—Biblical Data:

One of the Judges; son of Anath. He smote 600 Philistines with an ox-goad and saved Israel (Judges iii. 31). During his judgeship so unsettled were the times that "the highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through byways" (ib. v. 6).

—Critical View:

In the song of Deborah (Judges v. 6) Shamgar is connected with the hour of Israel's deepest humiliation. He was, therefore, probably not a judge, but a foreign oppressor of Israel. From the form of his name it has been conjectured that he may have been a Hittite (comp. "Sangar," Hittite king of Carchemish in the ninth century B.C.); Moore, in "Jour. American Oriental Society" (xix. 2, p. 160), shows reason for believing that he was the father of Sisera.

Judges iii. 31, in which Shamgar is first mentioned, is out of place, the whole verse being a late addition to the chapter. Ch. iv., the story of Jabin and Sisera, connects directly with the story of Ehud. Moreover, the introduction of the Philistines is suspicious, for they do not appear in Hebrew history till shortly before the time of Saul. Moore has noted also that in a group of Greek manuscripts, and likewise in the Hexaplar Syriac, Armenian, and Slavonic versions, this verse is inserted after the account of the exploits of Samson, immediately following Judges xvi. 31, in a form which proves that it was once a part of the Hebrew text. It was observed long ago that this exploit resembled the exploits of David's heroes (II Sam. xxi. 15-22, xxiii. 8 et seq.), especially those of Shammah, son of Agee (ib. xxiii. 11 et seq.). Probably an account similar to this last was first attached to Judges xvi. 31; then the name was in course of time corrupted to "Shamgar," through the influence of ch. v. 6; and, lastly, the statement was transferred to ch. iii. 31, so that it might occur before the reference in ch. v.

  • Moore, Judges, in International Critical Commentary, 1895, pp. 104 et seq.;
  • Budde, Richter, in K. H. C. 1897, p. 32;
  • Nowack, Richter, in his Handkommentar, 1902, pp. 30 et seq.;
  • Moore, Shamgar and Sisera, in Jour. American Oriental Society, xix. 2, pp. 159, 160.
E. G. H. G. A. B.
Images of pages