Isaiah 30:33 (NIV)
Topheth has long been prepared;
it has been made ready for the king.
Its fire pit has been made deep and wide,
with an abundance of fire and wood;
the breath of the Lord,
like a stream of burning sulfur,
sets it ablaze.

From context, it sounds like a place--specifically like my modern understanding of hell. However, I've never heard of this name before.

So, what is Topheth, exactly? Is it just another name for hell? Is (was) it a physical town/country?

  • May I ask: What do you mean by this: modern understanding of hell?
    – hannes
    Jun 27, 2013 at 19:47
  • @hannes Oh, that's just amalgam of "my understanding of hell" and "the modern concept of hell". And that's just a reference to the varying concepts of Sheol throughout time. Ultimately, I'm just asking about Topheth, not so much asking about a modern understanding hell.
    – Richard
    Jun 27, 2013 at 20:08

5 Answers 5


There is, as Richard points out, a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to the subject which is far superior to my quick answer down here.

Topheth is probably synonymous with the valley of Hinnom (Jer 7:32), which is exactly that valley south of Jerusalem where children was sacrificed to Moloech. So you are right when associating this with Gehenna/Hell. The horrible way they sacrificed the children was by "frying" them in the hands of a bronze statue. See this Wikipedia article. That knowledge helps when trying to understand this text.

The king that should be punished is the Assyrian king.


From the notes of NET Bible:

The meaning of תָּפְתֶּה (tafÿteh), which occurs only here, is unknown. The translation above (as with most English versions) assumes an emendation to תֹּפֶת (tofet, "Topheth"; cf. NASB, NIV, NLT) and places the final hey (ה) on the beginning of the next word as an interrogative particle. Topheth was a place near Jerusalem used as a burial ground (see Jer 7:32; 19:11).

From Zondervan Study Bible:

Topeth. A region outside Jerusalem where children were sacrificed to Molech (see 2Ki23:10; Jer 7:31-32; 19:6, 11-14 and notes), the god of the Ammonites (see 1Ki 11:8). Thus it was a place of burning.

From Strongs Hebrew:

8611 topheth to'-feth from the base of 8608; a smiting, i.e. (figuratively) contempt:--tabret. see HEBREW for 08608

8612 Topheth to'-feth the same as 8611; Topheth, a place near Jerusalem:--Tophet, Topheth. see HEBREW for 08611

  • 1
    Wow. I didn't know about the sacrifices. That's...atrocious. Thanks for the wiki link. I'm going to go read that now.
    – Richard
    Jun 26, 2013 at 12:33
  • No problem. It reaaly is! I only browsed through the article myself (my limited English skills made it hard to understand some things). But it seemed to say what I've been thought previously, please correct me otherwise. Jun 26, 2013 at 12:40
  • 1
    Yeah, turns out Wikipedia has an entire article dedicated to Topheth.
    – Richard
    Jun 26, 2013 at 16:12
  • Ok. Added that to my answer :) Jun 26, 2013 at 17:43

Rashi, in his commentary to this verse in Isaiah and in a parallel commentary to Bablyl. Talmud Eruvin 19a, says that this is Gehinnom -- the Jewish version of Hell -- where "whoever is enticed by their inclination to do evil will fall there." The Radak's commentary explains that verse means that Gehinnom is prepared for the wicked during their lifetime, and after death their souls die and go to Gehinnom forever. It should be noted that the Talmudic sages, at Rosh Hashanah 17a-b, regard Gehinnom as a place where the souls of marginal sinners go for cleansing before they go to Heaven. The School of Shammai said: "The intermediate group will go down to Gehinnom, and squeal and rise again, as it says, "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call My Name and I will answer them." (Zech. 13:9.) The Talmud at Rosh Hashanah 17b, however, also brings down a teaching from the School of Hillel who explains that because of God's Mercy, certain Jewish and non-Jewish sinners will be purified in Gehinnom for no more than 12 months, after which they will rise to Heaven; the wicked, however, will have their bodies burned in Gehinnom for a full 12 months afterwhich their bodies will be turned to a flooring for the feet of the righteous in Heaven (citing Malachai 3:21).


