Go'lan (Heb. Golan', גּוֹלָן, exile accord. to Gesen., but circle accord. to Fürst; Sept. Γαύλων; once Galon', גָּלוֹן, "keri" at Jos 21:27, Sept. Γωλάν), a city of Bashan (De 4:23) allotted out of the half tribe of Manasseh east to the Gershonite Levites (Jos 21:27; Jos 1 Chronicles; 6:71), and one of the three cities of refuge east of the Jordan (20:8). We find no further notice of it in Scripture; and though Eusebius and Jerome say it was still an important place in their time (Onomast. s.v. Γαυλών, Gaulon; Keland, Palaest. p. 815), its very site is now unknown. The word is recognized in the present Jaulân, mentioned by Burckhardt (Syria, page 286) as giving name to a district lying east of the lake of Tiberias, and composed of the ancient Gaulonitis, with part of Bashan and Argob (see also Robinson's Researches, 3:308, 312; Append. pages 149, 162). It is indeed clear that the Gaulonitis of the later Jewish history must have included part of the more ancient Bashan, if Golan gave name to the province, seeing that Golan was certainly in Bashan. The city itself may have been situated on tell el-Feras, which, although destitute of ruins, is the most prominent part of the Jebel Heish that principally constitutes the modern district. Some have supposed that the village of Nawa, on the eastern border of Jaulan, around which are extensive ruins (see Portel; Handb. for Syr. and Palest.), is identical with the ancient Golan; but for this there is not a shadow of evidence; and Nawa, besides, is much too far to the eastward.
Some difficulty has been suggested as arising from the fact that the Judas whom Josephus (Ant. 18:1, 1) calls a Gaulonite is called by Luke (Ac 5:37) a Galilaean. This is the more remarkablle, as Josephus elsewhere (War, 2:20, 4) carefully distinguishes Galilee and Gaulonitis. Yet he himself elsewhere calls this very Judas a Galilaean (Ant. 18:1, 6; 20:5, 2; War, 2:9, 1). It is, from this, probable that Judas had a double cognomen, perhaps because he had been born in Gaulonitis, but had been brought up or dwelt in Galilee; as Apollonius, although an Egyptian, yet was, from his place of residence, called Rhodius (see Kuinol, in Act. 5:37). SEE JUDAS (THE GALILAEAN).
The city of Golan is several times referred to by Josephus (Γαυλάνη, War, 1:4, 4, and 8); he, however, more frequently speaks of the province which took its name from it, Gaulanitis (Γαυλανῖτις). When the kingdom of Israel was overthrown by the Assyrians, and the dominion of the Jews in Bashan ceased, it appears that the aboriginal tribes, before kept in subjection, but never annihilated, rose again to some power, and rent the country into provinces. Two of these provinces at least were of ancient origin, SEE TRACHONITIS and SEE HAURAN, and had been distinct principalities previous to the time when Og or his predecessors united them under one scepter. Before the Babylonish captivity Bashan appears in Jewish history as one kingdom; but subsequent to that period it is spoken of as divided into four provinces — Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Auranitis, and Batanaea (Josephus, Ant. 4:5, 3, and 7, 4; 1:6, 4; 16:9, 1; War, 1:20, 4; 3:3, 1; 4:1, 1). It seems that when the city of Golan rose to power it became the head of a large province, the extent of which is pretty accurately given by Josephus, especially when his statements are compared with the modern divisions of Bashan. It lay east of Galilee and north of Gadaritis (Gadara, Josephus, War, 3:3, 1). Gamala, an important town on the eastern bank of the Sea of Galilee, now called El-Husn, and the province attached to it, were included in Gaulanitis (War, 4:1, 1). But the boundary of the provinces of Gadara and Gamala must evidently have been the river Hieromax, which may therefore be regarded as the south border of Gaulanitis. The Jordan, from the Sea of Galilee to its fountains at Dan and Caesarea Philippi, formed the western boundary (War, 3:3, 5). It is important to observe that the boundaries of the modern province of Jaulân (the Arabic form of the Hebrew גּוֹלָן, from which is derived the Greek Γαυλανῖτις) correspond so far with those of Gaulanitis; we may therefore safely assume that their northern and eastern boundaries are also identical. Jaulan is bounded on the north by Jedur (the ancient Ituraea), and on the west by the Hauran [q.v.]. The principal cities of Gaulanitis were Golan, Hippos, Gamala, Julias or Bethsaida (Mr 8:22), Seleucia, and Sogane (Josephus, War, 3:3, 1, and 5; 4:1, 1).
The greater part of Gaulanitis is a flat and fertile table-land, well watered, and clothed with luxuriant grass. It is probably to this region the name Mishor (מַישֹׁר) is given in 1Ki 20:23,25 — "the plain" in which the Syrians were overthrown by the Israelites, near Aphek, which perhaps stood upon the site of the modern Fik (Stanley, App. § 6; Porter, Handbook for Syr. and Pal. page 425). The western side of Gaulanitis, along the sea of Galilee, is steep, rugged, and bare. It is upwards of 2500 feet in height, and when seen from the city of Tiberias resembles a mountain range, though in reality it is only the supporting wall of the plateau. It was this remarkable feature which led the ancient geographers to suppose that the mountain range of Gilead was joined to Lebanon (Reland, page 342). Further north, along the bank of the Upper Jordan, the plateau breaks down in a series of terraces, which, though somewhat rocky, are covered with rich soil, and clothed in spring with the most luxuriant herbage, spangled with multitudes of bright and beautiful flowers. A range of low, round-topped, picturesque hills extends southward for nearly twenty miles from the base of Hermon along the western edge of the plateau. These are in places covered with noble forests of prickly oak and terebinth. Gaulanitis was once densely populated, but it is now almost completely deserted. Among the towns and villages which it once contained are still left the names of 127 places, all of which, with the exception of about eleven, are now uninhabited. Only a few patches of its soil :ire cultivated; and the very best of its pasture is lost — the tender grass of early spring. The flocks of the Turkmhans and el-Fudhl Arabs — the only tribes that remain permanently in this region — are not able to consume it; and the Anazeh, those "children of the East" who spread over the land like locusts, and "whose camels are without number" (Jg 7:12), only arrive about the beginning of May. At that season the whole country is covered with them-their black tents pitched in circles near the fountains, their cattle thickly dotting the vast plain, and their fierce cavaliers roaming far and wide, "their hand against every man, and every man's hand against them." For fuller accounts of the scenery, antiquities, and chistory of Gaulanitis, see Porter's Handbook for Syria and Palest. pages 295, 424, 461, 531; Five Years in Damascus, 2:250; Journal of Sac. Lit. 6:292; Burckhardt's Trav. in Syria, page 277; Wilson, Lands of Bible, 2:319; Thomson. Land and Book, 2:12 sq.; Schwarz, Palest. page 220. SEE BASHAN.