That is, the valley of Hinnom, or of the son of Hinnom, a narrow valley just south of Jerusalem, running up westward from the valley of the Cedron, and passing into the valley of the Cedron, and passing into the valley of Gihon, which follows the base of mount Zion north, up to the Joppa gate. It was well watered, and in ancient times most verdant and delightfully shaded with trees. The boundary line Judah and Benjamin passed through it, Jos 15:8; 18:6; Ne 11:30. In its lowest part, towards the southeast, and near the king's gardens and Siloam, the idolatrous Israelties made their children pass through the fire to Moloch, 1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 16:3; Jer 32:35. See MOLOCH. The place of these abominable sacrifices is also called Tophet, Isa 30:33; Jer 7:31. According to some, this name is derived from the Hebrew toph, drum, because drums are supposed to have been used to drown the cries of the victims. But this opinion rests only on conjecture. King Josiah defiled the place, 2Ki 23:10, probably by making it a depository of filth. It has been a common opinion that the later Jews, in imitation of Josiah, threw into this place all manner of filth, as well as the carcasses of animals and the dead bodies of malefactors; and that with reference to either the baleful idolatrous fires in the worship of Moloch, or to the fires afterwards maintained there to consume the mass of impurities that might otherwise have occasioned a pestilence, came the figurative use of the fires of Gehenna, that is, valley of Hinnom, to denote the eternal fire in which wicked men and fallen spirits shall be punished. This supposition, however, rests upon uncertain grounds.
It seems clear that the later Jews borrowed their usage of the fire of the valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) to represent the punishment of the wicked in the future world directly from two passages of Isaiah: "For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it," Isa 66:24. These they correctly interpreted figuratively, as representing the vengeance, which God would take on his enemies and the oppressors of his people. That the prophet, in this terrible imagery, alluded to any fire kept perpetually burning in the valley of Hinnom, has not been clearly proved. But however this may be, it is certain that the Jews transferred the name Gehenna, that is the valley of Hinnom, to the place in which devils and wicked men are to be punished in eternal fire, and which in the New Testament is always translated hell,
The rocks on the south side of Hinnom are full of gaping apertures, the mouths of tombs once filled with the dead, but now vacant.
a deep, narrow ravine separating Mount Zion from the so-called "Hill of Evil Counsel." It took its name from "some ancient hero, the son of Hinnom." It is first mentioned in JOS 15:8. It had been the place where the idolatrous Jews burned their children alive to Moloch and Baal. A particular part of the valley was called Tophet, or the "fire-stove," where the children were burned. After the Exile, in order to show their abhorrence of the locality, the Jews made this valley the receptacle of the offal of the city, for the destruction of which a fire was, as is supposed, kept constantly burning there.
The Jews associated with this valley these two ideas, (1) that of the sufferings of the victims that had there been sacrificed; and (2) that of filth and corruption. It became thus to the popular mind a symbol of the abode of the wicked hereafter. It came to signify hell as the place of the wicked. "It might be shown by infinite examples that the Jews expressed hell, or the place of the damned, by this word. The word Gehenna [the Greek contraction of Hinnom] was never used in the time of Christ in any other sense than to denote the place of future punishment." About this fact there can be no question. In this sense the word is used eleven times in our Lord's discourses (Mt 23:33; Lu 12:5; Mt 5:22, etc.).
Illustration: Valley of Hinnom
Hin'nom Valley of.
This is often called 'the valley of the son of Hinnom,' but who Hinnom and his son were is unknown. Jos 15:8; 18:16; Ne 11:30. The valley running from east to west, on the south of Jerusalem, now bears the above name. In some part of this, supposed to be the east end, children were passed through the fire to false gods. Jer 7:31-32; 32:35. To prevent this Josiah defiled TOPHETH in this valley. 2Ki 23:10; 2Ch 28:3; 33:6. The prophet Isaiah gives the key to its being associated in the N.T. (under the name of GEHENNA) with eternal punishment: "Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." Isa 30:33. See HELL. In God's judgements the valley shall become the 'valley of slaughter.' Jer 19:2-14.
(lamentation), Valley of, otherwise called "the valley of the son" or "children of Hinnom," a deep and narrow ravine, with steep, rocky sides, to the south and west of Jerusalem, separating Mount Zion to the north from the "hill of evil counsel," and the sloping rocky plateau of the "plain of Rephaim" to the south. The earliest mention of the valley of Hinnom is in
where the boundary line between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin is described as passing along the bed of the ravine. On the southern brow, overlooking the valley at its eastern extremity Solomon erected high places for Molech,
whose horrid rites were revived from time to time in the same vicinity the later idolatrous kings. Ahaz and Manasseh made their children "pass through the fire" in this valley,
and the fiendish custom of infant sacrifice to the fire-gods seems to have been kept up in Tophet, which was another name for this place. To put an end to these abominations the place was polluted by Josiah, who renders it ceremonially unclean by spreading over it human bones and other corruptions,
from which time it appears to have become the common cesspool of the city, into which sewage was conducted, to be carried off by the waters of the Kidron. From its ceremonial defilement, and from the detested and abominable fire of Molech, if not from the supposed ever-burning funeral piles, the later Jews applied the name of this valley --Ge Hinnom, Gehenna (land of Hinnom)--to denote the place of eternal torment. In this sense the word is used by our Lord.
HINNOM, VALLEY OF, called also Tophet, and by the Greeks Gehenna, a small valley on the south-east of Jerusalem, at the foot of Mount Zion, where the Canaanites, and afterward the Israelites, sacrificed their children to the idol Moloch, by making them "pass through the fire," or burning them. To drown the shrieks of the victims thus inhumanly sacrificed, musical instruments, called in the Hebrew tuph, tympana or timbrels, were played; whence the spot derived the name of Tophet. Ge Hinnom, or "The Valley of Hinnom," from which the Greeks framed their Gehenna, is sometimes used in Scripture to denote hell or hell fire. See HELL.