Fat, fruitful, Nu 21:33, a rich hilly district lying east of the Jordan, and between the mountains of Hermon on the north, and those of Gilead and Ammon on the south. The country takes its name from its soft and sandy soil. It is celebrated in Scripture for its rich pasturage: "Rams, of the breed of Bashan," De 32:14; "Rams, bulls, goats, all of them fatlings of Bashan," Eze 39:18. The oaks of Bashan are mentioned in connection with the cedars of Lebanon, Isa 2:13. Modern travelers describe the country as still abounding with verdant and fertile meadows, valleys traversed by refreshing streams, hills crowned with forests, and pastures offering an abundance to the flocks that wander through them. In the time of Joshua, Argob, one of its chief districts, contained sixty walled towns, De 4:43; Jos 20:8; 21:27. Bashan was assigned, after the conquest of Og and his people, Jos 12:4, to the half tribe of Manasseh. David drew supplies from this region, 1Ki 4:13. It was conquered by Hazael, but Joash recovered it, 2Ki 10:33; 13:25. From Bashan came the Greek name Batanaea, in modern Arabic El-Bottein. But this latter only included its southern part. The ancient Bashan covered the Roman provinces named Gaulonitis, trachonitis, Auranitis, Batanaea, and Ituraea.
("rich soil".) The tract beyond Jordan (De 3:3,10,14; Jos 12:5; 1Ch 5:23), between mount Hermon on the N., and Gilead on the S., the Arabah or Jordan valley on the W., and Salkah and the Geshurites and Maacathites on the E. Fitted for pasture; so assigned with half Gilead from Mahanaim to the half tribe of Manasseh, as the rest of Gilead was to Reuben and Gad, as those tribes abounded in flocks and herds (Jos 13:29-32; Nu 32:1-33). Famed for its forests of oaks (Isa 2:13). It was taken by Israel after conquering Sihon's land from Arnon to Jabbok. They "turned and went up by the way of Bashan," the route to Edrei on the W. border of the Lejah. Og, the giant king of Bashan, "came out" from the rugged strongholds of Argob to encounter them, and perished with all his people (Nu 21:33-35; De 3:1-5,12-13).(See ARGOB.)
Argob and its 60 "fenced cities" formed the, principal part of Bashan, which had "beside unwalled towns a great many." Ashtaroth (Beeshterah, Jos 21:27, compare 1Ch 6:71), Golan (a city of refuge, assigned with Ashtaroth to the Gershomite Levites), Edrei, Salkah, were the chief cities. Argob in Bashan (See BASHAN-HAVOTH-JAIR), with its 60 walled and barred cities still standing, was one of Solomon's commissariat districts (1Ki 4:13). Hazael devastated it subsequently (2Ki 10:33). The wild cattle of its pastures, "strong bulls of Bashan," were proverbially famed (Ps 22:12; Am 4:1); also its oaks (Eze 27:6); and hills (Ps 68:15); and pastures (Jeremiah 1.19; Mic 7:14).
The name "Gilead," connected with the history of the patriarch Jacob (Ge 31:47-48), supplanted "Bashan," including Bashan as well as the region originally called "Gilead," After the return from Babylon Bashan was divided into
(1) Gaulanitis or Jaulan, the most western, on the sea of Galilee, and lake Merom, and rising to a table land 3,000 ft. above the water, clothed still in the N.W. with oaks, and having the ruins of 127 villages.
(2) Auranitis, the Hauran (Eze 47:16), the most fertile region in Syria, S.E. of the last, and S. of the Lejah, abounding in ruins of towns, as Bozrah, and houses with stone roofs and doors and massive walls, and having also inhabited villages.
(3) Trachonitis ("rugged"): Argob, now the Lejah, rocky and intricate, in contrast to the rich level of the Hauran and Jaulan. (See ARGOB.)
