ruins of Byzantine monastery
beneath Golan bluffs at el-Kursi
on east shore of sea of Galilee
region on the east side of the Jordan river, north of the river Yarmuk, with steep cliffs descending to the north eastern shore
of the sea of
bend in the Yarmuk (green)
separating Golan (Syria, left) from the Decapolis (Jordan, right)
Israelite times, the Golan was settled by part of the tribe of
Manasseh; & early Israelite tradition designated the city
for which the region was named a place of refuge [Deut 4:43].
For more than a century the Romans assigned this district, which
they called Gaulanitis, to the administration of Herod
(ca. 20 BCE) & his heirs through Agrippa
II (d. 92 CE). During the
1st c. CE the region was fairly densely populated, with several
settlements like Gamala
fiercely loyal to the cause of Jewish independence from Rome. In
Jesus' lifetime, the Golan belonged to the tetrarchy of Philip.
Though not named in the gospels, the Golan fits the description
of scenes in which Jesus goes into the hills after crossing the
sea of Galilee.
Arab village at oasis in
For further information about archaeological & historical evidence, see:
Buttrick, G. A., ed. Interpreter's
Dictionary of the Bible. vol. 2 (NY/Nashville: Abingdon Press,
1962) p. 437.
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