[b-hebrew] Offend/dealt corruptly - chet bet lamed (nehemiah 1:7)

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Jun 24 16:31:34 EDT 2004

Dear Harold:

I’ve heard it said of my education that it is a mile wide and an inch deep. As a result, there are holes in my learning that I’m not even aware of. Thanx.

But your connections raise more questions.

The connections that you listed below say that foxes are a danger only to the ripe fruit, not to the vines nor the blossoms. Yet foxes are a danger to vineyard pests such as mice, birds, grasshoppers, and other such. Did the ancient Israeli vitners see foxes as a lesser of evils or a greater one?

Or because foxes can climb well, including over walls, were they considered an unavoidable problem?

The reference of foxes connected with the vineyards is during the time when the vines were in blossom, precisely when foxes are a danger not to the vines but a danger to the pests.

In other words, is there more information out there?

These are exactly the types of questions that made me realize that RXP רחף can’t mean to hover or to flutter.

Thanx again.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Harold R. Holmyard III" <hholmyard at ont.com>

> Dear Karl,
> >If I were a vitner, I would like to have foxes 
> >around. Foxes don’t ruin vineyards, but they do 
> >hunt and catch things like mice, rats, moles and 
> >other things that do ruin vineyards. If I 
> >remember correctly, they even like to eat 
> >caterpillars. Foxes are also small, so the only 
> >human crops they threaten are newborn lambs and 
> >fowl.
> >
> >I see this verse calling for holding onto the 
> >little foxes connected to (tied to) the vineyard 
> >as a way to protect the vineyard and help it 
> >flourish.
> HH: But do you really know that foxes don't ruin 
> vineyards? Here is a statement about foxes from a 
> government web site, the government of Tasmania, 
> which considers foxes a threat to the nation's 
> agriculture:
> http://www.dpiwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/LBUN-5K43KE?open
> Impacts to Agriculture and Horticulture
> The fox has an enormous impact on Australian agriculture. . . .
> Horticultural enterprises such as vineyards 
> experience losses of fruit to foxes, either as 
> fruit eaten directly, or damaged bunches which 
> are then unsaleable. Foxes also have an unusual 
> habit of chewing on irrigation emitters such as 
> plastic drippers, destroying thousands of dollars 
> of irrigation infrastructure in this manner.
> Here is some valuable information about the 
> danger of foxes to vineyards in Asia provided by 
> ancient Romans who wrote in Latin:
> http://latinlinks.users.btopenworld.com/index.html
> The vine branches are either allowed to lay upon 
> the ground, or are raised up on forked sticks 
> when the grape clusters begin to develop. Varro 
> notes that this is the most economical form of 
> vine culture, but that the harvest may be damaged 
> by foxes and mice:-
> "In vineyards where clusters rest on the ground, as in many areas of Asia,
> foxes and men compete for the harvest. If the area is populated by mice,
> the harvest is smaller unless the whole vineyard is filled with traps, as in
> the island of Pandateria."
> Columella, De Re Rustica 4.12, 16-17 & 19, provides similar information . . . .
> Someone writes about the menace that foxes 
> present to vineyards in Israel today:
> http://web.odu.edu/webroot/instr/sci/plant.nsf/pages/grape
> Foxes are common in the Middle East where at 
> least three different species occur. One species 
> is so secretive that its presence in Israel was 
> discovered only a few years ago! These sly 
> creatures are usually nocturnal in their 
> behavior. In parts of Galilee it is possible to 
> hear them at night--their haunting howls coming 
> from the forests and vineyards. Foxes are slight 
> animals about the size of a small dog. Their 
> agility is mentioned in Nehemiah 3 where Tobiah 
> with sarcasm suggests that the lightest animal 
> would break down the wall. They can climb up even 
> the smallest vines and are still considered a 
> menace in vineyards by modern farmers. . . .
> I visited the large vineyards of a friend at 
> Mamre near Hebron. It was in August, just as the 
> grapes were beginning to ripen. The rains had 
> stopped in April so the surrounding hills were 
> dry and brown. The dry hills set the deep green 
> of vines in relief. Some of the vines we examined 
> were more than a century old with large gnarled 
> stems contrasting with the delicate, well tended 
> branches. If left unprotected, they are subject 
> to being ravaged by animals (eg, Psalm 80: 13, 
> Song of Solomon 2:15).
> HH: Someone writes about Song 2:15:
> http://www.biblicalexaminer.org/m19990523.htm
> At the time this was written, vineyards had 
> protective walls around them. The purpose of the 
> walls was to keep out the animals that would harm 
> the grapes. Foxes is a generic term, and includes 
> jackals. These animals would not eat the flowers 
> nor the vines, but only the fruit, the grapes. If 
> the vineyard was not closely watched as the fruit 
> came on, these animals would destroy the fruit of 
> the vine.
> HH: Another web site about foxes writes:
> http://www.furry.de/suran/fox_db/Dusicyon_culpaeus.html
> -Colpeo foxes penetrate plantations, vineyards, 
> an orchard to find a diverse vegetarian diet.
> HH: Another site adds:
> www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/ doi/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00225.x/full/ -
> Gray foxes were only detected and striped skunks 
> were primarily found in vineyards adjacent to 
> continuous natural habitat
> HH: Someone else writes:
> As little foxes can ruin the vineyards by gnawing 
> at the tender shoots, so the little problems that 
> inevitably show up in a growing love relationship 
> can ruin that relationship.
> HH: Is it possible that foxes could burrow in vineyards, uprooting vines?
> In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for fox is 
> (pronounced) shoo-awl; it means burrower, from 
> the fox trait of living in dug-out burrows. In 
> the New Testament, the Greek word for fox is 
> (pronounced) al-oh-pakes and means cunning. The 
> so-called Syrian fox is the only fox native to 
> the land of Israel.
> HH: Palestine seems to have had a lot of foxes in Bible times:
> "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. 
> And when he had set the brands on fire, he let 
> them go into the standing corn of the 
> Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and 
> also the standing corn, with the vineyards and 
> olives."
> HH: Anyway, foxes can ruin vineyards.
> 				Yours,
> 				Harold Holmyard

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