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Bashan, from the Hebrew pronounced baw-shawn, meaning fertile land, was an ancient political region east of The Sea Of Galilee, running approximately from Gilead in the south to Mount Hermon in the north. Perhaps its most well-known king was Og, a giant man, one of the last, who reigned in the time of Moses i.e. "For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? Nine cubits was the length thereof" (Deuteronomy 3:11 KJV)

"I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan"

At the time of Israel's entrance into their Promised Land, Og of Bashan made the strategic mistake of attacking The Lord as He was leading the advancing Israelites. It cost him his kingdom.

Jordan River

"Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. And The Lord said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.

So The Lord our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining. And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many. And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city. But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves.

And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon; Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir; All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan." (Deuteronomy 3:1-10 KJV)

Bashan became part of the Israelite promised land (see the Fact Finder question below), given to the eastern half of the tribe of Manasseh.

"And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying, As The Lord hath said unto thy servants, so will we do. We will pass over armed before The Lord into the land of Canaan, that the possession of our inheritance on this side Jordan may be ours.

And Moses gave unto them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and unto half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about." (Numbers 32:31-33 KJV)

Golan, one of the cities of Bashan, was designated as one of the Israelite Cities Of Refuge.

"And unto the children of Gershon, of the families of the Levites, out of the other half tribe of Manasseh they gave Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer" (Joshua 21:27 KJV)

Bashan was one of Solomon's supply districts (see Solomon's Kingdom).

"And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision ... The son of Geber, in Ramothgilead; to him pertained the towns of Jair the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead; to him also pertained the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, threescore great cities with walls and brazen bars" (1 Kings 4:7,13 KJV)

King Hazael of Syria took Bashan from Israel when "The Lord began to cut Israel short," but it was years later recovered by King Jehoash of Israel (see Kings of Israel and Judah), unlike the modern day, when Syria, except for the Golan, again holds Bashan.

"In those days The Lord began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel; From Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan." (2 Kings 10:32-33 KJV)

"So Hazael king of Syria died; and Benhadad his son reigned in his stead. And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel." (2 Kings 13:24-25 KJV)

Later historic and prophetic references to Bashan attest to the meaning of its name, fertile land (and why Solomon, as mentioned above, would have designated it as one of his supply districts).

"of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan" (Ezekiel 39:18 KJV)

"strong bulls of Bashan" (Psalm 22:18 KJV)

"all the oaks of Bashan" (Isaiah 2:13 KJV)

"I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead." (Jeremiah 50:19 KJV)

Fact Finder: How is it that only a part of the Israelites had to cross the Jordan to get to their promised land?
See Eastern Tribal Lands

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