Bulls of Bashan
Why Bashan?Psalms 22:12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
Psalms 22:13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
From the context of the chapter you may gather that David was talking about Jesus.
Psalms 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
Psalms 22:17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
Psalms 22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Bashan is an actual place east of the Jordan River near the Sea of Galilee. Now I don’t think a bunch of actual bulls imported from Bashan were surrounded around Jesus at the crucifixion. It makes more sense that these Bulls of Bashan relate to something spiritual.
Bashan as a place inhabited by the Rephaim or sometimes translated giants.
Deuteronomy 3:11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.
That word giants is rephaim and is translated rephaim or giants in the Old Testament in other places in the King James Version. The last of the Rephaim, the King of Bashan had an iron bed almost 13 feet long and about 5 and half feet wide.
In Deuteronomy 3:13 “with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.” Again that word giants is Rephaim. This was in the time of Joshua (Deuteronomy 3:21).
The fact that these Rephaim inhabited the land may have something to do with the evil association with the bulls of Bashan.
רפה רפא râphâ’ râphâh raw-faw’, raw-faw’
From H7495 in the sense of invigorating; a giant: – giant, Rapha, Rephaim (-s). See also H1051.
רפא râphâ’ raw-faw’
From H7495 in the sense of H7503; properly lax, that is, (figuratively) a ghost (as dead; in plural only): – dead, deceased.
If you do a word search for Rephaim you will find behind it a Hebrew word that Strong’s divides into different definition even though the Hebrew word is the same. If you do a search for that Hebrew word you won’t find every place where it appears. The breaking up of a single Hebrew word into different definitions may be inaccurate with the original meaning of the text.
Below I highlight where this word for Rephaim appears which Strong’s would associate with the H7496 definition but is the same word for Rephaim.
Isaiah 26:13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. 26:14 they are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
Deceased = Rephaim
Job 26:5 Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof.
Dead = Rephaim
Psalms 88:10 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
The first use of the word dead is the Hebrew word H4191 muth which is used 790 times and is clearly used to describe death. Where as the word dead I highlighted is Rephaim or raw-faw’ H7496.
Proverbs 9:18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
Dead = Rephaim
So back to the original verse
Psalms 22:12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
When Jesus Christ was on the cross the bulls of Bashan could very well be talking about the Rephaim Deuteronomy 3:13 states that Bashan is the Land of the Rephaim. There are likely many things that happened that day that people did not see and no one understands.