An agricultural implement consisting of a rod approximately 2.5 m (8 ft) in length and chiefly used for driving and guiding bulls when plowing. One end of the rod is equipped with a sharp metal point to prick the animal, and a broad chisellike blade affixed to the other end is used for removing dirt and clay from the plowshare or for clearing it of roots and thorns.
“A cattle goad” was used by Shamgar in killing 600 Philistines. (Jg 3:31) The Hebrew word here rendered “goad” (mal·madhʹ) comes from the root la·madhʹ (learn; teach).
The Bible record mentions that when the Philistines had the upper hand on the Israelites during Saul’s reign, the Israelites were not permitted to have smiths and therefore were forced to go down to the Philistines to get their farming implements sharpened and to have their cattle goads (apparently the metal points) fixed fast.—1Sa 13:19-21.
The goad is compared to the words of a wise person, words that move the listener to advance in harmony with the wisdom heard. (Ec 12:11) The figurative expression “kicking against the goads” is drawn from the action of a stubborn bull that resists the prickings of the goad by kicking against it, resulting in injury to himself. The expression, therefore, denotes resisting or rebelling against rightful authority or a condition that cannot be altered, doing so to one’s own injury. This is exactly what Saul did before becoming a Christian, by fighting against the followers of Jesus Christ, who had the backing of Jehovah God.—Ac 26:14; compare Ac 5:38, 39.