The Lesson of the Ox Goad

February 1, 2016

Many years ago Webster’s father passed along Dr. A. Louis Patterson’s lesson of the ox goad to him and his three brothers. Webster approached me about having a painting done for his father of the ox goad and the meaningful message it carried.

I asked Webster if he would mind me sharing the story behind the painting. Here are his words as handed down to him from his father.

“At the time, Israel was under Philistine rule and weapons were not allowed.  Not much value was given for life and property – Philistine war parties would often raid villages.  Shamgar was only mentioned twice in the Bible.  We do not know much about him, but his response in the face of his circumstances gives, to me, useful insight:

Start where you are:  The Philistines were a powerful army and Shamgar was one man.  Yet he was not paralyzed by the size of the problem.  Shamgar used an ox goad to kill 600 Philsitines.  He made a choice to not let the weight or worry of his situation to prevent him from taking action where he was.

Use what you have:  Partly because his weapon was a crude tool for farmers, he is believed to have been a farmer. Shamgar decided to use the tool God provided and not delay action due to a lack of ideal equipment.

Do what you can:  While it is possible Shamgar killed 600 at once, it is more likely he stuck to an area or areas and trapped one or two unsuspecting Philistines at a time.  He focused on what he could do and then did it.

It may not be a formula for success in all pursuits, we don’t know what became of Shamgar.  But the good news is, with God, it will be enough.  Judges 3:31 closes with “He too saved Israel.” ”

I loved researching what an ox goad may have looked like in those days. Webster wanted to make sure it was rough and rugged looking as though a farmer had owned it, and not the polished metal ones of the Bronze Age. I was honored to help commemorate this special lesson shared by a father to his sons.

If you’re interested in a print of this piece please email me at


The Lesson of the Ox Goad | Katherine Schuber Portrait Artist
The Lesson of the Ox Goad | Katherine Schuber Portrait Artist
The Lesson of the Ox Goad | Katherine Schuber Portrait Artist


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