The wiki explanation about Tophet is incorrect. Isaiah 30:33 says that God has been preparing it for the king with plenty of wood and fire and the breath of the Lord like a stream of sulpher sets it ablaze. This is not speaking about Hinnom & Molech. its a literal place called Hell. Look at the translation from Stone edition Tanach, it says "the breath of the LORD" who is God, not Molech.

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Gehenna name of valley near Jerusalem in the Hebrew Bible as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom . Then Judas, which had betrayed him repented himself,and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, I have betrayed the innocent blood . And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. the chief priests took the silver pieces and bought with them the potter's field .Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Akeldema, which is the Aramaic word for “Field of Blood .Akeldama is field of blood Akeldama, in the valley of Hinnom, Gehenna known in the Hebrew Bible as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom .potter's field chief priests took the silver pieces bought potter's field .Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10. and gave them for the potter’s field. him is jesus . So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13. And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter” [is field of blood ] Gehenna . Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver. but This prophecy is found not in the book of Jeremiah.but in Zechariah 11:12-13 this is no mistake.God is linking these together but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah your uncle is coming to say ‘Buy my field at Anathoth it is your right to redeem it and possess it, jesus ransomed for thirty pieces of silver “Throw it to the potter” [is field of blood ] Gehenna . better should perish one of the members of you and not all of the body of you be cast into Gehenna . Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.What did he mean by saying “I am a worm”?the Hebrew word Jesus used here for worm, is TOLA’ATH, which means “Crimson worm” or “Scarlet worm.When it is time for the female or mother Crimson she finds the a tree lays her eggs under her body and the protective shell. When the baby worms (or larvae) hatch, they stay under the shell. Not only does the mother’s body give protection for her babies, but it also provides them with food – the babies feed on the LIVING body of the mother!the redeemers right to buy the gospel is matching Jeremiah right to redeem it and possess it to Zechariah 11:12-13 And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced,value of Him is Jesus.judas could not keep the money nor could the priest they bought the potter field.Aramaic word for “Field of Blood .Akeldama is field of blood Akeldama, in the valley of Hinnom, "Gehenna" is not actually a Greek word, but it is a transliteration of a Hebrew word that literally means "Hinnom Valley.right to redeem "Gehenna

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“Tophet” = “to drum” = joy, happiness.

The “Assyrian” (meaning: to be straight, happy) shall be beaten down …undone…through the voice of the LORD.

The happiness and prosperity of the rich shepherds...the spiritual "Assyrian"... of the churches shall be beaten down/undone in this coming time by His voice as He shall open up the Scriptures to our understanding so that we may be truly fed with the Word of Truth that the self-fed pastors are not currently feeding the flock. "Feed my sheep".

Isaiah 30:31-33 KJV (31) For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.

In every place where the “grounded” (the foundation which is Jesus Christ) staff shall pass, it shall be with “tabrets” (“toph”...the key to understanding what "Tophet" means)and harps. There will be rejoicing by those who will hear and believe in what they hear as the rod smashes the rejoicing of the Assyrian which turns to mourning.

(32) And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.

for those pastors who were once rejoicing in getting their earthly needs met and acquiring riches for themselves, it will bring weeping and mourning. Their joy will be taken away….the “drum” of rejoicing that once drowned out the weeping cries of their congregations that they were supposedly “feeding”.

Their joy has been allowed of the Lord to build over many, many years but will be done away with by the Spirit of the LORD who comes to speak His Word of Truth to their congregations (the flock of the slaughter) that they were allowed to tend to.

(33) For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.

The “rich men” in James 5, speaks of the rich shepherds/pastors of the churches who are earthly minded as they go about joyfully heaping treasure together for themselves in these last days. They have had a long time to rejoice in their activities over the churches.

