OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
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
“... 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.