1. Exposition

Were new gods chosen or did God choose new leaders?

Judges 5:8 (ESV)

8 When new gods were chosen, then war was in the gates. Was shield or spear to be seen among forty thousand in Israel?

The first part of verse 8 is difficult to interpret. The text reads literally, He chose God/gods new. Some, like the ESV, assume that Israel is the subject of the verb, and gods as object, with new modifying gods. In this case idolatry is the cause of the trouble that the context makes known. Others, like the NET, believe it is more natural to have God as the subject of the verb and new as the object, understood as new leaders. For the verb to choose is in the singular, and the chronological sequence of events reflected in Judges 5:7–8 is that Deborah arose, then God chose new leaders, and then fighting broke out.1 No solution is without issues; the majority of translations opt for what the ESV has.