(4) Batanaea (akin to Bashan), now Ard el-Bathanyeh, E. of the Lejah, N. of the Jebel Hauran range, of rich soil, abounding in evergreen oaks; with many towns deserted, but almost as perfect as the day they were built. E. of Jebel Hauran lies the desert El Harrah covered with black volcanic stones. The Safah E. of this is a natural fortress thickly strewed with shattered basalt, through which tortuous fissures are the only paths. On the eastern side of volcanic hills lie ruined villages of a very archaic structure. Traces appear of an ancient road with stones placed at intervals and inscribed with characters like the Sinaitic. N. of Hauran and Jaulan lies Jedur, the Ituraea of the New Testament; the country of Jetur, son of Ishmael; possibly once part of Og's kingdom of Bashan. Ps 68:22, "I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring My people again from the depths of the sea," means, "I will restore Israel from all quarters, and from dangers as great as their conflict with Og of Bashan, and, as the passage through the Red Sea. "Why leap ye, ye high hills?" namely, with envy. Or translate, "Why do ye look with suspicion and envy?" namely, at God's hill, Zion, which He hath raised to so high a spiritual elevation above you.
The name of the territory east of the Sea of Tiberias. It was the kingdom of Og, the Rephaite opponent of Israel, and with his name the country is almost invariably associated (Nu 21:33; De 29:7; Ne 9:22 etc.). The territory was given to the half-tribe of Manasseh, with a reservation of two cities, Golan and Be-eshterah (Ashtaroth in 1Ch 6:71), for the Gershonite Levites (Jos 21:27). In the time of Jehu the country was smitten by Hazael (2Ki 10:33). It was noted for mountains (Ps 68:15), lions (De 33:22), oak trees (Isa 2:13; Eze 27:6; Zec 11:2), and especially cattle, both rams (De 32:14) and bullocks (Eze 39:18); the bulls and kine of Bashan are typical of cruelty and oppression (Ps 22:12; Am 4:1). The extent of the territory denoted by this name cannot be exactly defined till some important identifications can be established, such as the exact meaning of 'the region of Argob' (included in the kingdom of Og, De 3:4 etc.), where were threescore great cities with walls and brazen bars, administered for Solomon by Ben-geber of Ramoth-gilead (1Ki 4:13). It included Salecah (Salkhat, on the borders of the desert), Edrei (ed-Der'a?), Ashtaroth (perhaps Tell Ashareh), and Golan, one of the cities of refuge, the name of which may be preserved in the Jaulan, the region immediately east of the Sea of Tiberias.
R. A. S. Macalister.
Now best known for the Golan Heights, it is a large district on the east of the Jordan, having Gilead on the south and extending northward to Mount Hermon; westward to the Jordan valley, and eastward nearly as far as 37 E. It is sometimes called the "land of Bashan," and it was the kingdom of Og the Amorite. It was conquered by Moses, and became, with part of Gilead, the portion of the half-tribe of Manasseh. Its principal cities were Ashtaroth (or Beeshterah) given to the Levites, Golan a 'city of refuge,' Edrei, and Salcah on its border. It was ravaged by Hazael in the time of Jehu, and is not often alluded to in the later history of the kings of Judah and Israel. Jos 13:30-31; 21:27; 2Ki 10:33; 1Ch 5:11.
The district was in later days divided into
1. GAULANITIS on the west, now called Jaulan, a rich district with noble forests.
2. AURANITIS, in the centre, now called Hauran, a magnificent plain.
3. TRACHONITIS, on the north-east, also called ARGOB, q.v.; now called El Lejah, a wild district of basaltic rocks.
4. BATANAEA, on the south-east, now called Ard el Bathanyeh. The four districts have relics of a numerous population, with massive houses built of stone in some parts.
BULLS OF BASHAN are figurative of strong ruthless enemies, Am 4:1, whom God in the coming judgement on Gog will crush, and will call for the fowls and the beasts to come and feed upon their flesh and their blood, Eze 39:18: and lastly, when the blessed Lord was on the cross, His description of His vindictive enemies includes the strong bulls of Bashan which beset Him around, and gaped upon Him with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. Ps 22:12-13.
