KJV - 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
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Pricks are goads, sharp-pointed sticks used to drive or direct draft animals like oxen. Stubborn animals kick against the goads (a goad is a long rod with a sharp end that is used to prick an animal to move or to move in a different direction). Kicking against the goads inflicts pain on the kicker. Jesus was saying that in the process of persecuting Christians, Saul was hurting himself. Since he wasn't hurting himself physically, the Lord was likely referring to the impact on Saul's conscience. I like what Ellicott has to say about "it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks": There had been promptings, misgivings, warnings, which he had resisted and defied. Among the causes of these, we may well reckon the conversion of the friend and companion of his youth (see Note on Acts 4:36), and the warning counsel of Gamaliel (Acts 5:34-39), and the angel-face of Stephen (Acts 6:15), and the martyr’s dying prayer (Acts 7:60), and the daily spectacle of those who were ready to go to prison and to death rather than to renounce the name of Jesus. In the frenzy of his zeal he had tried to crush these misgivings, and the effort to do so had brought with it discomfort and disquietude which made him more “exceedingly mad” against the disciples of the Lord. Now he learned that he had all along, as his master had warned him, been “fighting against God,”-- Acts 5:39 -- and that his only safety lay in the surrender of his own passionate resolve to the gracious and loving Will that was seeking to win him for itself.
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