Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.(Song of Solomon 2:15)
As we start a study in Song of Solomon it is important for us to know something about the book. The author is Solomon. The genre of this scripture is poetic. They are love songs written by Solomon to a Shulamite bride. Although Solomon is the author, it does not necessarily mean that he is always the voice speaking.
Another thing that is important to know is where this couple is relationally throughout the book. John MacArthur proposes an outline of the book based on this reality. Here is his outline of the book:
I. Introduction (1:1)
II. The Courtship: “Leaving” (1:2-3:5)
III. The Wedding: “Cleaving” (3:6-5:1)
IV. The Marriage: “Weaving” (5:2-8:14)John MacArthur
This is a common way to outline the book. Notice that this week’s passage, which includes 2:15-3:5, is at the conclusion of the courtship section of the book. This means that this couple is engaged but have not yet gotten married.
The person talking in this passage is the maiden, because in the next verse she says “…and he is mine” referencing her beloved.
The subject at hand is protection, specifically the protection of the relationship between the maiden and her beloved. The imagery here is of a vineyard. Their relationship is like a vineyard. Problems that come in their relationship are like foxes that would come into a vineyard, especially close to harvest, to get something to eat. In looking for the fruit they destroy the plants and have the potential, in short order, to ruin the vineyard. The foxes here are referenced as “the little foxes”. These are relatively small animals anyway. She references not just foxes, but the little foxes, that can do a lot of damage when they go unnoticed.
So, when the maiden says, “take us” she seems to be saying that she and her beloved should pay attention and deal with “the little foxes”. Their relationship is new and young. That is her reasoning when she says, “for our vines have tender grapes”. In a poetic way she is saying to her beloved, “let us pay attention to the little problems that can come up in a young relationship that if ignored will damage or even destroy their relationship.”
She is asking her beloved to work hard with her to protect their relationship and their future from the kind of decisions and problems that will hurt their intimacy in the future.
What is it that could destroy their relationship? As we continue to read through this passage, we will see that what she seems to be concerned about is integrity, faithfulness, and loyalty. Infidelity, impurity, and unkindness can ruin romantic relationships. These acts do not usually begin as raging, ravenous lions, but small, quick, less-notable foxes. A little flirtation here, a little glance there, a close conversation with someone that you keep hidden from your spouse, these can be the kinds of things that seem harmless but lead to broken and even destroyed relationships.
Intimate relationships are based on trust. A lack of integrity that leads to infidelity can destroy that trust. Relationships are maintained by taking care of “the little foxes”.
- If you are married or dating, what are some “little foxes” that could hinder your relationship?
- If you are single, is your character such that you could commit to someone faithfully and loyally at this point?