Yet, Their joy shall be consumed as the Lord shall come and give the sheep His understanding so that we may be delivered from those who are only feeding themselves. They will weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon them as their riches shall depart as the sheep will no longer "buy" what they have been "selling" to them all these years.

James 5:1-6 KJV (1) Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. (2) Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. (3) Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

“Tophet” = “to drum”. It speaks of the drumming of the heart in their rejoicing (the striking of the tambourine in their rejoicing).

The “drum” of the rejoicing of the rich church pastors drowns out the cries of those who they are supposedly feeding and yet are keeping back the joy (of their congregations) of the Word of Truth by fraud as they handle the Word of God deceitfully for their own unjust gain.

They do not hear nor care for the bad things that happen to their congregations as they are preoccupied by their own rejoicing in the getting of their daily needs met and the accumulation of things in their covetous practices. The “drum” of their rejoicing drowns out the cries of the flock of the slaughter and so they have no mercy upon them.

(4) Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

They have lived in pleasure on the earth as they get their earthly needs met by their “preaching” as they make merchandise of those who are being deceived by them. They have nourished their hearts as in the day of slaughter as the flock of slaughter receives bad things.

(5) Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

The eternal life of Jesus is being removed from those who are preaching themselves and are not serving the Lord Jesus Christ but instead serving for their own belly.

The eternal life of the Just One is being killed out of the lives of those whom they are deceiving as His life is not being made manifest in their mortal flesh which would give them His eternal life in the here-and-now. Instead, the flock of the slaughter perishes from off this earth without understanding.

(6) Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

The Just One is being condemned and killed out of the lives of many when God has already raised Him from the dead and is alive now so that we might have His eternal life now in this mortal body in this earth.

Acts 3:14-15 KJV (14) But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; (15) And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

Both he that sows and he that reaps are to rejoice TOGETHER. But currently only the rich men of the churches are rejoicing while their congregations do not and are not gathering fruit unto life eternal in this earth but are instead gathering fruit unto death....death of the mortal body from this earth...because of those who are only serving themselves.

John 4:36 KJV (36) And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

“Hurt not the oil and wine”….the joy of the rich pastors has not ceased while there is a severe famine of hearing the words of God in their gatherings. Their joy and gladness has not been hurt (yet) as the flock of the slaughter (as the Just One's eternal life is being removed from them) is not being fed with the Word of truth which would save them.

Revelation 6:5-6 KJV (5) And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. (6) And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

The “rich man” …the rulers of the churches….fared sumptuously every day….that is, he rejoiced brilliantly every day….

Luke 16:19-20 KJV (19) There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

….while their congregations (Lazarus = God helps) do not as they lay at the gate of the mouth waiting to be fed with the Word of Truth.

(20) And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

There is not rejoicing in both the pastors and their congregations as there should be. One party rejoices and the other does not.

The rich man receive good things and Lazarus received evil things.

But now when the Lord comes to feed “Lazarus” with the Word, he will be comforted while the rich pastors shall be tormented. A reversal of fortunes.

Luke 16: KJV (25) But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

The “great gulf fixed” is the wide open mouth (fixed in His judgment) of the rich pastors that will speak evil (which brings them torment) and will lament what they will hear the Lord saying. The Lord’s words spoken in the Spirit of Truth consumes their rejoicing and brings them torment instead. They will not believe nor will they be able to hear and believe as the fixed, righteous judgment shall be upon them.

(26) And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (rage) in their fixed judgment in the Gehenna….the valley of the son of Hinnom (lamentation).

Matthew 24:51 KJV (51) And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Where once they rejoiced (Tophet) while their congregations cried (in the valley of lamentation), the tables shall be turned so to speak as they shall mourn and weep while His people shall rejoice.

Luke 6:24-26 KJV (24) But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. (25) Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. (26) Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Happy are those who are hungry now for they shall be filled with the Word of Truth and their weeping (in the valley of the son of Hinnom….lamentation) shall cease as they will rejoice in what they hear.

