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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Barak

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(Heb. Barak', בָּרִק, lightning; Sept. and N.T. Βαράκ, Joseph. Ant. v. 5, 2, Βάρακος ; comp. the family name of Hannibal, Barca = "lightning of war"), son of Abinoam of Kedesh-naphtali, a Galilean city of refuge in the tribe of Naphtali (Judges 4:6, comp. Joshua 19:37; Joshua 21:32). He was summoned by the prophetess Deborah to take the field against the hostile army of the Canaanitish king Jabin (q.v.), commanded by Sisera (q.v.), with 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulon, and to encamp on Mount Tabor, probably because the 900 chariots of iron (Judges 4:3), in which the main force of Sisera consisted, could not so easily manoeuvre on uneven ground. After some hesitation, he resolved to do her bidding, on condition that she would go with him which she readily promised. At a signal given by the prophetess, the little army, seizing the opportunity of a providential storm (Joseph. Ant. v. 4) and a wind that blew in the faces of the enemy, boldly rushed down the hill, and utterly routed the unwieldy host of the Canaanites in the plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon), "the battle-field of Palestine." From the prominent mention of Taanach (Judges 5:19, "sandy soil") and of the river Kishon, it is most likely that the victory was partly due to the suddenly swollen waves of that impetuous torrent, particularly its western branch, called Megiddo. The victory was decisive, Harosheth taken (Judges 4:16), Sisera murdered, and Jabin ruined. A peace of forty years ensued, and the next danger came from a different quarter. The victors composed a splendid epinician ode in commemoration of their deliverance (Judges 5). (See DEBORAH). Barak's faith is commended among the other worthies of the Old Test. in Hebrews 11:32. (See BENE-BARAK).

From the incidental date apparently given in Judges 5:6, some have regarded Barak as a contemporary of Shamgar. If so, he could not have been so late as 178 years after Joshua, where he is generally placed, Lord A. Hervey supposes the narrative to be a repetition of Joshua 11:1-12 (Genealogies, p. 228 sq.). A great deal may be said for this view: the names Jabin and Hazor; the mention of subordinate kings (Judges 5:19; comp. Joshua 11:2 sq.); the general locality of the battle; the prominence of chariots in both narratives, and especially the name Misrephoth-maim, which seems to mean "burning by the waters," as in the margin of the A.V., and not "the flow of waters.'" Many chronological difficulties are also thus removed; but it is fair to add that, in Stanley's opinion (Palest. p. 392 note), there are geographical difficulties in the way (Ewald, Gesch. d. Volkes Israel; Thomson, Land and Book, 2:141 sq. There appears, therefore, on the whole, no good reason for departing from the regular order of the judges, which places his rule B.C. 1409-1369. (See JUDGES).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Barak'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/b/barak.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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