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Barak was a minor character in the book of Judges of the Holy Bible. He is found on the Biblical Timeline around 1267 BC. Though his role was limited he played an important part of delivering Israel from the Canaanites. The judges of Israel ruled the land for nearly 350 years and during this time period the Israelites made God angry by worshipping foreign deities. God would punish them by sending them into captivity and then sending a savior to free them from their oppression. The judges not only guided Israel they were usually given the responsibility of delivering the people from tyranny when the time had arisen. Deborah was a female prophetess and judge, who was given the responsibility at one point in time of Israel’s history.

Barak was a general from the land of Kadesh who hailed from a city called Naphtali. He was the leader of thousands of men and he had become a highly regarded soldier in his land. He was a skilled warrior and competent generally who God had wanted to use to free his people. Apparently Barak was reluctant to follow after God’s command. So, the Judge Deborah sent for him and questioned him why he wasn’t obeying the Lord.

Barak still showed reluctance and told Deborah that he would not gather his forces against the Canaanites unless she would march with him. Barak’s reluctance to go to war probably stemmed from the fact that he didn’t have faith in God. It also could have resulted from fearing defeat by the hands of the Canaanites.

Eventually Barak listened to Deborah and went back home to gather his army. Once he had his army of ten thousand men he went to Tabor to confront the Canaanites. Deborah had told Barak that God would deliver the Canaanites into his hand if only he would obey. She also told him that his victory would not be his own and that it would be from God. So he was not to boast about any military accomplishment. Barak was able to defeat the Canaanites and not one of them remained.

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Jael Shows to Barak, Sisera Lying Dead, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot

During the course of the battle, Barak chased after the leader of the Canaanites named Sisera. The Canaanite leader was killed by a woman named Jael who plunged a tent peg into his head. Once Barak found out where Sisera was at Jael showed him where his body was at because she already had killed him.

Deborah was with Barak when he won this victory. God had given Israel the victory through both of them. They ultimately defeated Jabin the Canaan King and the Canaanites were no longer a threat to Israel.

Bible References for Barak

  • Judges 4: 1-2 God is angry once again with Israel for their idolatry and decides to use the Canaanites to punish them for their sins.
  • Judges 4:3 the people of Israel cry out to God for deliverance.
  • Judges 4:6 the prophetess Deborah calls for Barak and tells him about obeying God by sending out his soldiers to fight.
  • Judges 4:8 Barak tells Deborah he will only fight if she goes into battle with him.
  • Judges 4: 10-13 Barak gathers his forces and goes to war against the Canaanites at Tabor.
  • Judges 4: 16 Barak’s forces kill the Canaanites to the last man.
  • Judges 4: 18 -21 Jael slays Sisera with a tent peg.
  • Judges 4: 22 Barak confirms Sisera’s death.
  • Judges 4: 23-24 God gives the Israelites victory over the Canaanite king Jabin and his armies.