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Bible Dictionaries

Easton's Bible Dictionary

Idol

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  • Heb. aven, "nothingness;" "vanity" (Isaiah 66:3; 41:29; Deuteronomy 32:21; 1 Kings 16:13; Psalm 31:6; Jeremiah 8:19 , etc.).

  • 'Elil, "a thing of naught" (Psalm 97:7; Isaiah 19:3 ); a word of contempt, used of the gods of Noph (Ezekiel 30:13 ).

  • 'Emah, "terror," in allusion to the hideous form of idols (Jeremiah 50:38 ).

  • Miphletzeth, "a fright;" "horror" (1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chronicles 15:16 ).

  • Bosheth, "shame;" "shameful thing" (Jeremiah 11:13; Hosea 9:10 ); as characterizing the obscenity of the worship of Baal.

  • Gillulim, also a word of contempt, "dung;" "refuse" (Ezekiel 16:36; 20:8; Deuteronomy 29:17 , marg.).

  • Shikkuts, "filth;" "impurity" (Ezekiel 37:23; Nahum 3:6 ).

  • Semel, "likeness;" "a carved image" (Deuteronomy 4:16 ).

  • Tselem, "a shadow" (Daniel 3:1; 1 Samuel 6:5 ), as distinguished from the "likeness," or the exact counterpart.

  • Temunah, "similitude" (Deuteronomy 4:12-19 ). Here Moses forbids the several forms of Gentile idolatry.

  • 'Atsab, "a figure;" from the root "to fashion," "to labour;" denoting that idols are the result of man's labour (Isaiah 48:5; Psalm 139:24 , "wicked way;" literally, as some translate, "way of an idol").

  • Tsir, "a form;" "shape" (Isaiah 45:16 ).

  • Matztzebah, a "statue" set up (Jeremiah 43:13 ); a memorial stone like that erected by Jacob (Genesis 28:18; 31:45; 35:14,20 ), by (Joshua 4:9 ), and by Samuel (1 Samuel 7:12 ). It is the name given to the statues of Baal (2 Kings 3:2; 10:27 ).

  • Hammanim, "sun-images." Hamman is a synonym of Baal, the sun-god of the Phoenicians (2 Chronicles 34:4,7; 14:3,5; Isaiah 17:8 ).

  • Maskith, "device" (Leviticus 26:1; Numbers 33:52 ). In Leviticus 26:1 , the words "image of stone" (A.V.) denote "a stone or cippus with the image of an idol, as Baal, Astarte, etc." In Ezekiel 8:12 , "chambers of imagery" (maskith), are "chambers of which the walls are painted with the figures of idols;" Compare ver. 10,11.

  • Pesel, "a graven" or "carved image" (Isaiah 44:10-20 ). It denotes also a figure cast in metal (Deuteronomy 7:25; 27:15; Isaiah 40:19; 44:10 ).

  • Massekah, "a molten image" (Deuteronomy 9:12; Judges 17:3,4 ).

  • Teraphim, pl., "images," family gods (penates) worshipped by Abram's kindred (Joshua 24:14 ). Put by Michal in David's bed (Judges 17:5; 18:14,17,18,20; 1 Samuel 19:13 ).

    "Nothing can be more instructive and significant than this multiplicity and variety of words designating the instruments and inventions of idolatry."

    Copyright Statement
    These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Idol'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/i/idol.html. 1897.

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