Valley Of Hinnom

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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

Hinnom, Valley Of (called also ‘valley of the son [  Jeremiah 7:32 ] or children [  2 Kings 23:10 ] of Hinnom,’ and ‘the valley’ [  2 Chronicles 26:9 ,   Nehemiah 2:13;   Nehemiah 2:15;   Nehemiah 3:13 and perhaps   Jeremiah 2:23 ]). It was close to the walls of Jerusalem ‘by the entry of the gate Harsith’ (  Jeremiah 19:2 RV [Note: Revised Version.] ), possibly the Dung-gate. Evidently the Valley-gate opened into it (  Nehemiah 2:13;   Nehemiah 3:13 ). It formed part of the boundary between Judah and Benjamin (  Joshua 15:8;   Joshua 18:18 ). The place acquired an evil repute on account of the idolatrous practices carried on there (  2 Kings 23:10 ,   2 Chronicles 28:3;   2 Chronicles 33:6 ), and on this account Jeremiah (  Jeremiah 7:32;   Jeremiah 19:6 ) announced that it was to receive the name ‘valley of Slaughter.’ Here perpetual fires are said to have been kept burning to consume the rubbish of the city. Such associations with the Valley led afterwards to Ge-hinnom (NT Gehenna ) becoming the type of hell.

The situation of the Valley of Hinnom has been much disputed. Of the three valleys of Jerusalem the Kidron on the E., the TyropÅ“on in the centre, and the Wady er-Rabâbi on the W. each has in turn been identified with it. In favour of the Kidron is the fact that the theological Gehinnom or Arab. [Note: Arabic.] Jahannum of Jewish, Christian, and early Moslem writers is located here; but this was probably a transference of name after the old geographical site was lost, for there are strong reasons (see below) against it. As the TyropÅ“on was incorporated within the city walls before the days of Manasseh, it is practically impossible that it could have been the scene of the sacrifice of children, which must have been outside the city bounds (  2 Kings 23:10 etc.). The chief data are found in   Joshua 15:8;   Joshua 18:16 , where the boundary of Judah and Benjamin is described. If Bir Eyyûb is En-rogel, as certainly is most probable, then the Wady er-Rabâbi , known traditionally as Hinnom, is correctly so designated. Then this Valley of Hinnom is a gai or gorge, but the Valley of Kidron is always described as a nachal (‘wady’). It is, of course, possible that the Valley of Hinnom may have included part of the open land formed by the junction of the three valleys below Siloam; and Topheth may have lain there, as is suggested by some authorities, but there is no necessity to extend the name beyond the limits of the actual gorge. The Wady er-Rabâbi commences as a shallow open valley due W. of the Jaffa gate; near this gate it turns due South for about 1 / 3 of a mile, and then gradually curves to the East. It is this lower part, with its bare rocky scarps, that presents the characters of a gai or gorge. Near where the valley joins the wide Kidron is the traditional site of Akeldama.

E. W. G. Masterman.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [2]

This is often called 'the valley of the son of Hinnom,' but who Hinnom and his son were is unknown.  Joshua 15:8;  Joshua 18:16;  Nehemiah 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.  Jeremiah 7:31,32;  Jeremiah 32:35 . To prevent this Josiah defiled TOPHETH in this valley.  2 Kings 23:10;  2 Chronicles 28:3;  2 Chronicles 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."  Isaiah 30:33 . See HELL.In God's judgements the valley shall become the 'valley of slaughter.'  Jeremiah 19:2-14 .

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

 2 Kings 23:10 Joshua 15:8 2 Kings 23:10 2 Kings 16:3  2 Kings 17:17 2 Chronicles 28:3

The phrase “valley of Hinnom” in Hebrew may be transliterated ge-hinnom. The reputation of the valley was understood by the writers of the New Testament who transliterated the word into Greek as gehenna. That is the word attributed to Jesus as one of the several designations for hell ( Matthew 5:22 ). Because of its ancient association with fiery sacrifices, the valley came to symbolize the place of torment reserved for those who reject God's offer of salvation. See Baal; Gehenna; Hell; Jerusalem; Molech.

Hugh Tobias

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

(See Hell .) "The son of Hinnom" was some ancient hero who encamped there (Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, 172). S.W. and S. of Jerusalem; from 50 to 100 yards wide at the sweep round the S.W. corner of the so-called mount Zion. An aqueduct on nine low arches, 290) yards from the Jaffa gate, crosses the valley, and conveys water from "the pools of Solomon" to the temple mount, below which is "the lower pool." The reservoir, supposed by some to be "the upper Pool," or Gihon, is 700 yards from the Jaffa gate. (See Gihon .) The valley where it runs between the "hill of evil counsel" and the S.W. corner of Jerusalem is pierced with many sepulchral recesses. It opens out into an oblong space, the site of Topher, where now are gardens watered by Siloam, before it meets the valley of Jehoshaphat or Kedron on the S.E. At the E. end of it is a bed of clay worked still by potters, the probable site of "the potters' field," Αceldama .

