Ehud Barak, Israel's New Prime Minister
My Online Bible says that the name Ehud means "I will give thanks: I will be praised" or "undivided, union." Ehud's story is told in Judges 3:15-30 where he is described as a lefthanded deliverer with a two edged dagger that was worn on his right thigh. He went to see fat Eglon [calf-like], the king of Moab, and secretly killed him. Eglon's servants thought he was using the privy and waited until they were ashamed before entering to find their king dead. This gave Ehud enough time to escape and he went and blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim at which all the children of Israel followed him and slew the Moabites.
Keil & Delitzsch's Commentary on the Old Testament remarks:
Following the exploits of Ehud in the book of Judges is the story of Deborah the prophetess and Barak (4:1-5:31). Barak means "lightning" or "lightning flash" and Deborah means "bee." These two come on the scene after Israel had again done evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud's death, and had been sold into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan.
The story starts with Deborah sending for Barak and asking him why he hasn't gone down to fight Sisera, Jabin's captain, and his army down by the river Kishon. The Lord has already commanded Barak and told him he would be successful, yet he doesn't go. Barak replies that he will go only if Deborah accompanies him. She says she will go and they proceed to kill all of Sisera's men. Sisera, himself, escapes but is killed later on by a tent nail struck into his temple with a hammer. Curiously, it is Barak who is mentioned as a man of great faith later in Hebrews 11:32.
After this defeat Deborah and Barak sing a song of praise to the Lord. Keil & Delitzsch quote the beginning of verse 2 of this song as: "That the strong in Israel showed themselves strong" and explain it to mean that it is referring to the "comati, the hairy ones, i.e. those who possessed strength"; it does not refer to a leader, "but to the luxuriant growth of the hair as the sign of great strength." I found this whole avenue interesting because the word "comet" means the "hairy one" also and it seems to tie in with the middle of the following verses (5:19-21) of the song: "The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon." Keil and Delitzsch explain: "For not only did the Israelites fight against them, but the powers of heaven also. 'From heaven' is more minutely defined by 'the stars from their courses.' These words explain the statement in chapter 4:15, 'the Lord discomfited Sisera'; though in our opinion not so clearly as to enable us to define more precisely the natural phenomenon by which God threw the enemy into confusion. In all probability we have to think of a terrible storm, with thunder and lightning and hail, or the sudden bursting of a cloud, which is poetically described as though the stars of heaven had left their courses to fight for the Lord and His kingdom upon earth." I believe a comet(s) would do the job just fine.
Besides the stars fighting from heaven in the above verses, another interesting thing regards exactly where this battle took place. Megiddo and the Kishon River are very interesting places, especially with regards to the book of Revelation.
According to Grant Jeffrey in his book entitled "Messiah," Armageddon is Greek for "Mount of Megiddo." This valley has seen more climactic battles than any other place on earth. Originally, Megiddo was one of the capital cities of the Canaanites. The Egyptian king Thothmes III, the founder of an empire, once said "Megiddo is worth a thousand cities." The reason is that it sits on the pass leading through Mount Carmel to the Mediterranean, one of the most strategic crossroads in Palestine. Anyone who wishes to control the Middle East must control the vital trade and military routes which connect Europe, Africa and Asia. Napoleon stood at Megiddo before the battle that thwarted his attempt to conquer the East and rebuild the Roman Empire. Contemplating the enormous plain of Armageddon, the marshal declared, "All the armies of the world could maneuver their forces on this vast plain."
The History Channel ran a program called "Warhorse, A Beast for Heroes" which included the following: "We don't know of any war or any battle before 1450 BC. This is the place where the horse entered history. The site of the first battle with a remembered name--this is Armageddon." It seems appropriate that the first battle is remembered by this name.
Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 1872 states:
"Esdraelon--This name is merely the Greek form of the Hebrew word Jezreel...This is that Valley of Megiddo (so called from the city of Megiddo, which stood on its souther border)...
"Jezreel--[Ahab] chose it for his chief residence...It is on one of the gentle swells which rise out of the fertile plain of Esdraelon...In the neighborhood, or within the town probably, was a temple and grove of Astarte, with an establishment of 400 priests supported by Jezebel (1 Kings 16:33; 2 Kings 10:11). The palace of Ahab (1 Kings 21:1; 18:46) probably containing his 'ivory house' (1 Kings 22:39), was on the eastern side of the city, forming part of the city wall. The seraglio [palace of a sultan], in which Jezebel lived, was on the city wall, and had a high window facing eastward (2 Kings 9:30). Close by, if not forming part of this seraglio, was a watch-tower, on which a sentinel stood, to give notice of arrivals from the disturbed district beyond the Jordan (2 Kings 9:17)...The gateway of the city on the east was also the gateway of the palace (2 Kings 9:34)...[in an easterly direction] are two springs, one 12 minutes from the town, the other 20 minutes...the latter...was called by the Arabs 'Ain Jalud, 'the spring of Goliath.' This last name, which it still bears, is derived from a tradition...that here David killed Goliath." Goliath of 666 fame according to E. W. Bullinger in his book entitled "Number in Scripture": his "height was 6 cubits, and he had 6 pieces of armour; his spear's head weighed 600 shekels of iron (1 Sam 17:4-7)."
The Universal Standard Bible adds a little more:
That pretty much takes care of Megiddo although there is a little more on the web site under "Armageddon" and if you follow the links at the bottom of the article. Now, though, let's move on to the Kishon River itself.
The Bible states:
And Dr. Smith's Dictionary says:
To recap, the name Ehud Barak alludes to a deliverer of Israel, with a two edged sword girt on his right thigh, a great defeat of an army down in the area of Megiddo/Armageddon/Jezreel Valley/Plain of Esdraelon and the Kishon River which is the same area where Elijah (who some believe is one of the two witnesses) did some of his greatest works, who after this defeat composes a song of victory. This Ehud Barak is a military man if I'm not mistaken and he seems to be a man of destiny if he lives up to his name.
