“The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
“And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.”
– Luke 13:31-32
Have you ever wondered why Jesus call Herod “that fox”?
It seems peculiar to the gentile mind.
Much of what Jesus said does.
Herod the Great was the appointed ruler of Galilee and other parts of Israel when it was controlled by Rome. When Jesus was born, Herod tried to kill Him by slaughtering the innocent children in Bethlehem. His family moved to Egypt when it was revealed to Joseph in a dream conveyed to him by God that that they should flee for safety.
In fact, it had been prophesied in Micah 5:2 and Jeremiah 31:15 where the Messiah was to be born, as was the killing spree that would eventually occur. But Herod only discovered this information from the chief priests and scribes and the wise men who came to see and adore the future King of Israel.
After Herod died, Joseph felt it safe to move to Nazareth. It was prophesied that Jesus would be called a Nazarene. And thus Herod Antipas replaced his father.
Why did Herod not know where the future Messiah be born? Because he was not a Hebrew. He only pretended to be one. And he was a very evil man – so was his son.
Herod Antipas divorced his first wife, which had been a political union, as she was the daughter of an Arab ruler, in order to marry Herodius. She had been the wife of his half brother and the daughter of another half brother.
It was this Herod who had John the Baptist killed.
Why? Because John was the forerunner to Jesus preaching repentance – “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He was prophesied too, by Isaiah, for preaching as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
And after all, he had promised his daughter, Salome, anything if she danced for him. John’s head was what she asked for.
But why did Jesus call Herod “that fox”? I think most people think it was because he was sly like a fox. But Jesus was not admiring him. He was insulting him – as an unclean animal!
There’s a tradition of this in scripture.
David uses it as just such an insult in Psalm 63. Ezekiel does so also when he complains, “O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts” (13:4). The prophet Jeremiah complains in Lamentations 5:18 of how deserted the mountain of Zion is because only “the foxes walk upon it.”
And remember Jesus came to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, when all this would be made right again in a future time when Zion, or Jerusalem, would be restored to its rightful heirs when He comes again – for the Hebrews or anyone who sees himself truly as a Hebrew by obeying His law.
All we/they have to do is recognize the one true Messiah and obey His laws and repent – turn away from sin!
“Baruch haba b’shem Adonai!”
That’s what He’s waiting to hear.
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
And, of course, we all need to repent as well before we see that day – if we want to be a part of the Kingdom.
As it says in Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
And what does John say in 14:15 and at least a dozen other places? “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
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