(Heb. shu'al, a name derived from its digging or burrowing under
ground), the Vulpes thaleb, or Syrian fox, the only species of
this animal indigenous to Israel. It burrows, is silent and
solitary in its habits, is destructive to vineyards, being a
plunderer of ripe grapes (Cant. 2:15). The Vulpes Niloticus, or
Egyptian dog-fox, and the Vulpes vulgaris, or common fox, are
also found in Israel.
The proverbial cunning of the fox is alluded to in Ezek. 13:4,
and in Luke 13:32, where our Lord calls Herod "that fox." In
Judg. 15:4, 5, the reference is in all probability to the
jackal. The Hebrew word "shu'al" through the Persian "schagal"
becomes our jackal (Canis aureus), so that the word may bear
that signification here. The reasons for preferring the
rendering "jackal" are (1) that it is more easily caught than
the fox; (2) that the fox is shy and suspicious, and flies
mankind, while the jackal does not; and (3) that foxes are
difficult, jackals comparatively easy, to treat in the way here
described. Jackals hunt in large numbers, and are still very
numerous in Southern Israel.