For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2001 James Melough


“And after him (Ehud) was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel,” Jgs 3:31.

Shamgar means the desolate dragged away; and Anath, afflicted: answered.

The lack of recorded detail has led many, not only to assign this deliverer a place of lesser importance than he deserves, but to miss the valuable lessons being taught in this brief account.  As one of Israel’s judges he is also a type of Christ.  Note for example the meaning of his name: the One typified by Shamgar was also desolate, forsaken, despised, hated, and dragged away to die on Calvary’s cross for your sins and mine.

Shamgar, as the son of Anath, was associated with affliction and answers, and so was Christ.  He was afflicted beyond the measure of human minds to grasp, but in spite of the silence that greeted His cries from the cross, those cries were answered: on the third day He was resurrected and thereby vindicated.

Shamgar’s enemies were the Philistines, and they represent apostasy, the word that describes deliberate rejection of the knowledge of God, and acceptance of error instead.  Such were Christ’s enemies: Satan, and the Jewish leaders, for Satan is the head of all apostasy.  In spite of having a perfect knowledge of God, he has chosen to rebel against God’s dominion; and so was it also with the Jewish leaders: they too had been given a full knowledge of God, but had chosen to reject it, so that Christ responded to their pious claim of descent from Abraham by declaring, “Ye are of your father the devil,” Jn 8:44.

Shamgar’s slaughter of six hundred of the Philistines points to Christ’s destruction of Satan and all his demon hordes at Calvary.  But six is the scriptural number of imperfection and incompleteness, and here reminds us that Shamgar’s victory was only partial.  This, however, is not true of Christ’s victory.  It is complete, but to the natural mind it seems very much otherwise: Satan is still active, and seemingly very much alive.

It is to be remembered, however, that his activity is that of his death throes, extending by human reckoning for two thousand years, but by Divine reckoning, just two days, see 2 Pe 3:8, “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  God, for the accomplishment of His own eternal purposes, permits the present evil activity of Satan, but it is about to end.  Satan is a vanquished foe who received his death wound at Calvary.  Christ’s victory is complete.

“... with an ox goad.”  This was a most unlikely instrument with which to go against six hundred Philistines, yet with it Shamgar slew six hundred of them.

Christ’s victory over Satan and death was by an even less likely means: His submission of Himself to death; yet it was by His very submission to death that He manifested His power over it by rising again on the third day, His assurance to John, as recorded in Revelation 1:18 being, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death,” the poet describing that great victory in the frequently quoted words:

In weakness and defeat,

He won the meed and crown,

Trod all His foes beneath His feet,

By being trodden down.


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough