Golan Heights in the Bible: Biblical Bashan

Learn about Biblical Bashan (the Golan Heights), its different names, its location, and the biblical events that happened here.

Marie-Claire De Villiers
By Marie-Claire De Villiers
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published January 25, 2022.

Golan Heights is a place that holds special religious significance for Christians, having been referred to in the bible numerous times and known as a land of abundant resources (water, cattle, vegetation, and military vantage points).

Names for the Golan Heights

In the bible, Golan Heights is referred to as Bashan, but it also goes by the following names:

  • Golan Plateau
  • Al-Jawlān in Arabic
  • Ramat Ha-Golan or Ha-Golan in Hebrew

Where Is the Golan Heights?

The Golan Heights region stretches south from the Anti-Lebanon Mountains and encompasses the borders of Syria and Israel. Israel currently occupies about two-thirds of the territory. The city of Golan lies roughly 40 miles from Damascus.

Biblical Events in Golan Heights

Bashan is mentioned by name 60 times in the scripture, mostly in the Old Testament. Biblical tradition states that the Amorite Kingdom in Bashan was conquered by the Israelites during the reign of King Og. Throughout the monarchic period, Bashan was contested between the kingdoms of Israel and Aram-Damascus.

The half-tribe of Manasseh, named after a younger son of Joseph, settled here. This was one of the 12 tribes of Israel (and eventually known as one of the 'Ten Lost Tribes') which consisted of people from Israel in biblical times. One of the most notable figures in this group was Gideon, a warrior and judge.

Mount Hermon, in the Golan Heights, is also prominent in many bible verses. The Golan Heights is also the location of the Temple of Pan, which is significant in the bible as the place where Jesus Christ revealed his true identity to his disciples.