Barac (Heb. Baraq, lightning), the deliverer of the Israelites from the power of the Chanaanites under the judgeship of Debbora. He was the son of Abinoem of Cedes in Nephtali (Judges, iv, 6) and probably belonged to the tribe of Issachar (v, 15). When, after the death of the Judge Aod, “the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord” (iv 1), they were delivered into the hands of the Chanaanite King Jabin of Asor who grievously oppressed them for twenty years (iv, 3). Thereupon the prophetess Debbora of Mount Ephraim, between Rama and Bethel, instigates Barac, manifestly a leading captain of the time, to assemble 10,000 men of the tribes of Nephtali and Zabulon (iv, 6; cf. v, 14) and to take the field against Sisara, the general of Jabin’s army. Barac assembles his warriors at Cedes, moves to Mount Thabor, and by a rush down the mountain surprises the Chanaanites (iv, 10, 12, 14; cf. v, 15, 19, 21). The panic-stricken army of Sisara is attacked, routed, pursued, and finally cut to pieces (iv, 16). Sisara, having taken to flight, seeks refuge in the tent of Jahel, the wife of Haber, the Cinite, where he meets with a treacherous end (iv, 21; cf. v, 26). This signal victory of Barac, which put an end to the power and oppression of Jabin, and which was followed by a period of forty years’ rest, is commemorated in the triumphal ode of Debbora and Barac (v). For the various accounts of Barac’s exploits which critics detect in Judges, iv, and v, see Book of Judges.
F. X. E. ALBERT