Easton's Bible Dictionary: M. G. Easton, M.A., D.D.
(Heb. shu'al, a name derived from its digging or burrowing under ground), the Vulpes thaleb, or Syrian fox, the only species of this animal indigenous to Palestine. It burrows, is silent and solitary in its habits, is destructive to vineyards, being a plunderer of ripe grapes (Song 2:15
). The Vulpes Niloticus, or Egyptian dog-fox, and the Vulpes vulgaris, or common fox, are also found in Palestine.
The proverbial cunning of the fox is alluded to in Ezek. 13:4, and in Lk. 13:32, where our Lord calls Herod "that fox." In Judg. 15:4,5, the reference is in all probability to the jackal. The Hebrew word shu'al through the Persian schagal becomes our jackal (Canis aureus), so that the word may bear that signification here. The reasons for preferring the rendering "jackal" are
- that it is more easily caught than the fox;
- that the fox is shy and suspicious, and flies mankind, while the jackal does not; and
- that foxes are difficult, jackals comparatively easy, to treat in the way here described. Jackals hunt in large numbers, and are still very numerous in Southern Palestine.
Original from The Bible Foundation - bf.org. They claim public domain status for their original text.