Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
At first glance it seems to be two distinct groups of meanings to the verb ברח (barah): one that deals with fleeing and one that deals with a going through. Most commentators marvel over this seemingly double meaning of this root, and even propose that there are multiple separate roots at work, but appear to forget that in English similar verbs exist. Our verb ברח (barah) could be translated with to run, and applied as running away in case of fleeing, and running through in case of going through. We could also translate our verb with to drive, and express the distinction again with driving away or driving through.
The majority of occurrences of our verb reflects a running away or fleeing from an enemy or a bad place (Genesis 31:20, Exodus 14:5, Isaiah 22:3), or a being driven away or made to flee (Job 41:20, 1 Chronicles 8:13, Proverbs 19:16). In only a few occasions, our verb means to run through (bars through boards: Exodus 26:28 and 36:33).
The derivatives of our verb are:
- The adjective בריח (bariah), meaning fleeing (Job 26:13, Isaiah 27:1, Isaiah 43:14).
- The similar masculine noun בריח (beriah), which is an architectural term denoting a conjunctive runner that keeps panels or other construction segments together, such as the walls of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:26) or the gates of Jerusalem (Lamentations 2:9).
- The masculine noun מברח (mibrah), meaning either flight or fugitive. This noun occurs only in Ezekiel 17:21.