Friday, July 3, 2015

Flowers at Government House

Why foxglove? a weed, a medicine, or just beautiful. 
"what the sly fox has to do with the foxglove remains a mystery"

I enjoy watching these tall flowers grow. One in my garden is stunted this year because the official keeper of the gardens does not like them. I transplanted a few of these weeds on a hot day - not a good idea. This one is at Government House, Victoria BC.

Fox is a special word in the Scriptures, as I have pointed out before. The word lies in the domain of Love and Promise. Hah - didn't know that, did you? Here are the instances I have read so far:
עַ֤ל הַר־צִיּוֹן֙ שֶׁשָּׁמֵ֔ם שׁוּעָלִ֖ים הִלְּכוּ־בֽוֹ
Lamentations 5.18
On the hill of Zion is desolation. Foxes walk on it.
יַגִּירֻ֥הוּ עַל־יְדֵי־חָ֑רֶב
מְנָ֖ת שֻׁעָלִ֣ים יִהְיֽוּ
Psalms 63.11
They will be spilled by the hand of a sword,
a portion of foxes they will be.
אֶֽחֱזוּ־לָ֙נוּ֙ שֽׁוּעָלִ֔ים שֽׁוּעָלִ֥ים קְטַנִּ֖ים מְחַבְּלִ֣ים כְּרָמִ֑ים
וּכְרָמֵ֖ינוּ סְמָדַֽר
Song 2.15
Catch and hold fast for us, foxes; wee foxes inflicting pain on vineyards.
But our vineyards are budding tenderly.
What is the portion of foxes? What have foxes to do with the Song? 

The vineyard in the Song is the place where the lovers live and work. One may be forced to keep the vineyards of others and not able to keep one’s own (Song 1:6). The Beloved is like a vineyard (Song 1:14). The foxes spoil the vineyard, the place of love (Song 7:12). Spoil has also the sense of ownership as if the vineyards were taken in pledge. One may have many such vineyards but in the end it is My vineyard that is mine is facing me. (Song 8:11,12) Vineyard is a frame for the whole poem. How then will I tend it? Psalm 63 gives us an answer to that question. From the diligence of the seeking early to the recognition of foxes.

While the enemies of Israel are round about, and can be interpreted as foxes, the troubles of a life are closer than the ancient geography of the hill of Zion. In the Song, the foxes (shu`alim) occur twice in one verse and the Shulamite twice in one verse. This too can be seen as a frame for the poem around the word of peace (shalom). The beloved herself must learn to care for her own vineyard and must not be like a fox.

The fox occurs at the end of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. The land is waste, the temple destroyed. The earth is scorched. Are we, beloved, learning anything?