03 Jun 2016 349 views
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This picture was also taken from the rooftop on Mount Zion, where I stood for Wednesday's picture of a church tower. This is in the opposite direction. I am outside of the Old City, about 1 km to the south.


The highest hill/mountain, with the high rise buildings, is part of Bethlehem. That is on the other side of the wall. I featured the wall in this posting. The wall runs from on top of the hill and follows the ridge to the left until it disappears behind the ridge. Note, that on the Jerusalem side, there are not so many buildings to throw Molotovs at. Like most of the Israeli hills and mountains, the hillside in its natural state is scattered with limestone.


Between where I stand and the nearest buildings, is the Valley of Hinnom - which goes to the right and is split by the greenish hill in the right hand bottom of the picture. The part in the middle joins the Kidron Valley (featured in this picture) to the south. Far down the valley in the linked picture. The Old City of Jerusalem is to the left out of the picture.


This Hinnom Valley is home to Gehenna of the olden days. It is in this valley where some Judean kings, like Ahaz, who decided to worship Baal and Molech, sacrificed some of their children. Naturally, many members of the Judean tribe followed this example. When King Josias, who turned the tribe back to God, cleaned out the Mount of Corruption, he also cleaned out the Hinnom valley. (2Ki 23:10  "And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no one might burn his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech.")

At some stage the part of the Hinnom close to the city of Jerusalem back then, became the rubbish dump of the city. Parts of the dump were continuously smouldering hotly. Apart from the rubbish burnt in the process, the bodies of executed criminals were also dumped here to burn with the rubbish. The name of the rubbish dump was Gehenna. Gehenna was held forth at the time by the Jews to their children, that Gehenna is the destination of serious transgressors. At some stage in the Bible, Gehenna got translated as 'hell'. The place where the wicked will burn.


Jesus refers to Gehenna a number of times. Two such verses are: Mat 18:9: "It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than with two eyes to be thrown into the Gehenna." and also Mat 23:33, when he addressed the Pharisees: "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you to escape the sentence of Gehenna?" In most translations of these verses, the source text name of Gehenna was replaced with "hell". Makes you think about hell, doesn't it?


And now, people have built their houses in this area, since the rubbish dump was cleared out, long ago.


Enjoy your weekend far from Gehenna.



comments (13)

  • Ray
  • United States
  • 3 Jun 2016, 04:20
I imagine the real estate agents here would have some challenges to move their stock, Louis.
Louis: New country thinking vs old country thinking. I wouldn't like to live in an area with such a sordid history. In a previous posting I indicated that people use tombs as ready building material - just a different way of thinking and agents probably don't have challenges from that aspect.
I really love this view, Louis! Very nice composition...
Thanks, again - for all the history!
Louis: Thank you Elizabeth. 6,000 years of history and a lot of it is known.
Superbe point de vue.
Louis: Merci pour le commentaire, MArtine
Quite impressive Ray! Thank you for the history words.
Louis: I will pass the message on to Ray ... smile
I LOVE how the old texts are given more meaning and context when you understand what was going on historically AND culturally at the time, Louis. This makes for good Bible translation and interpretation.
Louis: It does that, Ginnie. In some areas of knowledge, new perspectives grow - for me at least.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 3 Jun 2016, 07:09
I don't think I would like to live in a place that was once the original Hell Louis. Fascinating stuff indeed..
Louis: My feelings exactly, but a lot of people there don't mind at all.
There are some housing estates in this country that could be described as Hell. Interesting how the concept of Hell began
Louis: That is interesting indeed and misconceptions about 'hell' are rife, even in churches. Smokey Mountain in Manila, operated for more than 40 years, consisting of over two million metric tons of waste. The flammable substances on decomposing waste led to numerous fires which has resulted in many deaths. The only difference is maybe that the authorities didn't discard criminal bodies at Smokey Mountain, but for the rest - there are many similarities with Gehenna - even that low cost housing is now being built there.
I am so glad I live in heaven. YOU have a good weekend too.
Louis: I attende two of my grandchildren's birthday parties - so it was good so far, MAry smile
A fascinating narrative Louis, it really helps one imagine the olden times in a modern surrounding.
Louis: Thank you Brian - the visit tend to make the Bible a lot more colourful and understandable.
this is a sprawling place from this point of view and what a history, Louis!
Louis: I agree, Ayush.
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 4 Jun 2016, 07:01
You must have come home very knowledgeable after this holiday, Louis
Louis: I have said to someone that the history in the Bible has done a technicolour transformation for me. On the geopolitical side, my understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian/Muslim/Middle East situation has grown in leaps and bounds. When Israel hit the news, the item has a lot more meaning.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 4 Jun 2016, 07:05
What an impressive view, a lot of history and to see it with your own eyes... I think you had a remarkable holiday.
Louis: Getting to understand how events (historical and current) relate to each other, is probably the main take-away from the holiday. We even had a great time while we were there smile
Sorry about that Louis but senility is just round the corner...
Louis: Not a problem at all. By now, I believe we all have made that mistake.

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