“Catch the foxes for us,
The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards,
While our vineyards are in blossom.” — Song of Songs 2:15 (NASB)

When I lived in Dallas, every summer, I enjoyed peaches from my friend’s garden. Each tree produced several hundred peaches. We ate fresh peaches, peach pie, canned peaches, peach jam and peaches prepared in many other forms. They were all wonderful.

One year, a small furry creature decided to join in the fun. They were cute. Not much attention was given to the few that first year. The next year they came in great numbers. They attacked the fruits and finally destroyed that beautiful peach tree. My friend had to cut down that tree. Today, only a stump reminds those who knew that a fruitful peach tree once stood there.

Small creatures may seem cute and harmless, but don’t be deceived by them. That was what the poet wrote in the Song of Songs, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom.”

Solomon being an owner of a vineyard, was talking literally about getting rid of those small, furry creatures that could destroy the grapes on the vine. Vineyard keepers cannot just ignore those creatures. Indeed if left alone, the vine would be ruined.

Solomon’s message was part of a song and it also referred to the little things that come into the lives of people; such as jealousy, greed and gossip. These “little foxes” need to be removed because they can mar a relationship.

At the time of writing, there was class distinction between men and women. The former were looked up to and latter looked down upon. In the opening verses, we are told that the Shulammite woman complained of her looks. She had to neglect herself in order to do the work her brother should have been doing. As a result she was sunburned. She said that it was because they were angry with her.

Had that “little fox,” self-pity, entered her mind? Was that what Solomon says she must catch before it ruined her?

In any relationship, whether that of spouses, parents, siblings, colleagues or friends, little things can come in the way to tear it down. It usually begins small; but when not watched and arrested, it festers and grows. Before we know it, that relationship is history.

Perhaps it began with gossip? Then jealousy and greed joined in. These little things find a bed in the fertile mind and grow and grow.

Little squirrels destroyed a beautiful tree in my friend’s back yard. Figuratively, the “little foxes” of which Solomon warned, could kill a relationship.

What little things might there be in your life that could ruin a relationship? Deal with them before it is too late.

Thought For The Week (TFTW) is contributed by Dr Koh Siang Kiang, Associate Professor (Christian Education) at the Singapore Bible College (SBC). She graduated from SBC and Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), USA, and has served in various ministries for more than 35 years, including teaching at DTS. Dr Koh has been with SBC for the last 10 years, and has a passion for people and teaching the Word of God. She also loves to make the Bible come alive by leading tours to the Holy Land, and has led 12 such trips. To help her relax, Dr Koh likes to cook and cross-stitch.