5:2 “When the leaders took the lead2 in Israel,
When the people answered the call to war—
Praise the Lord!
tn The meaning of the Hebrew expression בִּפְרֹעַ פְּרָעוֹת (bifroa’ péra’ot) is uncertain. Numerous proposals are offered by commentators. (For a survey of opinions, see B. Lindars, Judges 1–5, 223–27.) The next line refers to the people who responded to Barak’s summons to war, so a reference to the leaders who issued the summons would provide a natural poetic parallel. In v. 9 the leaders (חוֹקְקֵי, khoqéqey) of the people and these same volunteers stand in poetic parallelism, so it is reasonable to assume that the difficult Hebrew term פְּרַעוֹת (péra’ot, v. 2a) is synonymous with חוֹקְקֵי (khoqéqey) of v. 9 (see Lindars, 227).