Bashan, Ituræa, Kenath -- By: J. L. Porter
BSac 13:52 (Oct 1856) p. 789
Bashan, Ituræa, Kenath
§ 1. Bashan
In the Bible, this word is always written בָּשָׁן, but has sometimes the article. The general form, in the LXX., is Βασ́αν, though Βασάν, is also used, Ez. 27:6. In Josephus, we find the Greek form Βαταναία. The latter was
BSac 13:52 (Oct 1856) p. 790
almost always used to signify Batanæa the province, and not Bashan the kingdom. Josephus uses it in the latter sense more than once; but he likewise uses the wordΓαυλωνῖτις, to signify the whole kingdom of Bashan (Ant. iv. 5. 3). The word “Bashan” may probably be regarded as descriptive of the country: it means “a light and fertile soil;” and the corresponding word in Arabic, which is the modern name of the ancient province, conveys the additional idea of level ground: Solum Æquale planum et molle; and is opposed to , the former denoting a fertile and plain country, — the latter hilly and barren land.
Bashan must have been inhabited from a very early period, probably prior to its occupation by the descendants of Canaan. In Gen. 14:5, we read that the princes of Mesopotamia marched against the land of Canaan, and on their way defeated the Rephaims of Ashtaroth-Karnaim. These Rephaims appear to have been the original inhabitants of this whole country; but the Amorites, the posterity of one of Canaan’s sons, gradually took possession of these territories, and increased in numbers and strength, while the others diminished, until the days of Moses, when Og alone remained of this ancient and gigantic race. Ashtaroth was one of his royal cities. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, the whole region east of the Jordan was under the rule of two great monarchs, Sihon and Og. The former held the country south of the Jabbok, and was called King of Heshbon; the latter governed the district extending from the Jabbok northwards to Mount Hermon. This kingdom was divided into two parts: the northern part was called Bashan, and the southern half- Gilead; the other half of Gilead belonged to Sihon (Deut. 3:11–13), who also possessed the Valley of the Ghor on the east bank of the Jordan, up to the Sea of Chinneroth (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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