Bashan or Basan (Hebrew: הַבָּשָׁן, ha-Bashan, meaning "the light soil"; Latin: Basan) is a biblical place first mentioned in , 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 ( ; ). This country extended from Gilead in the south to Hermon in the north, and from the Jordan river on the west to Salcah on the east. Along with the half of Gilead it was given to the half-tribe of Manasseh ( ). Golan, one of its cities, became a city of refuge ( ).
According to the Bible, the Israelites invaded the Amorite homeland in Bashan and took it from them. : "Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei." : "The LORD said to me, "Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon." : "So the LORD our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors." : "At that time we took all his cities. There was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them—the whole region of Argob, Og's kingdom in Bashan." :"All these cities were fortified with high walls and with gates and bars, and there were also a great many unwalled villages." : "We completely destroyed [a] them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying [b] every city—men, women and children." : "But all the livestock and the plunder from their cities we carried off for ourselves."
Argob, in Bashan, was one of Solomon's commissariat districts ( ). The cities of Bashan were taken by Hazael ( ), but were soon after reconquered by Jehoash ( ), who overcame the Syrians in three battles, according to the prophesy of Elisha (19). From this time Bashan almost disappears from history, although we read of the wild cattle of its rich pastures ( ; ), the oaks of its forests ( ; ; ), the beauty of its extensive plains ( ; ), and the rugged majesty of its mountains ( ). 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
- Auranitis, the Hauran ( )
- Argob or Trachonitis, now the Lejah
- Batanaea, now Ard-el-Bathanyeh, on the east of the Lejah, with many deserted towns almost as perfect as when they were inhabited.
This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897.