Biblical People

Biblical People: Barak

God gives the prophetess Deborah a message for Barak. God wants him to raise a troop of 10,000 and confront the better-equipped army led by Sisera. God promises to give Barak the victory. But Barak balks.

Barak is the son of Abinoam. He lives in Kedesh in the territory of Naphtali in Israel. That’s all we know about him. Though he might be a trained warrior or military leader, his reaction to God’s call suggests he’s anything but.

His skills may reside in growing crops or raising animals, not commanding an army and defeating the enemy. 

Given this assumption, his reluctance seems warranted. A farmer can’t lead an army and prevail against a stronger foe—at least not from a human standpoint. But with God, all things are possible. God even promises victory.

Still, Barak is unwilling to obey—unless Deborah goes with him. As you may recall in the chapter on Aaron, Moses did the same thing when God called him. And God sent him Aaron to help.

With Deborah at his side, Barak finally obeys. Their army prevails, just as God promised. Then Deborah and Barak sing a song of praise to God.

In this story, we see Deborah as brave, while Barak comes across as a coward. Yet the book of Hebrews affirms Barak for his faith and doesn’t list Deborah.

Though we may perceive Barak as a man who lacks courage, God sees him as a man of noteworthy faith.

How do we react when God calls us to do something we feel unqualified to do? Do we let our faith override logic or allow logic to control us?

[Read Barak’s story in Judges 4–5. Discover more in Hebrews 11:32–34.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at