god (dorebhan, malmadh; kentron): The goad used by the Syrian farmer is usually a straight branch of oak or other strong wood from which the bark has been stripped, and which has at one end a pointed spike and at the other a flat chisel-shaped iron. The pointed end is to prod the oxen while plowing. The flattened iron at the other end is to scrape off the earth which clogs the plowshare. The ancient goad was probably similar to this instrument. It could do villainous work in the hands of an experienced fighter (Jg 3:31). If 1 Sam 13:21 is correctly translated, the goads were kept sharpened by files.
Figurative: "The words of the wise are as goads" (Ec 12:11). The only reference to goads in the New Testament is the familiar passage, "It is hard for thee to kick against the goad" (Ac 26:14). It was as useless for Saul to keep on in the wrong way as for a fractious ox to attempt to leave the furrow. He would surely be brought back with a prick of the goad.
James A. Patch