GOLAN (Heb. גּוֹלָן), a town of the half-tribe *Manasseh in *Bashan that was set aside as a city of refuge (Deut. 4:43; Josh. 20:8) and a levitical city of the family of Gershon (Josh. 21:27; i Chron. 6:56). It is mentioned as Giluni in the *El-Amarna Letters. Although situated in Bashan, the city seems to have given its name to the entire district of Golan (or Gaulan) to the west of it. According to Eusebius it was a large village in Batanaea in the fourth century b.c.e. (Onom. 64:68). Schumacher has identified it with Sakhm al-Jawlān, a village 5 miles (8 km.) east of the Nahr al-ʿAllān (ʿAllān River), the eastern boundary of Gaulanitis. This identification conforms with the assumption that the city was located outside the district named for it, which ended at Nahr al-ʿAllān. D. Urman has cast doubt on the Sakhm al-Jawlān identification owing to the fact that Bronze and Iron Age remains have not yet been found there. Other scholars have proposed a more northerly location for Golan, in the region of *Maacah. W.F. Albright, however, was of the opinion that the biblical city must have been situated within the region of the present-day Golan. Josephus was the first to use the name Golan not only as the name of a town but also of a region. There are several references to Golan in the Talmud; these, however, seem to refer to the district and not to the city (tj, Meg. 3:1, 73d).
For geography, archaeology, and settlement of the region see *Ramat ha-Golan.
R. Dussaud, Topographie historique de la Syrie… (1927), 335, 343f.; Albright, in: L. Ginsberg Jubilee Volume (1945), 57 (Eng. section); em, s.v.add. bibliography: D. Urman, The Golan: A Profile of a Region During the Roman and Byzantine Periods (1985).
[Michael Avi-Yonah /
Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)]