FOX

FOX
FOX (Heb. שׁוּעָל), the Vulpes vulpes. The biblical name is shu'al, as in the passage: "Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards" (Song 2:15). The comparison in Ezekiel 13:4 of the false prophets to foxes may be a reference to their craftiness or to their habit of frequenting ruins. Parables about the fox's cunning are contained in the folklore of various nations; R. Meir is said to have compiled 300 fox fables (Sanh. 38b). The word shu'al however is also used for the jackal, and the other biblical passages in which it occurs, e.g., the one in which Samson is said to have caught 300 shu'alim (Judg. 15:4), probably refer to it. The place-name Shaalbim (Judg. 1:35) or Shaalabbin (Josh. 19:42) is probably the etymon (in the plural) of the Arabic and Akkadian words for "fox," – thaʿlab and sēlibu, respectively. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Bodenheimer, Ha-Ḥai be-Ereẓ Yisrael (1953), 244; Tristram, Nat Hist, 85–87. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 279. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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