NET Glossary: a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew words ge hinnom ("Valley of Hinnom"), the valley along the south side of Jerusalem which in Old Testament times was used for human sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (Jer 7:31; 19:5-6; 32:35), and came to be used as a place where human excrement and rubbish were disposed of and burned; in the intertestamental period, it came to be used symbolically as the place of divine punishment, i.e., hell
(originally Ge bene Hinnom; i.e., "the valley of the sons of Hinnom"), a deep, narrow glen to the south of Jerusalem, where the idolatrous Jews offered their children in sacrifice to Molech (2 Chr. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 7:31; 19:2-6). This valley afterwards became the common receptacle for all the refuse of the city. Here the dead bodies of animals and of criminals, and all kinds of filth, were cast and consumed by fire kept always burning. It thus in process of time became the image of the place of everlasting destruction. In this sense it is used by our Lord in Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5. In these passages, and also in James 3:6, the word is uniformly rendered "hell," the Revised Version placing "Gehenna" in the margin. (See HELL; HINNOM.)
GEHENNA - ga-hen'-a (geenna (see Grimm-Thayer, under the word)): Gehenna is a transliteration from the Aramaic form of the Hebrew ge-hinnom, "valley of Hinnom." This latter form, however, is rare in the Old Testament, the prevailing name being "the valley of the son of Hinnom." Septuagint usually translates; where it transliterates the form is different from Gehenna and varies. In the New Testament the correct form is Gee'nna with the accent on the penult, not Ge'enna. There is no reason to assume that Hinnom is other than a plain patronymic, although it has been proposed to find in it the corruption of the name of an idol (EB, II, 2071). In the New Testament (King James Version margin) Gehenna occurs in Mt 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33; Mk 9:43,15,47; Lk 12:5; Jas 3:6. In all of these it designates the place of eternal punishment of the wicked, generally in connection with the final judgment. It is associated with fire as the source of torment. Both body and soul are cast into it. This is not to be explained on the principle that the New Testament speaks metaphorically of the state after death in terms of the body; it presupposes the resurrection. In the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) Gehenna is rendered by "hell" (see ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT). That "the valley of Hinnom" became the technical designation for the place of final punishment was due to two causes. In the first place the valley had been the seat of the idolatrous worship of Molech, to whom children were immolated by fire (2 Ch 28:3; 33:6). Secondly, on account of these practices the place was defiled by King Josiah (2 Ki 23:10), and became in consequence associated in prophecy with the judgment to be visited upon the people (Jer 7:32). The fact, also, that the city's offal was collected there may have helped to render the name synonymous with extreme defilement. Topographically the identification of the valley of Hinnom is still uncertain. It has been in turn identified with the depression on the western and southern side of Jerusalem, with the middle valley, and with the valley to the E. Compare EB, II, 2071; DCG, I, 636; RE3, VI.