A few more names need to be added before I'm through for the day, though. They include:
Binyamin/Benjamin="son of the right hand"
Ariel="lion of God"; it's also another name for Jerusalem
Will Israel be singing a new song soon to be added to the ones by Moses (Exo 15:1-21) and Deborah and Barak? The book of Revelation speaks of a new song of victory (Rev 5:8,9, 14:2,3) which deals with the end times. (See "Harps/New Song" for more). Is it time? I've seen Rabbis quoted as saying they can hear the footsteps of the Messiah approaching--may we be accounted worthy to stand in his presence.
EHUD BARAK - SKETCH
Ehud Barak, Israel new Prime Minister, was born on a Kibbutz in 1942. He attended university and took a Masters degree in the United States, like his predecessor Benyamin Netanyahu.
Unlike Netanyahu, however, who took the diplomatic route to politics, Barak is a professional soldier through and through. During his 35 year career he became Israel's most decorated soldier, a commando officer who took part in flamboyant operations such as the assassination of PLO leaders, and commanding the daring rescue of Jewish passengers on a hijacked plane at Entebbe airport in 1972.
Ironically, this was also a seminal event in Benyamin Netanyahu's life too, for it was during that operation that his brother, a soldier under Barak's command, was killed in action.
Ehud Barak retired as Army Chief of Staff in 1995, and was immediately brought into the Government by his friend and mentor, the then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, becoming Foreign Minister a year later. Barak and Rabin were seen as soldiers in the same mould - daring men of action, ruthless against the PLO enemy, and therefore to be trusted with Israel's future in the peace process.
On Rabin's assassination and Netanyahu's subsequent election victory, Barak took over the leadership of the Labor Party from Shimon Peres - not without some friction, as Barak clearly appealed to a hawkish tendency in the party whereas Peres was the arch-dove.
On the peace process, both Barak and Netanyahu appeared to occupy similar ground, although Barak has not ruled out the formation of a Palestinian state. Both say that the Palestinians must be held to their side of the bargain, and both rule out any surrender of sovereignty over East Jerusalem. Barak has also promised that any final settlement negotiated with the Palestinians will be put to a national referendum - some observers have regarded this as a cunning ploy to attract disenchanted right-wing votes, allaying fears that he would make more concessions to the Palestinians than a majority of Israelis can stomach.
Barak has been quoted as saying that physical separation of Jews and Palestinians is the best way of getting a peaceful settlement.
Economically Barak has pledged a responsible fiscal policy along with an economic turn-round. It is unclear as to what measures he expects to take to achieve this. Whether he will be able to break the mould of traditional Labor economic policies - interventionist, dirigiste, with plenty of rewards for party supporters and huge regulatory structures - remains to be seen. (The MidEast Dispatch)
Barak will be his own DM
Weekend News Today
Thu May 20 , 1999 -- Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak said Wednesday that he plans to head the Defense Ministry during the first two years of his term and then re-evaluate the decision. He told the Israeli daily Ha'aretz he was doing so "in order to ensure coordination" of the security and diplomatic issues in the peace process. He said he would go about forming the coalition in "my own way" and that he would first formulate his basic guidelines and then give due consideration to any party seeking to join the government on the basis of those guidelines. Circles close to Barak said it was highly unlikely that he would be persuaded to place the Defense Ministry in the hands of one of his coalition partners, such as Center Party leader Yitzhak Mordechai. One Israel MKs Matan Vilnai and Ephraim Sneh have indicated their interest in serving as Barak's deputy in the Defense Ministry. As to whether he would implement the Wye agreement in the West Bank immediately, Barak said, "This government will move the diplomatic process forward with political responsibility and political intelligence. After the government is formed, we will discuss Wye. As of this moment, I do not know what's in it, what it says, what the understandings are. I don't know which of them have been implemented and which not."
BARAK ELECTED PRIME MINISTER:...It was not so much a win for Barak as it was a defeat for Netanyahu. Nevertheless, Barak is now the Prime Minister-elect. Barak is a protege of former PM Yitzchak Rabin and endorses the "land-for-peace process." In his victory speech, Barak stated "Jerusalem [would remain] united under our sovereignty for eternity ... and the majority of settlers in Judea and Samaria [Yesha] will be in settlement blocs under our sovereignty. [Notice that he did not say "settlements" - the physical places; rather he said "settlers" - the physical persons-- FYI ed] According to JANE'S FOREIGN REPORT, Barak will withdraw from 75% of Yesha. He has also declared that he will withdraw from south Lebanon within a year. Whether Barak does as he says or not, it remains to be seen what will happen after the US administration applies its pressure as it did on Netanyahu. When asked in May 1996 if a Likud-led government would agree to turn over Hebron to the PLO, Netanyahu stated it would not happen. Then in January 1997, he signed over 80% of Hebron to the terrorist organization. It was the Clinton administration that provided the campaign staff for Barak -- strategist James Carville, pollster Stanley Greenberg and TV adman Robert Shrum. This is the same team which helped twice elect Clinton, as well as the Prime Minister of England and the Chancellor of Germany...The big surprise among the Arab vote was the United Arab List, dominated by Israel's Islamic movement, which won five Knesset seats. For the first time in the history of the Jewish state, an Islamic party has became a force in Israeli politics.
(Tzemach News Service, Week Ending: 22 May 1999 / 7 Sivan 5759)
Israeli leader's profile emerges
Jerusalem (AP)...[Barak is] reportedly nicknamed "Napo," for Napoleon by some subordinates...