Harper’s Bible Dictionary
edited by Paul J. Achtemier (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985)
You are strongly recommended to add to your library the excellent revised edition of Harper's Bible Dictionary titled, The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition [book review], edited by Paul J. Achtemeier, with the Society of Biblical Literature (NY: Harper Collins, 1996). It is currently the best one-volume Bible dictionary in English, and it is available at Border's Books, Christian Science Reading Rooms, http://www.borders.com, or http://www.christianbook.com.
Barak (Heb., lightning), the son of Abinoam. Commander of Israelite militia and subordinate to Deborah in Ephraim in Judges 4 (prose) and 5 (victory song), Barak was among the deliverers of Israel (1 Sam. 12:11 lxx; cf. Heb. 11:32).
The opposition (kings of Canaan, Judg. 5:19), headed by Jabin king of Canaan at Hazor (4:2, 23) and led by the nine hundred chariots of Sisera (a non-Semitic name) from Harosheth of the nations, represents domination by other newcomers (Sea Peoples).
When the people sought Deborahs judgment, she recalled Barak from Kedesh (in Naphtali) and outlined her strategy, after which she returned to Kedesh with Barak (Judg. 4:4-9). Barak mustered ten units (not ten thousand!) from Zebulun and Naphtali. Other tribes also responded, according to Judg. 5. At the waters of Megiddo, Barak routed and destroyed the opposition. Sisera fled far north and was slain by another woman, Jael (Judg. 4:17-22).
This account shows how new Israelite settlements throughout the hill country (late twelfth century) had so disrupted commerce that Israel could challenge, with help of a cloudburst, sophisticated armaments of the plains (i.e., chariots).
Edited for BibleTexts.com by Robert Nguyen Cramer