attack on the other's character. It's a seemingly harmless little fox that destroys right from the start.

Another little fox (or at least in this era and younger culture it is thought of as a little fox) is having a sexual relationship with each other before marriage or moving in with each other without marriage because you love each other. This is so common that I have even met couples in Christian ministry who are living together outside of marriage. They believe that a "paper" doesn't make the difference and we are committed to each other. What they aren't realizing is they have broken trust with each other from the very beginning of their relationship and it cannot last without trust. You see, they now believe about each other that "he/she will sacrifice what is right in order to gain what is pleasurable." This belief will come to the surface again and again as the various tough times in life hit them. When a couple knows "he/she will sacrifice his/her own pleasure in order to protect me from wrong." it builds a trust and security as the foundation of the relationship that will help to carry them through the coming tough times. And come they will! You see God says a man is to be a covering for his wife and children against the attacks of Satan. But if he leads her into what God calls the sin of fornication he opens a door wide with permission for Satan to attack the woman and/or children he claims to love. This may seem harmless, a little fox, in this era but it is seriously destructive long term. In fact, it is a huge source of the many divorces we see now in marriages even among Christians. Do your own research around divorcees you know. Were they sexually active before marriage? I think you may be shocked at how may answer yes.

Another little fox is entering a relationship with the mindset that "they are here to meet my needs". Any long lasting relationship is based on giving sacrificially to the other especially in the little things. Emptying trash, clearing the table, thanking each other for repeated services like doing laundry or servicing the car or mowing the grass. It means a lot to be thanked for such thankless efforts you have made for the common good of the relationship. Little things do more to build or destroy than any of the big things we tend to look at. So watch for and quickly exterminate the Little Foxes so your life will be full and fruitful.

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