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HELL, LITERALLY


Now the word for "hell" is interesting. According to William Barclay, it literally referred to the Valley of Hinnom, to the South West of Jerusalem. William Barclay says "It was notorious as the place where Ahaz had introduced into Israel the fire worship of the heathen god Molech, to whom little children were burned in the fire. ... (2 Chronicles 28:3). Josiah, the reforming king, had stamped out that worship and had ordered that the valley should be forever after an accursed place. ...(2 Kings 23:10). In consequence of this, the Valley of Hinnom became the place where the refuse of Jesusalem was cast out and destroyed. It was a kind of public incinerator. Always the fire smouldered in it, and a pall of thick smoke lay over it, ... So Gehennah, the Valley of Hinnom, became identified in people’s minds with all that was accursed and filthy, the place where useless and evil things were destroyed. That is why it became a synonym for the place of God’s destroying power, for hell.


(Source: The Daily Study Bible p. 141)

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