Hin'nom (Heb. Hinnom', הַנֹּם, for חַנֹּם, gracious, or for הַינֹם, abundant), or, rather, BEN-HINNOM (בֶּןאּהַנֹּם, son of Hinnom; Sept. υἱὸς Ε᾿ννόμ; also in the plur. "sons of Hinnom"), an unknown person (prob. one of the original Jebusites), whose name (perh. as resident) was given to the valley ("Valley of Hinnom," otherwise called "the valley of the son" or "children of Hinnom," הַנֹּם גֵּיאּ, or גֵּיִבֶןאּה, or גֵּיאּבנֵיאּה, variously rendered by the Sept. φάραγξ Ε᾿ννόμ, or υἱοῦ Ε᾿ννόμ, or Γαιέννα, Jos 18:16; ἐν γῇ Βενέννομ, 2Ch 28:3; 2Ch 33:6; τὸ πολυάνδριον υἱῶν υἱῶν τῶν τέκνων αὐτῶν., Jer 19:2,6), a deep and narrow ravine, with steep, rocky sides, on the southerly side of Jerusalem, separating Mount Zion on the south from the "Hill of Evil Counsel," and the sloping, rocky plateau of the "plain of Rephaim" on the north, taking its name, according to Stanley, from "some ancient hero, the son of Hinnom," having encamped in it (S. and Pal. p. 172). The earliest mention of the valley of Hinnom in the sacred writings is in Jos 15:8, where the boundary line between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin is described with minute topographical accuracy, as passing along the-bed of the ravine from En- Rogel to the top of the mountain "that lieth before the valley westward," at the north end of the plain of Rephaim. It is described in Jos 18:16 as on the south side of Jebusi, that is, Mount Zion, on which the ancient stronghold of the Jebusites stood. The valley obtained wide notoriety as the scene of the barbarous rites of Molech and Chemosh, first introduced by Solomon, who built" a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem (Olivet); and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon" (1Ki 11:7). The inhuman rites were continued by the idolatrous kings of Judah. A monster idol of brass was erected in the opening of the valley, facing the steep side of Olivet, and there the infatuated inhabitants of Jerusalem burnt their sons and their daughters in the fire-casting them, it is said, — into the red-hot arms of the idol (Jer 7:31; 2Ch 28:3; 2Ch 33:6). No spot could have been selected near the Holy City so well fitted for the perpetration of these horrid cruelties: the deep, retired glen, shut in by rugged cliffs, and the bleak mountain sides rising over all. The worship of Molech was abolished by Josiah, and the place dedicated to him was defiled by being strewn with human bones: "He defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech and he brake in pieces the images, and cut down their groves, and filled their places with the bones of men" (2Ki 23:10,14). The place thus became ceremonially unclean; no Jew could enter it (2Ch 34:4-5). From this time it appears to have become the common cesspool of the city, into which its sewage was conducted, to be carried off by the waters of the Kidron, as well as a laystall, where all its solid filth was collected. It was afterwards a public cemetery, SEE ACELDAMTA, and the traveller who now stands in the bottom of this valley and looks up at the multitude of tombs in the cliffs above and around him, thickly dotting the side of Olivet, will be able to see with what wondrous accuracy the curse of Jeremiah has been fulfilled: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor The Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but The Valley of Slaughter; for they shall bury in Tophet till there be no more place" (7, 32). We learn from Josephus that the last terrible struggle between the Jews and Romans took place here (War, 6, 8, 5); and here, too, it appears the dead bodies were thrown out of the city after the siege (5, 12, 7). The inhuman rites anciently practiced in the valley of Hinnom caused the latter Jews to regard it with feelings of horror and detestation. The Rabbins suppose it to be the gate of hell (Lightfoot, Opera, 2, 286); and the Jews applied the name given to the valley in some passages of the Sept. Γέεννα, to the place of eternal torment. Hence we find in Mt 5; Mt 22, "Whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός — the Gehenna of fire." The word is formed from the Hebrew גיא הנם, "Valley of Hinnom." SEE HELL. The valley was also called TOPHETH (2
Kings 23:10; Isa 30:33; Jer 7:31), either from חפת, "spittle," and it would hence mean "a place to spit upon," or from תפתה, "place of burning." SEE TOPHET.
