|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:31 The side of the country which lay south-west, was infested by the Philistines. God raised up Shamgar to deliver them; having neither sword nor spear, he took an ox-goad, the instrument next at hand. God can make those serviceable to his glory and to his church's good, whose birth, education, and employment, are mean and obscure. It is no matter what the weapon is, if God directs and strengthens the arm. Often he works by unlikely means, that the excellency of the power may appear to be of God.
Verse 31. - Of the Philistines. This is an isolated movement of the Philistines, alluded to in Judges 10:11, but of which we have no further details. In Judges 10:6 we read of Israel worshipping the gods of the Phllistines, and of an alliance between the Ammonites and Philistines to vex Israel; but the precise connection between the events of the two chapters, or the exact time when either occurred, cannot be determined with certainty. Nothing more is known of Shamgar, except the mention of him in Deborah's song (Judges 5:6).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath,.... That is, after the death of Ehud, when the people of Israel were in distress again from another quarter, this man was raised up of God to be a judge and deliverer of them; but who he was, and who his father, and of what tribe, we nowhere else read:
which slew of the Philistines six hundred men; who invaded the land, and came in an hostile manner into it; or rather, as it seems from Judges 5:6; they entered as a banditti of thieves and robbers, who posted themselves in the highways, and robbed travellers as they passed, so that they were obliged to leave off travelling, or go through bypaths, and not in the public road; and this man, who seems to have been called from the plough to be a judge of Israel, as some among the Romans were called from thence to be dictators and deliverers of them from the Gauls:
with an ox goad; which he had used to push on his oxen with at ploughing, cleared the country of them, and with no other weapon than this slew six hundred of them, either at certain times, or in a body together; which is no ways incredible, being strengthened and succeeded by the Lord, any more than Samson's slaying a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass, Judges 15:15. So Lycurgus is said to put to flight the forces of Bacchus with an ox goad (q) which is said to be done near Carmel, a mountain in Judea, which makes it probable that this is hammered out of the sacred history; or that Shamgar and Lycurgus are the same, as Bochart conjectures (r). The ox goad, as now used in those parts, is an instrument fit to do great execution with it, as Mr. Maundrell (s), who saw many of them, describes it; on measuring them, he found them to be eight feet long, at the bigger end six inches in circumference, at the lesser end was a sharp prickle for driving the oxen, and at the other end a small spade, or paddle of iron, for cleansing the plough from the clay:
and he also delivered Israel, from those robbers and plunderers, and prevented their doing any further mischief in the land, and subjecting it to their power, and so may very properly be reckoned among the judges of Israel; but how long he judged is not said, perhaps his time is to be reckoned into the eighty years of rest before mentioned; or, as Abarbinel thinks, into the forty years of Deborah, the next judge; and who also observes, that their Rabbins say, Shamgar judged but one year.
(q) Homer. Iliad. 6. ver. 135. (r) Hieozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 39. col. 385. & Canaan. l. 1. c. 18. col. 446. (s) Journey to Aleppo, &c. p. 110, 111.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
31. after him was Shamgar—No notice is given of the tribe or family of this judge; and from the Philistines being the enemy that roused him into public service, the suffering seems to have been local—confined to some of the western tribes.
slew … six hundred men with an oxgoad—This instrument is eight feet long and about six inches in circumference. It is armed at the lesser end with a sharp prong for driving the cattle, and on the other with a small iron paddle for removing the clay which encumbers the plough in working. Such an instrument, wielded by a strong arm, would do no mean execution. We may suppose, however, for the notice is very fragmentary, that Shamgar was only the leader of a band of peasants, who by means of such implements of labor as they could lay hold of at the moment, achieved the heroic exploit recorded.
Judges 3:31 Parallel Commentaries
Judges 3:31 NIV
Judges 3:31 NLT
Judges 3:31 ESV
Judges 3:31 NASB
Judges 3:31 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible