Many moons ago I posted a thread about the need for superheroes. Today they dominate the movie industry but at they have always been top sellers. In that earlier thread I mentioned my love of the Hulk as a boy, he dealt with seemingly unstoppable foes with sheer determination and superhuman strength, kinda like Shamgar of the book of Judges.
Wiki has a good overview of the character and issues with his story.
The Judges formulaic narrative refers to a succession of heroes (and heroine) who lead or save Israel. Within the narrative in chapt 3 verse 31 inserts a short reference to Shamgar. Notice how it interrupts the narrative.
12 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and because they did this evil the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. 13 Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms.[c] 14 The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years. 15 Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit[d] long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. 17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. 18 After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it. 19 But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.” The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left.
20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace[e] and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. 23 Then Ehud went out to the porch[f]; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
24 After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” 25 They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead.
26 While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the stone images and escaped to Seirah. 27 When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them.
28 “Follow me,” he ordered, “for the Lord has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands.” So they followed him down and took possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab; they allowed no one to cross over. 29 At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped. 30 That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.
31 After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.
4 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. 2 So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. 3 Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help. 4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading[a] Israel at that time.
Centuries of readers have noticed the issue. The narrative progresses from Ehud to Deborah. Shamgar is awkwardly inserted into the flow without introduction or story (other than he with his superhuman strength killed 600 Philistine warriors with a pointed stick.) As wiki mentions the one sentence interrupter actually appears in some manuscripts after the Samson story. Some think this may be the original placement but the issues remain about his lack of introduction and the extreme brevity. It is felt more likely the placement after Samson was done by editors trying to fix the broken narrative of Ehud. If so why would someone have placed the sensational uber-brief story were it is at vs 31?
The "Song of Deborah" in chapter 5 may have the answer. Recall above that chapter 4 introduced Deborah and the chapter continues with her exploits with Barak. Then Chapter 5 breaks into poetry, one of the oldest if not the oldest Hebrew poem. The complier/author of the book of Judges incorporated this ancient poem into his narrative at this point. In that poem at verse 6:
6 “In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned;
travelers took to winding paths.
7 Villagers in Israel would not fight;
they held back until I, Deborah, arose,
until I arose, a mother in Israel.
Here a Shamgar son of Anath is mentioned as preceding the rise of Deborah. He is not described as any hero, in fact the opposite, the people were in fear for their lives in his day according to the poem. However the simple mention of his name in the poem may have inspired the very brief line about him in chapt 3. Simply put, an editor inserted the Shamgar reference where it is for consistency with the poem.
BUT it gets more interesting! Scholars have long noticed another character, one named Shammah who also kills a bunch of Philistines at 2 Sam 23:
11 Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. 12 But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.
Many scholars identify this character as the same as the one in Judges. His legend has gotten displaced and lumped in with one of David's 3 super soldiers. To complicate the issue more, in verse 25 the same guy is called: 25 Shammah the Harodite, not Hararite as verse 11. Clearly we have a patchwork of legends and material.
Even more fun is the conclusion of the Jewish Encyclopedia:
In the song of Deborah (Judges v. 6) Shamgar is connected with the hour of Israel's deepest humiliation. He was, therefore, probably not a judge, but a foreign oppressor of Israel. From the form of his name it has been conjectured that he may have been a Hittite (comp. "Sangar," Hittite king of Carchemish in the ninth century B.C.); Moore, in "Jour. American Oriental Society" (xix. 2, p. 160), shows reason for believing that he was the father of Sisera.
Judges iii. 31, in which Shamgar is first mentioned, is out of place, the whole verse being a late addition to the chapter. Ch. iv., the story of Jabin and Sisera, connects directly with the story of Ehud. Moreover, the introduction of the Philistines is suspicious, for they do not appear in Hebrew history till shortly before the time of Saul. Moore has noted also that in a group of Greek manuscripts, and likewise in the Hexaplar Syriac, Armenian, and Slavonic versions, this verse is inserted after the account of the exploits of Samson, immediately following Judges xvi. 31, in a form which proves that it was once a part of the Hebrew text. It was observed long ago that this exploit resembled the exploits of David's heroes (II Sam. xxi. 15-22, xxiii. 8 et seq.), especially those of Shammah, son of Agee (ib. xxiii. 11 et seq.). Probably an account similar to this last was first attached to Judges xvi. 31; then the name was in course of time corrupted to "Shamgar," through the influence of ch. v. 6; and, lastly, the statement was transferred to ch. iii. 31, so that it might occur before the reference in ch. v.
If correct this Samgar superhero might have really been Samgar the supervillain.