I received the following question:

What is an ox goad in Judges 3:31?

31. After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel.

An ox goad was usually a pointed stick, often quite large, which was used to poke the ox and goad it into moving when you wanted it to move. The back often had a shovel-like instrument used to clean the plow. Since the goad was only meant to annoy the ox, not actually injure it, it probably would not have been all that sharp. It was not really supposed to be dangerous. Therefore, this was an odd weapon to use, and one that normally would not have been very effective, though I suppose that in the hands of a strong man, it might have made a better weapon than a simple club. Still, the fact that he killed this many Philistines with one indicates how much the LORD must have been helping him.

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