Luke 6:21 KJV (21) Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

His servants shall “eat” what they hear: the Word spoken through the Spirit of the Lord….while they …the rich shepherds…shall go hungry. His servants shall rejoice while they shall be ashamed of what they hear.

Isaiah 65:13-16 KJV (13) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:

His servants shall sing for joy of heart while they shall cry for sorrow of hear and shall howl for vexation of spirit…in the valley of the son of Hinnom (lamentation). They will not rejoice at the hearing of His voice.

(14) Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. (15) And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:

The former troubles of those who attended the churches of the rich pastors shall be forgotten as the Lord comes to deliver them from their captors who were only feeding themselves and were rejoicing in the day of the slaughter of the sheep that they were supposedly tending to.

(16) That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.

To those who peddle (“corrupt”) the Word of God, to hear His knowledge is a savor of death unto death as they will mourn…lament...what they hear in their unbelief.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 KJV (14) Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. (15) For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (16) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? (17) For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

They had gone in the way of Judas…a MULTITUDE following their “guide” in taking Jesus out of the lives of many so that His eternal life does not manifest in those that are being deceived by the “kiss”…the flattering lips. They come with swords and staves….causing divisions among us….and take the daily sacrifice of our Lord Jesus out of their lives so that His life never appears in the mortal flesh…saving them.

Acts 1:16 KJV (16) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

Yet, unlike the original Judas who repented in Matthew 27:3, they that follow their “guide” fall headlong after reward and have no mercy…no compassion…for those they deceive as they “burst asunder in the middle” and their compassion gushes out and is no more. They have no compassion for the flock of the slaughter as their vessels do not contain pity as it has gushed out of them.

Acts 1:18-20 KJV (18) Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. (19) And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. (20) For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

Their “possessors” (buyers of the field of blood) slay them and hold themselves not guilty (what is that to us? See Matthew 27:4) and they that sell them (making merchandise of them) say “blessed be the LORD for I am rich”.

Their own shepherds pity them not….as they are “burst asunder in the middle” and their pity gushed out. The shepherds of the flock of slaughter do not contain compassion as they are emptied out of it.

Zechariah 11:4-5 KJV (4) Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter; (5) Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not.

Instead of having compassion for the sheep and weeping for them, there is “joy and gladness” in their “killing of sheep” as the eternal life of Jesus is taken away from them and they are perish under their shepherds “care” who have no mercy for them and do not feed them but instead are feeding themselves…getting their earthly needs met (let us “eat and drink” for tomorrow we die).

Isaiah 22:12-14 KJV (12) And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth: (13) And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die. (14) And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

It has been a “valley of slaughter” as the rich rejoice (Tophet….the drumming of their rejoicing so that they cannot hear the cries of those they slaughter…in the valley of the son of Hinnom….the lamentation of those who are being slaughtered).

Jeremiah 7:32-34 KJV (32) 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. (33) And the carcases 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. (34) 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.

Judas came with multitudes with their swords and staves to take Jesus. He betrayed the Son of man with a “kiss”…a feigned kiss by a “friend”. We must avoid those who come to cause divisions among us and teach things which cause us to stumble in having love for one another. They come with the flattering lips….a feigned kiss and not a holy kiss.

Romans 16:16-18 KJV (16) Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. (17) Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

They use “good words and fair speeches”…a feigned kiss of the flattering lips…to deceive the hearts of the simple. Yet, they do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly….their “baal”…as their god is their belly.

(18) For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

They are the enemies of the cross of Christ as they come to take His daily sacrifice out of our lives so that His eternal life does not manifest in this earth. Their end is destruction and those who go sit together with them are also destroyed. They mind earthly things….what to eat, what to drink, what to wear…as they preach for these things. They follow after their “guide” Judas whose end was destruction as he “strangled” himself. We must avoid them….abstaining from things “strangled”.

Philippians 3:17-19 KJV (17) Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (18) (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: (19) Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

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