Friday, January 30, 2009

Kicking Against the Pricks

I have read a few different ideas about what "kick against the pricks" means. One author said that it was like slapping a hornet between your palms so that you are stung in the process. The general idea seemed to include any behavior that is counter-productive.

The explanation below makes the most sense to me.

And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Acts 26:14

The plowman in Bible Lands carries in his hand a long pole or goad, with a sharp metal point or prick on one end of the pole and at the other there is a flat piece of iron which is used to clean the plowshare. Quite often the young ox, probably not well broken in, will kick, because he does not like his work. The plowman then holds the pole or goad in such a position that when the ox kicks again, he will kick against that prick or sharp point, and thus the animal will learn it doesn’t pay.

Paul, kicking against the plan of God, learned his mistake.

(Bowen, Barbara M., Strange Scriptures that Perplex the Western Mind, Grand Rapids, Michigan, WM B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1944, pg 66)

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