32And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I actors out demons and also perform cures today and also tomorrow, and the third day I end up my course. ESV

What walk he median by this? (I cannot find this pet mentioned any kind of where rather in the Bible.)


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The Greek indigenous ἀλώπηξ (alopex, fox) appears in the Septuagint (LXX) and other beforehand literature. In western culture the word has long signified craftiness or cleverness, and this meaning had even come to be connected with the Greek native by the an initial century. However, it is not most likely that Jesus speak this phrase in Greek.

According come the network translators:

This is not basically a figure for cleverness together in modern-day western culture, however could indicate

one insignificant human being (Neh 4:3; 2 Esd 13:35 LXX); a deceiver (Song Rabbah 2.15.1 ~ above 2:15); or who destructive, a destroyer (Ezek 13:4; Lam 5:18; 1 En. 89:10, 42–49, 55).

Luke’s emphasis seems to be on destructiveness, since Herod killed John the Baptist, who Luke calls “the greatest born that women” (Luke 7:28) and also later stands opposed to Jesus (Acts 4:26–28). In addition, “a person who is designated a fox is an trivial or basic person. That lacks genuine power and dignity, using cunning deceit to accomplish his aims” (H. W. Hoehner, Herod Antipas , 347).

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According come the Intervarsity Press brand-new Testament Commentary:

Calling someone a “fox” in antiquity would not necessarily indicate that the person is sly; instead, it could portray the person as worthless, slanderous, treacherous or (often) cunning in one unprincipled manner. For this reason Jesus here does not market Herod a backhanded compliment (cf. Ezek 13:4). Perhaps an ext to the point, foxes also would prey on hens (v. 34) once they acquired the chance.

The sex of "Αλώπηξ

Various sources insurance claim that due to the fact that the word ἀλώπηξ is feminine, Jesus was calling Herod a "vixen" and mocking him as an animal that is no to it is in feared. This might have even been the an ideas for Mel Gibson"s portrayal that Herod Antipas through a female wig and also mascara in his movie Passion the the Christ (cf. SBL letter).

While this is a possibility, the word is naturally female in gender in the Greek language (cf. natural gender) and Jesus most most likely did not initially make this explain in Greek, so this likely says very tiny about the qualities of the an allegory Jesus is using. Readers have to be careful not to read this an interpretation into the message as the primary definition of the metaphor. Those who execute read the an interpretation of the sex into the metaphor should also do so once Jesus describes himself together a female hen in v. 34.

Foxes and also Hens

Later in v. 34, Jesus says,

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city the kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How frequently would I have gathered your kids together together a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and also you were not willing.

Foxes room predators of hens. Jesus may have been continuing his metaphor here.

"Αλώπηξ as a Semiticism

While alternate nuances that the word have actually been stated, it need to be made clear the the main reason Jesus likely did not intend to use ἀλώπηξ in the western/Greek sense is due to the fact that he most most likely did no make this explain in Greek, i.e. He likely spoke Hebrew or Aramaic.

In both Aramaic and Hebrew literature, the "fox" tote the connotation of gift "second rate," i.e. Insignificant. Randall Buth wrote wonderful article around this i m sorry is published on the Jerusalem view website, whereby he examines multiple supplies of the hatchet in Semitic literature. Two examples follow:

"There space lions before you, and also you ask foxes" (JT Shev 39a).

In various other words, why would certainly you asking a student as soon as there are top scholars in the room?

"We believed he was a lion, however he is a only fox" (BavaKama 117a).

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The Semitic usage of "fox" is practically always derogatory and also refers come someone that is insignificant. As Jesus would have actually most likely made this explain in a Semitic language, this definition is most beneficial in knowledge Jesus" diss of Herod.