A religious significance has been applied to the fact that there are three valleys which comprise the city of Jerusalem’s geography
- the Valley of Ben Hinnom,
- Tyropoeon Valley, and
- Kidron Valley
and that these valleys converge to also form the shape of the letter shin, and that the Temple in Jerusalem is located where the dagesh (horizontal line) is.
This is seen as a fulfillment of passages such as Deuteronomy 16:2 that instructs Jews to celebrate the Pasach at “the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name” (NIV).
I’m not usually impressed by co-incidences… but on further investigation into the valleys which each have a name and meaning and then suddenly I wondered if in fact there is something else going on here? :)
The meaning of the valleys is interesting.
- You can read more about the meaning of the Valley Kidron here. The word comes from mourning or darkness.
- It might or might not be meaningful that the “Tyropoeon Valley” separated Mount Moriah from Mount Zion and emptied into the valley of Hinnom.
- Hinnom means Gehenna which is usually translated as “hell”
What I find interesting is that the two valleys on both sides are mourning/darkness and hell on the other side… but in between are Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. That intrigues me.
Perhaps God really has left a sign that this city has His Name on it?
May the God who has caused his name to dwell - Ezra 6:12
So… I made a very rough combination of the shin symbol and overlaid it on top of this Wikipedia map (which I rotated around) and yes it overlays remarkably closely!
If you wanted to do the same you could use this topographical map, rotate it and then overlay it with shin (making the background of the shin letter transparent).
or use this one
But is that the REAL Valley of Hinnom?
As I wrote above, the central valley “empties” (if it still could fill with rain water and run downhill) into the Hinnom Valley (represnting hell).
But during my investigations I found that there is another 4th valley and I wondered why I can see it on topographical maps but I cant find it on maps with the names of the valleys?
It turns out that this valley was filled in with refuse and therefore mostly ignored. This person suggests that this is the real Hinnom Valley and that means the location of the ancient city is in a different location to where people think it is.
The author writes
The Tyropoeon valley itself must be the Valley of the Son of Hinnom,
where the idolaters of Jerusalem burnt their children in the fire to Moloch.
It must be in the southern cliff of this valley that the tombs of the kings are situated;
the reason why they have never yet been found being that they are buried under the rubbish with which the valley is filled.
Among the rubbish must be the remains of the city which was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, and whose ruins were flung into the gorge below.
To me this makes a lot of sense.
Hinnom, or Gehenna, was a place for trash and a place of the dead… and this valley was literally filled with trash to the point that it was overlooked by map makers.
It also makes sense that the place for dumping bodies and making child sacrifices would be nearby to the Old City which was a far smaller place at that time. In Roman times this valley was the rubbish dumping ground for the city and for dead bodies of criminals.
Scholars such as Mosca (1975) have concluded that the sacrifice recorded in the Hebrew Bible, such as Jeremiah’s comment that the worshippers of Baal had “filled this place with the blood of innocents”, is literal. Though as yet there is no archaeological evidence such as mass children’s graves – Gehenna Archeology
Perhaps they are looking in the wrong valley?
Consider Joshua 15:8 for the boundary of the Valley
Then the boundary went up by the Valley of Ben-hinnom [son of Hinnom] at the southern shoulder of the Jebusite [city]—that is, Jerusalem – Joshua 15:8
the valley went up to the southern boundary of Jerusalem – remember that it was a much smaller city at that time… in Joshua’s day.