Meaning: “smooth” or “light soil”
Bashan is a biblical place east of the Jordan River that is mentioned by name 60 times in Scripture. It had fertile land and is first referred to 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).
“Jair the son of Manasseh took all the region of Argob, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, and called Bashan after his own name, Havoth Jair, to this day.)” —Deuteronomy 3:14 NKJV
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 (Ezek. 39:18; Psalm 22:12), the oaks of its forests (Isaiah 2:13; Ezek. 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:
Gaulonitis, or Jaulan, the most western
Batanaea, now Ard-el-Bathanyeh, on the east of the Lejah, with many deserted towns almost as perfect as when they were inhabited. (See HAURAN.)
A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan;
A mountain of many peaks is the mountain of Bashan.
Why do you look with envy, O mountains with many peaks,
At the mountain which God has desired for His abode?
Surely the Lord will dwell there forever. —Psalm 68:15-16 NASB