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Shamgar (Hebrew שַׁמְגַּ֣ר, stranger)[1] (fl. 2744 AM/1261/0 BC) was a minor Judge of Israel.


The Bible describes his career in one verse, and says that he once killed six hundred Philistines with an ox-goad.[2] (Judges 3:31 )

Floyd Nolen Jones declares that this happened twenty years after the death of Ehud and was a minor action in the war of liberation fought by Deborah, Barak, and Jael.[3] Additional support for this contention comes from the song of Deborah and Barak:

In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were deserted, and travelers went by roundabout ways. The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel. New gods were chosen; then war was in the gates. Not a shield or a spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. Judges 5:6-8

This indicates that the national threat to Israel at the time of Shamgar was not only external oppression but also anarchy and lack of restraint of criminality.[1]

Shamgar's weapon of choice is also remarkable: an ox-goad, which is usually a tool of animal husbandry and not a weapon. This story illustrates that sometimes a believer should use whatever tools he has available, and use them in unaccustomed ways.


Some commentators suggest that the description of Shamgar's career is out of place. These same commentators suggest that two individuals named "Shamgar son of Anath" existed. The one that Deborah mentions in her song was actually a member of King Jabin's staff, and the one who killed the six hundred Philistines might have been active during or after the career of Samson.[4] But two different men named Shamgar are not likely to have fathers having the same name.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bartet LH, "Shamgar," Jewels from Judges, April 4, 1996. Accessed December 16, 2008.
  2. Konig, G, "Shamgar,", 2001. Accessed December 16, 2008
  3. Jones, Floyd M., The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004, p. 278
  4. Hirsch EG and Barton GA, "Shamgar," The Jewish Encyclopedia, n.d. Accessed December 16, 2008.