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Catholic Dictionary


GEHENNA (Hinnom)


A valley southwest of Jerusalem which developed an evil reputation among Jews because of idolatrous and barbarous events that took place there during the reigns of Ahaz and Manasseh (II Chronicles 28:1-4, 33:1-6). Jeremiah deplored the superstitious excesses and renamed it the Valley of Slaughter (Jeremiah 7:32). Yahweh warned the inhabitants it would become a "city of desolation" (Jeremiah 19:8). In the New Testament the name in Hebrew acquired the meaning of Hell. Jesus used it on numerous occasions, warning sinners they would be condemned to Hell if they continued their sinful ways (Matthew 5:22, 5:29; Mark 9:43).