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [5]

hin´om ( גּי הנּם , gē hinnōm ,   Joshua 15:8;  Joshua 18:16; "valley of the son of Hinnom" (גּי בן הנּם , gē bhen hinnōm ),  Joshua 15:8;  Joshua 18:16;  2 Chronicles 28:3;  2 Chronicles 33:6;  Jeremiah 7:31 f;   Jeremiah 19:2 ,  Jeremiah 19:6;  Jeremiah 32:35; "valley of the children (sons) of Hinnom" (גּי בני הנּם , gē bhenē hinnōm ),  2 Kings 23:10; or simply "the valley," literally, the "hollow" or "ravine" (הגּיא , ha - gay' ),  2 Chronicles 26:9;  Nehemiah 2:13 ,  Nehemiah 2:15;  Nehemiah 3:13;  Jeremiah 31:40 and, perhaps also,   Jeremiah 2:23 (the above references are in the Hebrew text; there are some variations in the Septuagint)): The meaning of "Hinnom" is unknown; the expressions ben Hinnom and benē Hinnom would suggest that it is a proper name; in  Jeremiah 7:32;  Jeremiah 19:6 it is altered by the prophet to "valley of slaughter," and therefore some have thought the original name must have had a pleasing meaning.

1. Bible References and History

It was near the walls of Jerusalem, "by the entry of the gate Harsith" ( Jeremiah 19:2 ); the Valley Gate opened into it ( Nehemiah 2:13;  Nehemiah 3:13 ). The boundary between Judah and Benjamin ran along it ( Joshua 15:8;  Joshua 18:16 ). It was the scene of idolatrous practices in the days of Ahaz ( 2 Chronicles 28:3 ) and of Manasseh, who "made his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom" ( 2 Chronicles 33:6 ), but Josiah in the course of his reforms "defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children (margin "son") of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech" ( 2 Kings 23:10 ). It was on account of these evil practices that Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 7:32;  Jeremiah 19:6 ) announced the change of name. Into this valley dead bodies were probably cast to be consumed by the dogs, as is done in the Wâdy er - Rabâbi today, and fires were here kept burning to consume the rubbish of the city. Such associations led to the Ge-Hinnom (New Testament "Gehenna") becoming the "type of Hell" (Milton, Paradise Lost , i, 405). See Gehenna .

2. Situation

The Valley of Hinnom has been located by different writers in each of the three great valleys of Jerusalem. In favor of the eastern or Kidron valley we have the facts that Eusebius and Jerome ( Onom ) place "Gehennom" under the eastern wall of Jerusalem and the Moslem geographical writers, Muḳaddasi and Nâsir - i - khusran , call the Kidron valley Wâdy Jahamum . The Jewish writer Kimchi also identifies the Valley of Jehoshaphat (i.e. the Kidron) with Hinnom. These ideas are probably due to the identification of the eastern valley, on account of its propinquity to the Temple, as the scene of the last judgment - the "Valley of Jehoshaphat" of   Joel 3:2 - and the consequent transference there of the scene of the punishment of the wicked, Gehenna, after the ancient geographical position of the Valley of Hinnom, had long been lost. In selecting sacred sites, from the 4th Christian century onward, no critical topographical acumen has been displayed until quite modern times. There are three amply sufficient arguments against this view: (1) The Kidron valley is always called a naḥal and not a gay' (see Kidron ); (2) The "Gate of the Gai" clearly did not lie to the East of the city; (3) En-rogel, which lay at the beginning of the Valley of Hinnom and to its East ( Joshua 15:8;  Joshua 18:16 ) cannot be the "Virgin's fount," the ancient Gihon ( 2 Samuel 17:17 ). See Gihon .

Several distinguished modern writers have sought to identify the Tyropoeon Valley ( el Wād ) with Hinnom, but as the Tyropoeon was incorporated within the city walls before the days of Manasseh (see Jerusalem ), it is practically impossible that it could have been the scene of the sacrifice of children - a ritual which must have occurred beyond the city's limits ( 2 Kings 23:10 , etc.).

3. Wady Er-Rababi

The clearest geographical fact is found in  Joshua 15:8;  Joshua 18:16 , where we find that the boundary of Judah and Benjamin passed from En-rogel "by the valley of the son of Hinnom"; if the modern Bı̂r Eyyûb is En-rogel, as is certainly most probable, then the Wâdy er - Rabâbi , known traditionally as Hinnom, is correctly so called. It is possible that the name extended to the wide open land formed by the junction of the three valleys; indeed, some would place Tophet at this spot, but there is no need to extend the name beyond the actual gorge. The Wâdy er - Rabâbi commences in a shallow, open valley due West of the Jaffa Gate, in the center of which lies the Birket Mamilla  ; near the Jaffa Gate it turns South for about 1/3 of a mile, its course being dammed here to form a large pool, the Birket es Sultân . Below this it gradually curves to the East and rapidly descends between sides of bare rocky scarps, much steeper in ancient times. A little before the valley joins the wide Kidron valley lies the traditional site of Akeldama (which see).