|Barak - |
("lightning".) So the family name of Hannibal was Barres, "the thunderbolt of war"; also Boanerges, "sons of thunder," applied to James and John. Son of Abinoam, of Kedesh, a refuge city of Naphtali. Incited by Deborah the prophetess to deliver Israel from the yoke of Jabin II, king of northern Canaan, of which Hazor, on lake Merom (now Hulah), was the capital. Hazor had been destroyed with Jabin I, its king, more than a century before, under Joshua; but owing to Israel's unfaithfulness had been permitted to be rebuilt, and a succeeding Jabin regained the possessions taken from his forefather. But his general Sisera, of Harosheth, inhabited by a race half Israelite half Gentile, where he had systematically and "mightily oppressed Israel" for 20 years, was defeated by Barak and Deborah at the head of 10,000 men of Naphtali and Zebulon (Psalm 83:9-10).
This little army, aided by a providential storm in the enemy's face (according to Josephus), rushed down the hill of their encampment, Tabor, and routed Jabin's 900 iron chariots and unwieldy host in the plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon), "the battlefield of Palestine." The Kishon's impetuous current (especially that of Megiddo, its western branch), and the sandy soil (as Taanach means), contributed to the enemy's disaster, as their chariots were entangled, like Pharaoh's at the Red Sea. Harosheth was taken, Sisera slain by Heber's wife, Jabin's country taken, and a peace of 40 years secured. The triumphal ode of Deborah and Barak is very spirited (Judges 4; 5). Lord Hervey makes the narrative a repetition of Joshua 11:1-12, from the sameness of names, Jabin and Hazor; the subordinate kings (Judges 5:19; Joshua 11:2, etc.); the locality; the chariots; "Mizrephoth Maim," burning by the waters; margin.
But if fancied chronological difficulties Judges be hereby removed, geographical difficulties are thus created; above all, the plain word God, which "cannot be broken" makes Jabin's oppression of Israel: Hazor to be "when Ehud was dead"; it is impossible then it can be identical with the narrative in Joshua. (See JUDGES.) The judges Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, and Barak, did not rule all their lives, but were raised up at intervals as need required. Jabin ("prudent") was probably a standing title of the kings of Hazor. Heretofore, foes without, Mesopotamia and Moab, had chastised Israel; but now their sin provokes God to raise an oppressor within their own borders, Canaan itself! Jabin seduced them into idolatry, besides oppressing them (Judges 5:8). Barak is made an example of faith (Hebrews 11:32), though it was weak; he was therefore deprived of the glory of stronger faith by a woman, Jael (compare Judges 4:8).