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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Γεέννα, A.V. invariably "hell"), the Greek representative of גֵּיאּהנֹּם Joshua 15:8; Neb. xi) 30 (rendered by the Sept. Γαιέννα , Joshua 18:16); more fully, גֵּי בֶןאּהַנֹּם or בְנֵיאּה (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 19:2), the "valley of Hinnone," or "of the son" or children of Hinnom," a deep narrow glen to the sosth of Jerusalem, where, after the introduction of the worship of the fire-gods by Ahaz, the idolatrous Jews offered their children to Moloch (2 Chronicles 28:3; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:2-6). In consequence of these abominations the valley was polluted by Josiah (2 Kings 23:10); subsequently to which it became the common lay-stall of the city, where the dead bodies of criminals, and the carcasses of animals, and every other kind of filth was cast, and, according to late and some, what questionable authorities, the combustible portion consumed with fire. From the depth asnd narrowness of thee gorge, and, perhaps, its ever-burning fires, as well as from its being the receptacle of all sorts of putrefying matter, and all that defiled the holy city, it became in later times the image of the place of everlasting punishnent, "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched;" in which the Talmudists placed the mouth of bell: "There are two palm-trees in the valley of Hinnom, between which a smoke ariseth ... and this is the door of Gehenna" (Talmud, quoted by Barclay, City of Great King, page 90; Lightfoot, Centur. Chorograph. Matt. proem. 2:200). The Mohammedans still use the term as the current designation of the infernal regions (see D'Herbelot, Bibliothique Orient. s.v. Gehennen). In this sense the word is used by our Lord, Matthew 5:29-30; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 23:15; Matthew 23:33; Mark 9:43; Luke 12:5; and with the addition τοῦ πυρός, Matthew 5:22; Matthew 18:9; Mark 9:47; and by James 3:6. (See HINNOM, VALLEY OF); (See TOPHET); (See HELL).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Gehenna'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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