by Wayne Blank
"Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads"
Although goads were known and used as a farmer's tool to prod oxen, in both cases in which "goad" appears in the Holy Bible, in a literal sense, they are used as weapons of war. The first, from the time of The Judges:
"And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel." (Judges 3:31 KJV)
In the of Saul, when Israel was at war with the Philistines, the Israelites had to resort to the use of farm tools for weapons to defend themselves - goads, mattocks (pick axes), coulters (the sharp steel wedge section of a plow that cuts through the soil), axes and forks (pitch forks).
"And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual: And another company turned the way to Bethhoron: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness."
Goads were also used figuratively for how "the words of the wise" cannot be resisted. Jesus Christ later described the same principle (see the Fact Finder question below).
"The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd." (Ecclesiastes 12:10-11 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) Just as Solomon spoke of how "the words of the wise are as goads," did Jesus Christ later use the same terminology when He said "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist"? (b) Where does one get the wisdom that both Solomon and Jesus Christ described in those verses?