Gallery D

Burning Fox Tails

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Samson Sets Fire To 300 Foxes

By James Donahue

The Old Testament is filled with silly stories that do not make any sense. In fact, we have to wonder why they were included in that so-called “holy” book.

In just a light read through some of those ancient books eventually brings you to one or more of those nonsensical stories. Judges 15:4-5 is a good example.
“So he (Samson) went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails, lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain together with the vineyards and olive groves.”
Why did Samson do such a crazy thing? Remember Samson was known for his amazing strength. So we suppose capturing 300 foxes was something he was capable of doing, although it seems to have been a ridiculous waste of time. If he wanted to burn up all the wheat and vineyards and olive groves of the Philistines, why couldn’t he have just used one torch and set fire to everything? It seems to have been an easier way to get the job done than physically capturing 300 foxes and then tying their tails together.

So why was Samson so angry that he would burn the Philistine’s crops? It was because his father-in-law (who must have been a Philistine) gave Samson’s wife and child away to another man.

The story gets even stranger after this. In line six we read that when Samson explained to the Philistines why he set fire to the foxes and burned their crops, they retaliated by murdering Samson’s wife and father-in-law with fire. And this threw Samson into yet an even bigger rage.

It was at this point that Samson grabbed the infamous jawbone of an ass and started his wild killing spree. He used that bone and later another one like it to slay over a thousand men.
How does this terrible story fit into the Biblical record? Somewhere in the midst of all of this, when the Philistines were surrounding Samson and attempting to get his tied down and under control, he was reportedly filled with “the spirit of the Lord” and given superhuman strength to break his cords and slay a thousand more.

The Old Testament God seemed to like the massive spilling of blood.