Haddock asked about a word that appears in Acts 26:14. The word is goads, and
it appears in this context: “And when we had all fallen to
the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are
you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’” (The King
James Version uses the old-fashioned word pricks.)
goad was a prod to control oxen. It could be as simple as a stout pointed stick,
eight to ten feet long, or it could be made a bit more sophisticated and
punishing by adding a metal point.
animal that kicked against the goad would be startled by getting
punctured. In addition, the ploughman would only repeat the assault against a
recalcitrant animal. (Recalcitrant, appropriately, comes from a Latin word that
means to kick backward.)
3:31 also speaks of the goad as a formidable weapon: “After Ehud came Shamgar son of
Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He, too, saved
kick against the goads,” it turns out, was a relatively common proverb in the ancient world, and it spoke to
useless resistance to a superior force.
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