GEHINNOM (Heb. גֵּי בֶן־הִנֹּם, גֵּי בְנֵי הִנֹּם, גֵּיא בֶן־הִנֹּם, גֵּיא הִנֹּם; Gr. Γέεννα; "Valley of Ben-Hinnom, Valley of [the Son (s) of] Hinnom," Gehenna), a valley south of Jerusalem on one of the borders between the territories of Judah and Benjamin, between the Valley of *Rephaim and *En-Rogel (Josh. 15:8; 18:16). It is identified with Wadi er-Rababi.
During the time of the Monarchy, Gehinnom, at a place called Topheth, was the site of a cult which involved the burning of children (II Kings 23:10; Jer. 7:31; 32:35 et al.; see *Moloch). Jeremiah repeatedly condemned this cult and predicted that on its account Topheth and the Valley of the Son of Hinnom would be called the Valley of the "Slaughter" (Jer. 19:5–6).
In Judaism the name Gehinnom is generally used as an appellation of the place of torment reserved for the wicked after death. The New Testament used the Greek form Gehenna in the same sense.
D. Watson, in: ABD, 2:926–28.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.