The Mountains of Bashan vs. Where God Dwells (Ps 68)

I was sucked into Psalm 68 this morning. Part of this psalm reads:

The mountains of Bashan are mighty mountains;
high-ridged mountains are the mountains of Bashan.
Why look with envy, you high-ridged mountains,
at the mountain where God has chosen to dwell?

Bashan (including the Golan Heights and southern slopes of Mt. Hermon) stand at what was the northern boundary between Judea and the gentile world. Rising some 9200 feet above sea-level, it is a beautiful and impressive site. Well watered, fruitful plains, rugged and snow-capped mountains, clearly the type of place you’d expect to find God (think Colorado Springs).

Mount Hermon

This fertile land was assigned to the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 13:29-31), one of Joseph’s father’s favorite sons (Jacob even “adopted” his grandsons Ephraim, Manasseh, Reuben, and Simeon as his own sons, giving them a special blessing above their brothers) An impressive physical specimen, and the father of a valorous and fruitful people, Jewish parents pronounce a blessing over their sons that includes the phrase “God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh” (from Gen. 48:20).

Mount Zion, on the other hand, not so much.

Mount Zion

Rising only 2500 feet above sea level, the Temple Mount would barely worth of the title mount, were it not for God’s presence (think West Texas and the Llano Estacado).

I love that our God chooses to dwell not in the unreachable heights of glory overlooking the richest land, but instead dwells where His people can live all around Him, where

…the just shall rejoice at the presence of God,
they shall exult and dance for joy…

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13 Responses to The Mountains of Bashan vs. Where God Dwells (Ps 68)

  1. Lauren says:

    Thanks. I got lost in this psalm today…

  2. Pastor Mark says:

    Thanks for the comparison – just what I was lookin for! Verses 9 and 13 fit in nicely too…

  3. Eleasa says:

    Thanks! I just read this and was wondering what it was talking about.

  4. Harlan says:

    Thanks! Great pictures. Helpful comments.

  5. Joel Scott says:

    “Mount Zion, on the other hand, not so much.”

    Ha-ha! Great way to put it! :-)

    Great photos, too.

    Thanks for posting this.

  6. laka says:

    thanks, very helpful! This psalm has been a great comfort from God

  7. Franjo Francis says:

    Thanks, its very helpful to find the creativity of our GOD in the past & thanks to my Owner.

  8. Dan says:

    Wonderful insight to a very interesting verse. I just had to look up a commentaries on it and yours was at the top of the first page (serp) using the following search string…(why is the mountain of bashan special). FYI here is the actual serp direct from Google, “About 569,000 results (0.26 seconds)”. URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=why+is+the+mountain+of+bashan+special

    Your search for the same search string may not yield the exact same result but it should be similar.

    It is a wonderment to me that God, our God would choose to identify with man, as omniscient, omnipotent and majestic God is, He chose to be like man and actually became a man so that He may redeem us from the clutches of sin.

    Jesus, what a wonder You are!

    Thank you for sharing your insight.
    -Dan

  9. Rob says:

    Good stuff … but you must read the final outcome as well … “and the mountains shall all be leveled, and every hill made low, and THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD shall be the PREMIER (highest) MOUNTAIN … and the Redeemed shall WALK UP to ZION.” Ywhen

  10. Rob says:

    Also, those three white peaks at Mt. Hermon are the northern flank where the fallen angels first came down to earth in Gen. 6 … later, their Nephillim descendants built the three major pyramids in Egypt (also once three white peaks; covered in white limestone) … the southern flank, with GOD’s MOUNTAIN in the middle … eventually, GOD’s MOUNTAIN will RISE UP and those mountains of Kings Og and Anak, along with the pagan pyramids of the sons of Amun-Ra (Lucifer) will be leveled … and the MOUNTAIN of The GREAT KING (Yeshua-Jesus) will be above them ALL … Praise GOD !!!

    • Mr.P says:

      Firstly, the pyramids of Egypt are still there and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

      Secondly, they were built by Egyptian artisans and mathematicians known as Harpendonaptes by the Greeks, not Jewish slaves or the children of Christian angels.

      Thirdly, the notion of God’s Mountains of Bashan is lifted from the Egyptian texts declaring the Mountains of Bakhu where the skies rest

      Fourthly, do you know the connection of King Og to Christendom
      and finally, if Amen Re is a pagan God, why do you proclaim his name at the end of each of your prayers.

      My point? There is but one God and many interpretations. Your interpretation is flawed to say the least.

      However, the fact that you have an interpretation means that you are interested in God’s word. It will be worth it, though, to seek the truth!
      Peace!

  11. Linda H says:

    Your thoughts were vey well written. I, too, was sucked into Psalms 68. I especially appreciate how you said God chooses to dwell in a place where His people can live all around Him. He loves us that much that He chooses to live among us.

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and what God is speaking to you. It is much appreciated.

  12. Penny Shellswell says:

    Very interesting. I arrived this morning at Ps 68 via a very different route. Seeking to understand the ‘hill of the Lord’ I ‘landed up in Dt 32 v 14 ‘Butter of cows and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape’. Bashan can be a symbol of fertility and fruitfulness, plenty, abundance. Sound like Jesus? Milk and butter to feed the young and meat to feed the adult.

    The church should be the place today where new believers are nurtured on ‘milk’ and the ‘meat’ – sacrifice – for the more mature. But then we take it to share with the non believer so that the church becomes the hill top, the Light that people can see and look to.

    I got excited here. And thank you I was looking for pictures which led me to your site.

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