Holman Bible Dictionary
Hinnom, Valley of
(hihn' nahm) Place name of uncertain meaning; also called the valley of the son(s) of Hinnom. The valley lies in close proximity to Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:10 ), just south of the ancient city (Joshua 15:8 ). The valley had a somewhat unglamorous history during the Old Testament period. The worshipers of the pagan deities, Baal and Molech, practiced child sacrifice in the valley of Hinnom (2 Kings 23:10 ). The first specific mention of human sacrifice in Israel is in 2 Kings 16:3 and in Judah is in 2 Kings 17:17 . The parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 28:3 indicates that the scene of the abomination was the valley of Hinnom.
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.
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