Judges 5:8

John Barach jbarach at telusplanet.net
Fri Feb 2 11:44:44 EST 2001

Michael writes:

> I noticed that most translations render yibhar elohim as "They 
> chose gods."  This looks like a 3rd person masculine singular to me.
> Am I missing something?

Nope.  That's a 3rd person masculine singular all right.  The question
is what the subject is.  Most translations assume that the subject is
"Israel" (masc. sing.) and then render it as if it were a plural
("they").  That's possible.

But Daniel Block offers another possibility in his recent commentary. 
He argues that the passage ought to be read chronologically: Deborah
arose; something happened; then fighting broke out.  If the "something"
is that Israel chose new gods, then the passage isn't chronological,
since they had new gods before Deborah arose.

Rather, Block says, we should take "Elohim" to be the subject of the
verb and "hadasim" (new ones) to be the object: "God chose new ones." 
That is, "God chose new leaders."

The problem is that taking "new ones" as "new leaders" seems like a
stretch to me.  The other odd thing is that while Block argues this case
on pp. 226-227, back on page 217 he says, "'War in the gates' ... is
associated directly with the people's chosing (bahar) 'new gods,' that
is, gods unknown to their ancestors (v.8)."

Anyway, I hope this helps.



John Barach (403) 317-1950
Pastor, Trinity Reformed Church (URCNA)
113 Stafford Blvd. N.
Lethbridge, AB
T1H 6E3

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