And to sharpen the goads.--The words from "and there was bluntness," &c. (English Version, "they had a file"), down to "axes," form a parenthesis.
"This parenthesis indicates that the result of the burthensome necessity of going to the Philistines was that many tools became useless by dulness, so that even these poorer sort of arms did the Israelites not much service at the breaking out of the war."--Bunsen.
The LXX. read this 21st verse with considerable changes: "And the vintage was ready to be gathered, and the tools were three shekels to the tooth to sharpen], and to the axe and to the scythe there was the same rate" (or, as the Greek has been rendered," tools cost three shekels apiece [to sharpen]").
to sharpen the goads; with which they pricked and pushed on the oxen in ploughing, when sluggish and remiss. (The word for "file" in the verse is "pim", and occurs only here in the Hebrew scriptures. It is not used elsewhere in other Hebrew writings. Therefore the translators of the 1611 Authorised Version had only the root derivation to deduce what the word meant. Literally, it means "a file with mouths". However, recently archaeologists have found a stone inscribed with this word. Also they found a stone inscribed with the word "shekel". Hence they deduced that the word was really a weight of measure equal to about one third of a shekel. Newer translations usually translate this as "the charge was a third of a shekel ...", hence removing the obvious contradiction between this verse and the preceding one. Editor.)
(i) "retusae itaque erant acies vomerum", V. L. "quandoquidem acies cultrorum aratri", &c. "obtusae erant", Tigurine version.