“After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who killed six hundred of the Philistines with an oxgoad. He too delivered Israel.” – Judges 3:31
It sounds like the name of a heavy metal band. Or, perhaps of the band’s lead singer.
It’s easy to picture the tattered leather clothes and the glam rock hair.
It’s the name of a rebel, or at least, a non-conformist. It is truly a unique name as no one else in scripture claims this moniker.
The word “Shamgar” is of unknown derivation and stirs some debate among scholars about the true origin of the name. Many believe the name translates to “named a stranger”, or “here is a stranger.” It is an odd name that becomes stranger.
Shamgar’s full name is Shamgar ben Anath, or Shamgar son of Anath. Often the formula of, “son of [personal name],” places one’s father’s name in that position. However, no one in the Bible is named Anath. There is, though, a very well known Anath in the land of Canaan where the Israelites have settled. Anath is the name of a prominent warrior goddess venerated by many of Israel’s neighbors. The name of a warrior goddess bound to the name of a warrior is more than a coincidence.
This is who God chose as a deliverer and a judge of Israel; a stranger whose history is tied to a foreign deity?
Well, of course. The scriptures tell us that God calls people of every tribe and tradition; people of every song and story. The scriptures tell of a God who absolutely loves to flip the script and blow our minds.
Shamgar’s name might be unique but it actually joins a very long list of names. A list of people that were discounted (by themselves or others) only to have God’s grace, wisdom, and power shine through them.
God refuses to write anyone off as too far gone, as not good enough, or as unredeemable. The scriptures teach us this lesson time and again. And yet we continue to discount ourselves. We believe ourselves not worthy enough, not faithful enough, not patient enough.
Why wouldn’t God reveal his grace through us? Why wouldn’t God demonstrate his amazing love through you? What is powerful enough to prevent God’s goodness from shining through your life?