(Heb malmad, only in Jg 3:31), an instrument used by ploughmen for guiding their oxen. Shamgar slew six hundred Philistines with an ox-goad. "The goad is a formidable weapon. It is sometimes ten feet long, and has a sharp point. We could now see that the feat of Shamgar was not so very wonderful as some have been accustomed to think."
In 1Sa 13:21, a different Hebrew word is used, dorban, meaning something pointed. The expression (Ac 9:5, omitted in the R.V.), "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks", i.e., against the goad, was proverbial for unavailing resistance to superior power.
A pointed instrument, eight feet long, often headed with iron (1Sa 13:21; Ec 12:11). To "kick against the pricks" expresses unavailing resistance, as if cattle were to kick against the goads of their driver Who has them wholly in his power, as God has the recalcitrant sinner (Ac 9:5).
A long slender pole with a sharp point at one end, used for guiding and urging the oxen in ploughing. It can also be used as a formidable weapon. Shamgar slew six hundred men with an ox goad. Jg 3:31; 1Sa 13:21. It is applied metaphorically to the energy imparted by the words of the wise. Ec 12:11. The goad is alluded to in Ac 9:5; 26:14, translated 'pricks:' if the ox kicked against the goad, he only hurt himself the more: as do all those who oppose God.
The Hebrew word in the latter passage probably means the point of the plough-share. The former word does probably refer to the goad, the long handle of which might be used as a formidable weapon. The instrument, as still used in countries of southern Europe and western Asia, consists of a rod about eight feet long, brought to a sharp point and sometimes cased with iron at the head.