(fruitful), a district on the east of Jordan. It is sometimes spoken of as the "land of Bashan,"
and comp. Numb 21:33; 32:33 and sometimes as "all Bashan."
It was taken by the children of Israel after their conquest of the land of Sihon from Arnon to Jabbok. The limits of Bashan are very strictly defined. It extended from the "border of Gilead" on the south to Mount Hermon on the north,
and from the Arabah or Jordan valley on the west to Salchah (Sulkhad) and the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites on the east.
Jos 12:3-5; De 3:10
This important district was bestowed on the half-tribe of Manasseh,
together with "half Gilead." This country is now full of interesting ruins, which have lately been explored and from which much light has been thrown upon Bible times. See Porter's "Giant Cities of Bashan."
BASHAN, or BASAN, one of the most fertile cantons of Canaan, which was bounded on the west by the river Jordan, on the east by the mountains of Gilead, on the south by the brook of Jabbok, and on the north by the land of Geshur. The whole kingdom took its name from the hill of Bashan, which is situated in the middle of it, and by the Greeks is called Batanaea. It had no less than sixty walled towns in it, beside villages. It afforded an excellent breed of cattle, and stately oaks, and was, in short, a plentiful and populous country. Og, king of the Amorites, possessed this country when Moses made the conquest thereof. In the division of the Holy Land, it was assigned to the half tribe of Manasseh. Of the present state of this portion of the ancient possessions of the Israelites, Mr. Buckingham, in his Travels, gives the following account: "We ascended the steep on the north side of the Zerkah, or Jabbok; and, on reaching the summit, came again on a beautiful plain, of an elevated level, and still covered with a very rich soil. We had now quitted the land of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and entered into that of Og, the king of Bashan, both of them well known to all the readers of the early Scriptures. We had quitted too, the districts apportioned to the tribes of Reuben and of Gad, and entered that part which was allotted to the half tribe of Manasseh, beyond Jordan eastward, leaving the land of the children of Ammon on our right, or to the east of the Jabbok, which, according to the authority before quoted, divided Ammon, or Philadelphia, from Gerasa. The mountains here are called the land of Gilead in the Scriptures, and in Josephus; and, according to the Roman division, this was the country of the Decapolis, so often spoken of in the New Testament, or the province of Gaulonitis, from the city of Gaulon, its early capital. We continued our way over this elevated tract, continuing to behold, with surprise and admiration, a beautiful country on all sides of us: its plains covered with a fertile soil, its hills clothed with forests; at every new turn presenting the most magnificent landscapes that could be imagined. Among the trees, the oak was frequently seen; and we know that this territory produced them of old. In enumerating the sources from which the supplies of Tyre were drawn in the time of her great wealth and naval splendour, the Prophet says, 'Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars,' Eze 27:6. Some learned commentators indeed, believing that no oaks grew in these supposed desert regions, have translated the word by 'alders,' to prevent the appearance of inaccuracy in the inspired writer. The expression of 'the fat bulls of Bashan,' which occurs more than once in the Scriptures, seemed to us equally inconsistent, as applied to the beasts of a country generally thought to be a desert, in common with the whole tract which is laid down in our modern maps as such between the Jordan and the Euphrates; but we could now fully comprehend, not only that the bulls of this luxuriant country might be proverbially fat, but that its possessors, too, might be a race renowned for strength and comeliness of person. The general face of this region improved as we advanced farther in it; and every new direction of our path opened upon us views which surprised and charmed us by their grandeur and their beauty. Lofty mountains gave an outline of the most magnificent character; flowing beds of secondary hills softened the romantic wildness of the picture; gentle slopes, clothed with wood, gave a rich variety of tints, hardly to be imitated by the pencil; deep valleys, filled with murmuring streams and verdant meadows, offered all the luxuriance of cultivation; and herds and flocks gave life and animation to scenes as grand, as beautiful, and as highly picturesque as the genius or taste of a Claude could either invent or desire."