Easton's Bible Dictionary
givers of prosperity, Idols in human shape, large or
small, analogous to the images of ancestors which were revered by the Romans.
In order to deceive the guards sent by Saul to seize David, Michal his wife prepared
one of the household teraphim, putting on it the goat's-hair cap worn by sleepers
and invalids, and laid it in a bed, covering it with a mantle. She pointed it
out to the soldiers, and alleged that David was confined to his bed by a sudden
illness ( 1 Samuel 19:13 - 16 ). Thus she gained time for David's escape. It seems
strange to read of teraphim, images of ancestors, preserved for superstitious
purposes, being in the house of David. Probably they had been stealthily brought
by Michal from her father's house. "Perhaps," says Bishop Wordsworth, "Saul, forsaken
by God and possessed by the evil spirit, had resorted to teraphim (as he afterwards
resorted to witchcraft); and God overruled evil for good, and made his very teraphim
(by the hand of his own daughter) to be an instrument for David's escape.", Deane's
David, p. 32. Josiah attempted to suppress this form of idolatry ( 2 Kings 23:24
). The ephod and teraphim are mentioned together in Hosea 3:4 . It has been supposed
by some (Cheyne's Hosea) that the "ephod" here mentioned, and also in Judges 8:24
- 27 , was not the part of the sacerdotal dress so called ( Exodus 28:6 - 14 ),
but an image of Jehovah overlaid with gold or silver (Compare Judges 17 , 18 ;
1 Samuel 21:9 ; 23:6 , 23:9 ; 30:7 , 30:8 ), and is thus associated with the teraphim.
(See THUMMIM .)
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
This word occurs only in the plural, and denotes images
connected with magical rites. The derivation of the name is obscure. In one case
-- ( 1 Samuel 19:13 , 19:16 ) --a single statue seems to be intended by the plural.
The teraphim, translated "images" in the Authorized Version, carried away from
Laban by Rachel were regarded by Laban as gods, and it would therefore appear
that they were used by those who added corrupt practices to the patriarchal religion.
Teraphim again are included among Micah's images. ( Judges 17:3 - 5 ; 18:17 ,
18:18 , 18:20 ) Teraphim were consulted for oracular answers by the Israelites,
( Zechariah 10:2 ) comp. Judges 18:5 , 6 ; 1 Samuel 15:22 , 23 ; 19:13 , 16 ,
LXX., and 2 Kings 23:24 and by the Babylonians in the case of Nebuchadnezzar.
( Ezekiel 21:19 - 22 )
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
See ASTROLOGY; DIVINATION; IMAGES.
bible commentary, bible reference, bible study, define, history, idols, idolatry, images, teraphim