Argob, mentioned Deuteronomy 3:14, is, by the Targumists, called Trachona. And so Jonath. 1 Kings 4:13: the Samaritan hath it, Rigobaah, which seems akin to Regab, amongst the Talmudists.
"Tekoah hath the preeminence for oil: Abba Saul saith, The next to that is Regab beyond Jordan."
Gul. Tyrius would derive the name from dragons. For so he: "It [Trachonitis] seems to have taken its name from dragons. Those hidden passages and windings underground, with which this country abounds, are called dragons. Indeed, almost all the people of this country have their dwellings in dens and caves; and in these kind of dragons."
Other things might be offered as to the signification of the word: but we are looking after the situation of the place, not the etymology of the name. And the first thing to be inquired into, as to its situation, is, whether it extended in longitude from the south to the north, or from the west to the east. The reason of our inquiry is, partly upon the account of Auranitis, which we are to speak of presently, and partly those words in Josephus, "Batanea was bounded with Trachonitis." How so? Either that Batanea lay between Perea and Trachonitis, extending itself from the west towards the east, or between Trachonitis and Galilee, strictly so called, extending itself in length from the south towards the north: which last I presume most probable; and so we place Trachonitis in the extreme parts of the Transjordanine country towards the east. And both which, upon these reasons taken together:
1. The Gemarists, describing the circumference of the land from the north, do mention "Tarnegola [or Gabara] the upper, which is above Caesarea [Philippi], and Trachona, which extends to Bozrah": where the extension of Trachona must not be understood of its reaching to some Bozrah in those northern borders; but to some Bozrah or Bosorrah in the confines of Perea: and so it supposes the country extending itself from the north towards the south.
2. "Of the province of Batanea; east of which is Saccea, and here, under the hill Alsadamus, are the Trachonite Arabians." Behold here the Trachonites living east of Batanea.
3. "The country of Gamala, and Gaulanitis, and Batanea, and Trachonitis." But were not Gamalitica itself and Gaulonitis within Batanea? Right: but by this distinction he divides between that Batanea that was nearer Galilee, and that that was farther off. That country that lay nearest, from those noted towns of Gaulan and Gamala, he calls Gaulonitis and Gamalitica; and that which was farther off, he calls by its own name of Batanea; and what lies still beyond that, Trachonitis.
There was a time when all that whole country, which now is distinguished into these severals, had one general name of Bashan; which word, how it came to change into Bathan, or Batanea,--as also, with the Targumists and Samaritans, into Batnin and Matnin,--any one, indifferently skilled in the Syrian tongue, will easily discern.