Shamgar is mentioned only twice in the bible, Judges 3:31 and an oblique reference in Judges 5:6.

It is striking in that certain facts are made completely plain such as the number of Philistines he slew, his weapon of choice, and the presumable fact that the roads were unsafe, but no other information about him was recorded.

Are there any hermenuetical approaches that can be utilized to give a better understanding of why the information was so tersely recorded?

  • You've posted a TON of questions all within the same general realm. I'm going to push back and and ask you to define how you're using "hermeneutical approach" because it seems to me that you're asking questions that are specific to texts and situations. The short answer is "yes - Biblical Hermeneutics."
    – swasheck
    Jan 14 '12 at 3:40

I'll take a stab at this one:

The author of Judges (as also the authors of all the other books of the Bible) had a particular objective in mind when penning his book. Unlike modern-day historical textbooks or contemporary novels, the books of the Bible were written with a theological purpose, not a commercial or encyclopedic one. This isn't to say that they aren't entirely historic; it just speaks to what we might consider "gaps." Since their goal was a theological one, the authors chose to omit some of the details that might be required of a popular story if those details didn't propel the primary message. Just because certain details might be interesting to us doesn't mean that they fulfill the purposes of the divinely-inspired writers. (In military terminology we might say that these details are need-to-know, and we apparently don't need to know them!)

Clearly the exploits of Shamgar sound tantalizingly fascinating to my ears as to yours, but for reasons that may never be clear to us, those details simply were not considered important to the theological purposes of the document. A specific hermeneutical discipline that one might employ to examine questions such as this is sometimes referred to as "Biblical Theology", which (despite it's name) is not just a general approach for studying the theology of the Bible, but is a specific discipline that seeks to understand the unique and particular themes of individual human authors from their own perspective.


kmote has a great answer...

Specifically in sensus plenior God chooses elements of actual history that can be told in such a way that a hidden picture of Christ can be included.

For instance, church tradition says that the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him was on the right because sheep are on the right. The tradition is ambiguous when applied to an orthodox cross because right is different depending which side you look at it from. The importance is that which ever side is pointing up is the right because of the imagery.

The scriptures do not tell us which side he was on. Why? Because he was probably on the left and including the detail would spoil the shadow. Crazy details are included because hey are a part of the hidden picture of Christ.

Shamgar - sword... which is the word.

son - builder

Anath - answer

slew - also means lame, contrite (Jesus had a limping side when his flesh was made to humble itself before the will of the Father (bruised heel, withered thigh)

Phiilistines - sojourner

six - tesimony of the Trinity in heaven and on earth

hundred - church

ox - priest

goad - root of 'teaching'

In one of the four senses it speaks of Christ being humbled. In another of the senses it speaks of the church.

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