Barak

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For the given name of 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama, see Barack. For the Pashtun tribe, see Barakzai.

Barak (/ˈbɛəræk/ or /ˈbɛərək/;[1] Hebrew: בָּרָק, Tiberian: Bārāq, "Lightning; Shine", Greek: βαρακ), Al-Burāq (Arabic: البُراقal-Burāq "lightning") the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, was a military general in the Book of Judges in the Bible. He was the commander of the army of Deborah, the prophetess and heroine of the Hebrew Bible. Barak and Deborah are credited with defeating the Canaanite armies led by Sisera, who for twenty years had oppressed the Israelites.

The story of the defeat of the Canaanites under the prophetic leadership of Deborah and the military leadership of Barak, is related in prose (Judges chapter 4) and repeated in poetry (chapter 5, which is known as the Song of Deborah). Chapter 4 makes the chief enemy Jabin, king of Hazor (present Tell el-Qedah, about three miles southwest of Hula Basin), though a prominent part is played by his commander-in-chief, Sisera of Harosheth-ha-goiim (possibly Tell el-'Amr, approximately 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Megiddo).

Deborah summoned Barak, the son of Abinoam, from his home at Kedesh in Naphtali, and ordered him, in the name of Yhwh, to take ten thousand men to Mount Tabor. He agrees to on condition that Deborah should go with him. Here he was attacked, as Deborah had expected, by Sisera, whose forces were put to flight, and the greater part of them slain, by Barak's army.[2]

In the battle at Mount Tabor, a cloudburst occurred, causing the river to flood, thus limiting the maneuverability of the Canaanite chariots. Sisera fled, seeking refuge in the tent of a Kenite woman, Jael. Jael gave Sisera a drink of milk and he fell asleep from weariness. Then she pounded a tent peg through his head. When Barak came along, she let him see Sisera dead in her tent.

"Barcas," the surname of the famous Hamilcar, is the Punic equivalent.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jones, Daniel; Gimson, A. C. (1977). Everyman's English Pronouncing Dictionary (14th ed.). London: J. M. Dent. p. 40. ISBN 0-460-03029-9. 
  2. ^ a b "Barak", Jewish Encyclopedia
Jael shows the slain Sisera to Barak, by Albert Joseph Moore.
Grave near Tel Kadesh attributed to Barak or Deborah
Preceded by
Shamgar
Judge of Israel Succeeded by
Gideon