Most commentators follow Buxtorf, Lightfoot, and others, in asserting that perpetual fires were kept up for the consumption of bodies of criminals, carcases of animals, and whatever else was combustible; but the rabbinical authorities usually brought forward in support of this idea appear insufficient, and Robinson declares (1, 274) that "there is no evidence of any other fires than those of Molech having been kept up in this valley," referring to Rosenmuller, Biblisch. Geogr. II, 1, 156, 164. For the more ordinary view, see Hengstenberg, Christol. 2, 454; 4,41; Keil on Kings 2, 147, Clark's edit.; and: comp. Isa 30:33; Isa 66:24. SEE MOLOCH. It is called, Jer 2:23, "the valley," κατ ἐξοχήν, and perhaps "the valley of dead bodies," 21:40, and "the valley of vision," Isa 22:1,5 (Stanley, S. and P. p. 172, 482). The name by which it is now known is (in ignorance of the meaning of the initial syllable) Wady Jehennam, or Wady er-Rubeb (Williams, Holy City, 1, 56, Supplem.), though in Mohammedan traditions the name Gehenna is applied to the Valley of Kedron (Ibn Batutah, 12, 4; Stanley, ut sup.). SEE GEHENNA.
The valley commences in a broad sloping basin to the west of the city, south of the Jaffa road (extending nearly to the brow of the great wady on the west), in the center of which, 700 yards from the Jaffa gate, is the large reservoir, supposed to be the "upper pool," or "Gihon", SEE GIHON (Isa 7:3; Isa 36:2; 2Ch 32:30), now known as Birket el- Mamilla. After running about; three quarters of a mile east by south, the valley takes a sudden bend to the south opposite the Jaffa gate, but in less than another three quarters of a mile it encounters; a rocky hill-side which forces it again in an easterly direction, sweeping round the precipitous south-west corner of Mount Zion almost at a right angle. In this part of its course the valley is from 50 to 100 yards broad, the bottom everywhere covered with small stones, and cultivated. At 290 yards from the Jaffa gate it is crossed by an aqueduct on nine very low arches, conveying water from the "pools of Solomon" to the Temple Mount, a short distance below which is the "lower pool" (Isa 22:9), Birket es-Sultan. From this point the ravine narrows and deepens, and descends with great rapidity between broken cliffs, rising in successive terraces, honeycombed with innumerable sepulchral recesses, forming the northern face of the "Hill of Evil Counsel," to the south, and the steep shelving, but not precipitous southern slopes of Mount Zion, which rise to about the height of 150 feet to the north. The bed of the valley is planted with olives and other fruit- trees, and, when practicable, is cultivated. About 400 yards from the south- west angle of Mount Zion the valley contracts still more, becomes quite narrow and stony, and descends with much greater rapidity towards the "valley of Jehoshaphat," or "of the brook Kidron," before joining which it opens out again, forming an oblong plot, the site of Tophet, devoted to gardens irrigated by the waters of Siloam. Towards the eastern extremity of the valley is the traditional site of "Aceldama," authenticated by a bed of white clay still worked by potters (Williams, Holy City, 2, 495), opposite to which, where the cliff is thirty or forty feet high, the tree on which Judas hanged himself was located during the Frankish kingdom. (Barclay, City of Great King, p. 208). Not far from Aceldama is. a conspicuously situated tomb with a Doric pediment, sometimes known as the "whited sepulcher," near which a large sepulchral recess, with a Doric portal hewn in. the native rock, is known as the "Latibulum anostolo-rum," where the Twelve are said to have concealed themselves during the time between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The tombs continue quite down to the corner of the mountain, where it bends off to the south along the valley of Jehoshaphat. None of the sepulchral recesses in the vicinity of Jerusalem are so well preserved; most of these are very old-small gloomy caves, with narrow, rock-hewn doorways. SEE JERUSALEM.
Robinson places "the valley gate," Ne 2:13,15; 2Ch 26:9, at the north-west corner of Mount Zion, in the upper part of this valley (Researches, 1, 220, 239, 274, 320, 353; Williams, Holy City, 1, Suppl. 56; 2, 495; Barclay, City of Great Kiny, p. 205, 208); but this part was rather called the Valley of Gihon. SEE GIHON.