("rich soil".) The tract beyond Jordan (Deuteronomy 3:3; Deuteronomy 3:10; Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 12:5; 1 Chronicles 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 (Joshua 13:29-32; Numbers 32:1-33). Famed for its forests of oaks (Isaiah 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 (Numbers 21:33-35; Deuteronomy 3:1-5; Deuteronomy 3:12-13).frontARGOB.)
Argob and its 60 "fenced cities" formed the, principal part of Bashan, which had "beside unwalled towns a great many." Ashtaroth (Beeshterah, Joshua 21:27, compare 1 Chronicles 6:71), Golan (a city of refuge, assigned with Ashtaroth to the Gershomite Levites), Edrei, Salkah, were the chief cities. Argob in Bashan frontBASHAN-HAVOTH-JAIR), with its 60 walled and barred cities still standing, was one of Solomon's commissariat districts (1 Kings 4:13). Hazael devastated it subsequently (2 Kings 10:33). The wild cattle of its pastures, "strong bulls of Bashan," were proverbially famed (Psalm 22:12; Amos 4:1); also its oaks (Ezekiel 27:6); and hills (Psalm 68:15); and pastures (Jeremiah 1.19; Micah 7:14).
The name "Gilead," connected with the history of the patriarch Jacob (Genesis 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 (Ezekiel 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. frontARGOB.)
(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. Psalm 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.