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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Ba´shan, a name which probably denotes the peculiar fertility of the soil. The sacred writers include in Bashan that part of the country eastward of the Jordan which was given to half the tribe of Manasseh, situated to the north of Gilead. The first notice of this country is in Genesis 14:5; compare with Joshua 12:4. When the Israelites invaded the Promised Land, Argob, a province of Bashan, contained 'sixty fenced cities, with walls and gates and brazen bars, besides unwalled towns a great many' (Deuteronomy 3:4-5; 1 Kings 4:13). These were all taken by the Israelites, and Og and his people utterly destroyed. Golan, one of the cities of refuge, was situated in this country (Deuteronomy 4:43; Joshua 20:8; Joshua 21:27). Solomon appointed twelve officers to furnish the monthly supplies for the royal household, and allotted the region of Argob to the son of Geber (1 Kings 4:13). Towards the close of Jehu's reign Hazael invaded the land of Israel, and smote the whole eastern territory, 'even Gilead and Bashan' (2 Kings 10:33); but after his death the cities he had taken were recovered by Jehoash (Joash) (2 Kings 13:25), who defeated the Syrians in three battles, as Elisha had predicted (2 Kings 13:19). After the captivity the name Batanaea was applied to only a part of the ancient Bashan; the rest being called Trachonitis, Auranitis, and Gaulanitis. All these provinces were granted by Augustus to Herod the Great, and on his death Batanaea formed a part of Philip's tetrarchy. At his decease, A.D. 34, it was annexed, by Tiberius, to the province of Syria; but in A.D. 37 it was given by Caligula to Herod Agrippa, the son of Aristobulus, with the title of king (Acts 12:1). From the time of Agrippa's death, in A.D. 44, to A.D. 53, the government again reverted to the Romans, but it was then restored by Claudius to Agrippa II (Acts 25:13). The richness of the pasture-land of Bashan, and the consequent superiority of its breed of cattle, are frequently alluded to in the Scriptures. We read in Deuteronomy 32:14, of 'rams of the breed of Bashan.' 'Rams, lambs, bulls, goats, all of them fatlings of Bashan' (Ezekiel 39:18). The oaks of Bashan are mentioned in connection with the cedars of Lebanon (Isaiah 2:13; Zechariah 11:2). In Ezekiel's description of the wealth and magnificence of Tyre it is said, 'Of the oaks of Bashan have they made their oars' (Ezekiel 27:6). The ancient commentators on Amos 4:1, 'the kine of Bashan,' Jerome, Theodoret, and Cyril, speak in the strongest terms of the exuberant fertility of Bashan, and modern travelers corroborate their assertions.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Bashan'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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