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Teraphim

ter'-a-fim (images; idols, givers of prosperity)
RELATED:
Divination, Idolatry, Idols, Magic
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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 .)

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Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names

images; idols

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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 )

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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

ter'-a-fim.

See ASTROLOGY; DIVINATION; IMAGES.


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Tags:

bible commentary, bible reference, bible study, define, history, idols, idolatry, images, teraphim

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