light soil, first mentioned in Genesis 14:5 , where it is said that Chedorlaomer and his confederates "smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth," where Og the king of Bashan had his residence. At the time of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land, Og came out against them, but was utterly routed ( Numbers 21:33-35 ; Deuteronomy 3:1-7 ). This country extended from Gilead in the south to Hermon in the north, and from the Jordan on the west to Salcah on the east. Along with the half of Gilead it was given to the half-tribe of Manasseh ( Joshua 13:29-31 ). Golan, one of its cities, became a "city of refuge" ( Joshua 21:27 ). Argob, in Bashan, was one of Solomon's commissariat districts ( 1 Kings 4:13 ). The cities of Bashan were taken by Hazael ( 2 Kings 10:33 ), but were soon after reconquered by Jehoash ( 2 Kings 13:25 ), who overcame the Syrians in three battles, according to the word of Elisha (19). From this time Bashan almost disappears from history, although we read of the wild cattle of its rich pastures ( Ezekiel 39:18 ; Psalms 22:12 ), the oaks of its forests ( Isaiah 2:13 ; Ezekiel 27:6 ; Zechariah 11:2 ), and the beauty of its extensive plains ( Amos 4:1 ; Jeremiah 50:19 ). Soon after the conquest, the name "Gilead" was given to the whole country beyond Jordan. After the Exile, Bashan was divided into four districts,
in the tooth
(fruitful ), a district on the east of Jordan. It is sometimes spoken of as the "land of Bashan," ( 1 Chronicles 5:11 ) and comp. Numb 21:33; 32:33 and sometimes as "all Bashan." ( deuteronomy 3:10 deuteronomy 3:13 ; Joshua 12:5 ; Joshua 13:12 Joshua 13:30 ) 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, ( deuteronomy 3:3 deuteronomy 3:10 deuteronomy 3:14 ; Joshua 12:5 ; 1 Chronicles 5:23 ) 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. ( Joshua 12:3-5 ; 3:10 ) This important district was bestowed on the half-tribe of Manasseh, ( Joshua 13:29-31 ) 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 Porters "Giant Cities of Bashan."
ba'-shan (ha-bashan, "the Bashan"; Basan):
This name is probably the same in meaning as the cognate Arabic bathneh, "soft, fertile land," or bathaniyeh (batanaea), "this land sown with wheat" ("wheatland").
It often occurs with the article, "the Bashan," to describe the kingdom of Og, the most northerly part of the land East of the Jordan. It stretched from the border of Gilead in the South to the slopes of Hermen in the North. Hermon itself is never definitely included in Bashan, although Og is said to have ruled in that mountain (Joshua 12:5; 13:11). In Deuteronomy 3:10 Salecah and Edrei seem to indicate the East and West limits respectively. This would agree with Joshua 12:5; 13:11, which seem to make Geshur and Maacath the western boundary of Bashan. If this were so, then these unconquered peoples literally "dwelt in the midst of Israel." On the other hand Deuteronomy 4:47 may mean that the Jordan formed the western boundary; while Deuteronomy 33:22 makes Bashan extend to the springs of the Jordan. If Golan lay in the district in which its name is still preserved (el Jaulan), this also brings it to the lip of the Jordan valley (Deuteronomy 4:43). "A mountain of summits," or "protuberances" (Psalms 68:15,16:
Hebrew), might describe the highlands of the Jaulan, with its many volcanic hills as seen from the West. "A mountain of God" however does not so well apply to this region. Perhaps we should, with Wetzstein (Das batanaische Giebelgebirge) take these phrases as descriptive of Jebel Chauran, now usually called Jebel ed-Druze, with its many striking summits. This range protected the province from encroachment by the sands of the wilderness from the East. On the South Bashan marched with the desert steppe, el-Chamad, and Gilead. Of the western boundary as we have seen there can be no certainty. It is equally impossible to draw any definite line in the North.
Bashan thus included the fertile, wooded slopes of Jebel ed-Druze, the extraordinarily rich plain of el-Chauran (en-Nuqrah-- see HAURAN), the rocky tract of el-Leja', the region now known as el-Jedur, resembling the Chauran in character, but less cultivated; and, perhaps, the breezy uplands of el-Jaulan, with its splendid reaches of pasture land. It was a land rich in great cities, as existing ruins sufficiently testify. It can hardly be doubted that many of these occupy sites of great antiquity. We may specially note Ashtaroth and Edrei, the cities of Og; Golan, the city of refuge, the site of which is still in doubt; and Salecah (Calkhad), the fortress on the ridge of the mountain, marking the extreme eastern limit of Israel's possessions.
The famous oaks of Bashan (Isaiah 2:13; Ezekiel 27:6) have their modern representatives on the mountain slopes. It seems strange that in Scripture there is no notice of the wheat crops for which the country is in such repute today. Along with Carmel it stood for the fruitfulness of the land (Isaiah 33:9 etc.); and their languishing was an evident mark of God's displeasure (Nahum 1:4). The "bulls of Bashan" represent blatant and brutal strength (Psalms 22:12, etc.). It is long since the lion deserted the plateau (Deuteronomy 33:22); but the leopard is still not unknown among the mountains (Song of Solomon 4:8).
In pre-Israelite days Bashan was ruled by Og the Amorite. His defeat at Edrei marked the end of his kingdom (Numbers 21:33; Joshua 13:11), and the land was given to the half tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 13:30, etc.). In the Syrian wars Bashan was lost to Israel (1 Kings 22:3; 2 Kings 8:28; 10:32), but it was regained by Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:25). It was incorporated in the Assyrian empire by Tiglath-pileser III (2 Kings 15:29). In the 2nd century BC it was in the hands of the Nabateans. It formed part of the kingdom of Herod the Great, and then belonged to that of Philip and Agrippa II.
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