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The English word goad is derived from an old Anglo-Saxon word for a pointed pole that was used to prod cattle from one place to another, or by farmers to guide their oxen while plowing or doing other heavy work. Goad is used to translate two original Hebrew words of the Holy Scriptures, pronounced mawl-mawd and dor-bawn, which mean the same thing - an ox goad, or something pointed.

"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."

"Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his ax, and his mattock. 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."

"So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found." (1 Samuel 13:16-22 KJV)

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?
(a) Luke 21:15
(b) See True Wisdom and Worldly Wisdom

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