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seventh a child. All these were burned together, by heating the statue on the inside.”
In 2 Kings xxiii. 10, we are told, that at the time of Josiah’s reformation, "he defiled tophet which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Moloch.” Concerning this Prof. Stuart says, p. 141" after these sacrifices had ceased, the place was desecrated, and made one of loathing and horror. The pious king Josiah caused it to be polluted, 2 Kings xxiii. 10, i. e. he caused to be carried there the filth of the city of Jerusalem. It would seem that the custom of desecrating this place, thus happily begun, was continued in after
ages down to the period when our Savior was on earth. Perpetual fires was kept up, in order to consume the offal which was deposited there, and as the same offal would breed worms, (for so all putrefying meat of course does, hence came the expression, “ where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Such is the origin of the phraseology, in Mark ix. 42-47, by Mr. Stuart's own showing, which will be considered below. " The worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched” was not in a future state, but in the valley of Hinnom. But I find gia enm, or the valley of Hinnom, used in the Old Testament.
2d, Symbolically. By comparing the texts referred to above, with their contexts, it will be seen, that on account of the crimes committed in the valley of Hinnom, God threatened to bring on the Jewish nation severe punishment, as the valley of Hinnom, or tophet, was the place where their horrid abominations had been committed, so it is used as a symbol or figure, to describe their punishment. This is done by Jeremiah chap. xix. and chap. vii. to the end, which I shall now quote.
“ Thus saith the Lord, go and get a potter's earthen bottle, and take of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests; and go forth unto the valley of
the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee; and say, Hear
the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem ; thus saith the Lord of hosts; the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which, whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle. Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; they have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind; therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that this place shall no more be called tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter. And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives; and their carcasses will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth. And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and hiss because of all the plagues thereof. And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the seige and straightness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them. Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee, and shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again : and they shall bury them in tophet, till there be no place to bury. Thus will I do unto this place, saith the Lord, and to the inhabitants thereof, and even make this city as to
phet: and the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods. Then came Jeremiah from tophet, whither the Lord had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the Lord's house; and said to all the people, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words. " Chap. vii. ver. 29–34.—" Cut off thine hair, o Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the Lord hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath. For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the Lord: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it. And they have built the high places of tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire ; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart. Therefore, 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 place. And the carcasses of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away. Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate."
No one can doubt, after reading these two quotations, that the Old Testament writers made the valley of Hinnom or tophet, an emblem of punishment, and of future punishment, but not of future eternal punishment. It
is equally evident, that they made it an emblem of future temporal punishment to the Jews as a nation. Not a word is dropped, that this punishment was to be in a future state of existence. No; it is a prediction of miseries to be endured by the Jews, for their sins. It is not mentioned as a punishment for wicked men generally, or for Jews and Gentiles indiscriminately. No; the Jews, as a nation, were to suffer this punishment. In this prediction they are reminded of the crimes they had committed against the Lord, in the valley of Hinnom, and it is used as an emblem of the punishment he was to inflict upon them. This is very apparent from the following verses in the above quoted passages, Jer. chap. vii
. 20, 21, and xix. 4, 5. No man, we think, can read these predictions of the prophet, without recognizing, that our Lord in the following texts, referred to the same punishment. “ That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except these days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled," Matth. xxiii. 35, and xxiv. 21, 22. Luke xxi. 22. Yes, the days referred to, were indeed the days of vengeance, and the things which God had long predicted, were fulfilled, and the above quoted predictions of Jeremiah, were surely of the number. But, that we may see more particularly, what Jeremiah made Gehenna or tophet an emblem of, it is necessary to point this out by going over the above predictions.
1st, The prophet predicts, that the valley of Hinnom, should be to the Jews the valley of slaughter, and that they should bury in tophet till there should be no place to bury. In proof of its exact fulfilment, I quote
the following from Macknight on Math. chap. xxiv. He says :-“besides, in the progress of the siege, the number of the dead, and the stench arising from their unburied carcasses, must have infected the air, and occasioned pestilence. For Josephus tells us that there were no less than six hundred thousand dead bodies carried out of the city, and suffered to lie unburied.” It should be recollected, that the valley of Hinnom was in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem.-We see then this part of Jeremiah's prediction literally and minutely fulfilled.
2d, Jeremiah further predicts, “that their carcasses also should be meat for the fowls of heaven and for the beasts of the earth." If the fowls of the air, and beasts of the field, did not feed on their carcasses, it was not for want of opportunity, for six hundred thousand of their carcasses lay unburied. This part of the prediction was also literally fulfilled.
3d, Jeremiah also predicts, that "in the straitness of the siege, they should eat the flesh of their children." This was also fulfilled in the siege of Jerusalem, as Josephus, their historian, testifies.
4th, He further predicts, that "their land should be desolate." This it soon became after the destruction of the city and temple, and in this state, in a great measure, it remains until this day.
5th, Again, the prophet predicts, " that their city should be as tophet.” We have seen, that he said before, “the valley of Hinnom should be to them the valley of slaughter, and that they should bury in tophet till there should be no place to bury.” It is evident, from the prophet's prediction, that the city of Jerusalem should be as tophet or like unto tophet. Tophet, is used as an emblem, to describe the misery in which it was to be involved by the judgments of God. And why, it may be asked, was tophet made an emblem of those temporal miseries, rather than any thing else?