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Topheth

Topheth,

and once Tophet (place of burning ), was in the southeast extremity of the "valley of the son of Hinnom," ( Jeremiah 7:31 ) which is "by the entry of the east gate." ( Jeremiah 19:2 ) The locality of Hinnom is to have been elsewhere. [HINNOM] It seems also to have been part of the kings gardens, and watered by Siloam, perhaps a little to the south of the present Birket el-Hamra . The name Tophet occurs only in the Old Testament. ( 2 Kings 23:10 ; Isaiah 30:33 ; Jeremiah 7:31 Jeremiah 7:32 ; Jeremiah 19:6 Jeremiah 19:11 Jeremiah 19:12 Jeremiah 19:13 Jeremiah 19:14 ) The New does not refer to it, nor the Apocrypha. Tophet has been variously translated. The most natural meaning seems that suggested by the occurrence of the word in two consecutive verses, in one of which it is a tabret and in the other Tophet. ( Isaiah 30:32 Isaiah 30:37 ) The Hebrew words are nearly identical; and Tophet war probably the kings "music-grove" or garden, denoting originally nothing evil or hateful. Certainly there is no proof that it took its name from the beaten to drown the cries of the burning victims that passed through the fire to Molech. Afterward it was defiled by idols and polluted by the sacrifices of Baal and the fires of Molech. Then it became the place of abomination, the very gate or pit of hell. The pious kings defiled it and threw down its altars and high places, pouring into it all the filth of the city, till it became the "abhorrence" of Jerusalem.


Bibliography Information

Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Topheth,'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.

TOPHETH

to'-feth (ha-topheth, etymology uncertain; the most probable is its connection with a root meaning "burning"--the "place of burning"; the King James Version, Tophet, except in 2 Kings 23:10):

The references are to such a place: "They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire" (Jeremiah 7:31). On account of this abomination Topheth and the Valley of Hinnom should be called "The valley of Slaughter: for they shall bury in Topheth, till there be no place to bury," the Revised Version margin "because there shall be no place else" (Jeremiah 7:32); see also Jeremiah 19:6,12,13,14. Josiah is said to have "defiled Topheth" as part of his great religious reforms (2 Kings 23:10). The site of this shameful place would seem to have been either at the lower end of the Valley of Hinnom (see HINNOM, VALLEY OF), near where Akeldama is now pointed out, or in the open ground where this valley joins the Kidron.

E. W. G. Masterman


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'TOPHETH'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.