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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Teraphim

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(teh' ruh fihm) Transliteration idols used as household gods or for divination. They are idols of indeterminate size and shape (compare Genesis 31:1; 1 Samuel 19:13 ). Some scholars have understood Ancient Near Eastern rights of inheritance as being based on the possession of these images as shown in Nuzi inheritance documents. However, the evidence is ambiguous in determining the motive of Rachel's theft or their overall meaning. Jacob (Genesis 35:2 ) disposed of such religious artifacts before returning to Bethel. Teraphim are related to divination (Judges 17:5; Judges 18:14-20; 1 Samuel 15:23; 2 Kings 23:24; Hosea 3:4; Ezekiel 21:21; Zechariah 10:2 ). Prophetic literature and the Josianic reformation condemned the possession and use of teraphim. Translations used different words in different passages to translate teraphim. See Divination.

David M. Fleming

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Teraphim'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/t/teraphim.html. 1991.

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