For the given name, see Barak (given name). For other uses, see Barak (disambiguation).
Grave near Tel Kadesh attributed to Barak or Deborah

Barak (/ˈbɛəræk/ or /ˈbɛərək/;[1] Hebrew: בָּרָק, Tiberian Hebrew: Bārāq, Arabic: البُراق al-Burāq "lightning") was a 12th-century BCE ruler and Judge of Ancient Israel. As military commander in the biblical Book of Judges, Barak, with Deborah the prophetess, from the Tribe of Ephraim, defeated the Canaanite armies led by Sisera.


The son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, Barak's mother was from the Tribe of Benjamin and he was the next judge after Deborah and preceded Gideon. His story is told in the Book of Judges, Chapters 4 and 5.

Biblical story

The story of the Hebrews' defeat of the Canaanites led by Sisera, 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]

Defeat and death of Sisera

Jael shows the slain Sisera to Barak, by James Tissot.

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 a drink of milk to Sisera, who fell asleep from weariness, then killed him by pounding a tent peg through his head. When Barak arrived, she showed him Sisera, dead in her tent.


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


  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. 1 2 "Barak", Jewish Encyclopedia
Preceded by
Judge of Israel Succeeded by
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