And when he had set the torches on fire, he let them go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing grain, with the vineyards and olives.
Read Chapter 15
Aurelius Prudentius Clemens
Samson resistless because of his hair is attacked by a lion;
When he killed the wild beast, from its mouth there flowed streams of honey,
And from an ass’s jawbone comes forth a fountain of water
Folly with water overflows and virtue with sweetness.
Samson catches three hundred foxes and arms them with firebrands,
Which he ties to their tails, and he lets them go into the cornfields
Of the Philistines to burn their crops: thus the fox of false doctrine
Cunningly scatters the flames of heresy over our vineyards.
- "Scenes from Sacred History 17.18" ...
Now let us see what Samson did when he was injured by his friend in the person of his wife. He took foxes, that is, adulterous friends of whom it is said in the Canticle of Canticles, “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that damage the vineyards.” What does it mean, “catch”? It means seize, convict, repress them, lest the vines of the church be destroyed. What else does it mean to catch foxes, except to convict heretics with the authority of the divine law, to fasten and fetter them with the testimony of holy Scripture as with chains? Samson caught the foxes and put torches of fire on their tails after they were coupled. What do the tails of the foxes tied together signify? What are foxes’ tails except the results of heresy (for their first appearance is flattering and deceitful) bound fast, that is, condemned and dragging fire in their trail? Moreover, they destroy the fruits and good works of those who consent to their seductions. People are told, Do not listen to heretics, do not ...
Just as those who travel about in the pathless desert tremble at serpents on the ground, and those who travel on the pathways are also terrified of vipers that hide on the paths, so were the Philistines, who traveled on paths and in the pathless desert, terrified of Samson. “To bite the horse’s heels and throw its rider backward.” It was during the great famine, which God had brought upon the Philistines, that Samson burned their crops by means of foxes, for fire was carried on their bodies like a rider on its horse. Then the Philistines keeled over from lack of bread and then fell backwards from lack of nourishment. - "On Genesis 42.9" ...
Let us avoid, then, brothers, let us avoid the pestilential deceits of the insidious foxes [heretics]. Let us avoid the deadly frauds of wicked persons lest, like the foxes which that famous strong man Samson once sent into the Philistines’ fields, bearing torches on their tails that burned up everything with their flames, the foxes of perverse teachings in like manner either get hold of the fruits of our fields by deceitful traps or consume them by burning flames. Let us, therefore, as we read, be simple and clever—that is to say, simple as doves and clever as serpents, so that the cleverness of the serpents might protect the simplicity of the doves. - "Sermon 41.5" ...