Judges 15:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
So he 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,

New Living Translation
Then he went out and caught 300 foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and he fastened a torch to each pair of tails.

English Standard Version
So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails.

New American Standard Bible
Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails.

King James Bible
And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So he went out and caught 300 foxes. He took torches, turned the foxes tail-to-tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails.

International Standard Version
So Samson went out, caught 300 foxes, grabbed some torches, tied the foxes together in pairs at their tails, and fastened a torch between each pair of tails.

NET Bible
Samson went and captured three hundred jackals and got some torches. He tied the jackals in pairs by their tails and then tied a torch to each pair.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So Samson caught 300 foxes. He tied them together in pairs by their tails. Then he fastened a torch between their tails.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turning them tail to tail, he put a torch between every two tails.

King James 2000 Bible
And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned tail to tail, and put a torch in the midst between two tails.

American King James Version
And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the middle between two tails.

American Standard Version
And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between every two tails.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he went and caught three hundred foxes, and coupled them tail to tail, and fastened torches between the tails.

Darby Bible Translation
And Samson went and caught three hundred jackals, and took torches, and turned tail to tail, and put a torch in the midst between the two tails.

English Revised Version
And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between every two tails.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took fire-brands, and turned tail to tail, and put a fire-brand in the midst between two tails.

World English Bible
Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned tail to tail, and put a torch in the midst between every two tails.

Young's Literal Translation
And Samson goeth and catcheth three hundred foxes, and taketh torches, and turneth tail unto tail, and putteth a torch between the two tails, in the midst,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

15:1-8 When there are differences between relations, let those be reckoned the wisest and best, who are most forward to forgive or forget, and most willing to stoop and yield for the sake of peace. In the means which Samson employed, we must look at the power of God supplying them, and making them successful, to mortify the pride and punish the wickedness of the Philistines. The Philistines threatened Samson's wife that they would burn her and her father's house. She, to save herself and oblige her countrymen, betrayed her husband; and the very thing that she feared, and by sin sought to avoid, came upon her! She, and her father's house, were burnt with fire, and by her countrymen, whom she thought to oblige by the wrong she did to her husband. The mischief we seek to escape by any unlawful practices, we often pull down upon our own heads.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. - Foxes. The word here rendered fox (shu'al, in Persian shagal, which is etymologically the same word as jackal) includes the jackal, which is as common in Palestine as the fox. Here, and in Psalm 63:10, the gregarious jackals, the canis aureus, are undoubtedly meant. Caught. The Hebrew word means especially caught in nets or snares. See Amos 3:5 (have taken nothing at all); Psalm 35:8 (let his net catch himself); Jeremiah 18:22; Isaiah 8:14 (taken), etc. And it is in this sense that the A.V. uses the word caught. A clever sportsman, as no doubt Samson was, would have no difficulty whatever in netting or snaring 300 jackals, which always move in packs, and would be attracted by the vineyards of Thimnathah, for which their partiality is well known (see Judges 14:5, note). The writer of the additional article Fox in Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible,' states that he had tried the experiment of throwing grapes to the foxes, jackals, and wolves in the Zoological Gardens. The wolves would not touch them, the others ate them with avidity. Took firebrands, etc. Many cavils have been directed against the truth of this account, but without the slightest reason. The terrified animals, with the burning torches and the blazing straw behind them, would necessarily run forwards. Samson would, of course, start the couples at numerous different points, and no doubt have a number of Hebrews to assist him. To the present day the corn-fields in that part of the Shephelah extend continuously for twenty or thirty miles.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes,.... Nor should this be thought at all incredible, since Canaan and Palestine abounded with foxes; hence several places therein had their names of Shual, which signifies a fox, Joshua 15:28. A traveller (w) in those parts says that foxes swarm there, and that there are very great numbers of them in the hedges, and ruins of buildings: and these creatures were very pernicious to vines, and so may reasonably be thought to be about Timnath in great numbers, because of the vineyards there, Judges 14:5, besides, there is no necessity of supposing that Samson took all these himself, he might employ others in catching them for him, nor that he took them at the same time, on one and the same day; he might be many days and weeks about it, and keep them up until he had got his number: to which may be added, there was a creature in those parts very much like a fox, called Thoes, which, as Bellonius (x) says, were about Caesarea and Palestina, and go two hundred in company; and so making use of proper means, which Samson was not unacquainted with, great numbers might be taken together; but, above all, it may be observed, that as this was under the direction of the divine Providence, God could easily cause such a number of creatures to be gathered together, and taken, as he ordered all the living creatures, as by an instinct, to come into the ark to Noah:

and he took fire brands; or rather torches, made of oily and resinous matter, which were not easily extinguished:

and turned tail to tail; took two foxes, and tied their tails together with a cord, giving them room enough to run about, as such creatures do, not forward, but in a crooked, flexuous manner, here and there:

and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails: which torch seems to have been fastened to the cord with which the tails were tied; he did not put a firebrand or torch to the tail of every single fox, which then would have made its way to its own den, but between two, which could not enter into one hole, and would draw different ways, and stop each other, and so do greater damage to the fields and vineyards into which they came.

(w) Morrison's Voyage, l. 2. c. 31. apud Calmet in the word "Fox". (x) L. 2. c. 11. apud Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 3. p. 476.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4, 5. went and caught three hundred foxes—rather, "jackals"; an animal between a wolf and a fox, which, unlike our fox, a solitary creature, prowls in large packs or herds and abounds in the mountains of Palestine. The collection of so great a number would require both time and assistance.

took firebrands—torches or matches which would burn slowly, retaining the fire, and blaze fiercely when blown by the wind. He put two jackals together, tail by tail, and fastened tightly a fire match between them. At nightfall he lighted the firebrand and sent each pair successively down from the hills, into the "Shefala," or plain of Philistia, lying on the borders of Dan and Judah, a rich and extensive corn district. The pain caused by the fire would make the animals toss about to a wide extent, kindling one great conflagration. But no one could render assistance to his neighbor: the devastation was so general, the panic would be so great.

Judges 15:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
Samson Defeats the Philistines
3Samson then said to them, "This time I shall be blameless in regard to the Philistines when I do them harm." 4Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails. 5When he had set fire to the torches, he released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines, thus burning up both the shocks and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and groves.…
Cross References
Judges 15:3
Samson said to them, "This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them."

Judges 15:5
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.

Proverbs 26:18
Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death

Isaiah 7:4
Say to him, 'Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood--because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.
Treasury of Scripture

And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the middle between two tails.

caught three. Dr. Kennicott and others contend, that for foxes, we should read handfuls or sheaves of corn. But

Judges 20:10 And we will take ten men of an hundred throughout all the tribes …

Ezekiel 13:9 And my hand shall be on the prophets that see vanity, and that divine …

Ruth 2:15,16 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, …

Psalm 63:10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.

Songs 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our …

Lamentations 5:18 Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk on it.

firebrands or touches

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OT History: Judges 15:4 Samson went and caught three hundred foxes (Jd Judg. Jdg) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools

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