Click here to join the effort!
People's Dictionary of the Bible
Teraphim (tĕr'a-phĭm), givers of prosperous life? Images kept in the houses and honored with a certain kind of reverence. Laban had some of them; and Rachel took these when leaving Padan-aram. Genesis 31:19; Genesis 31:30; Genesis 31:32-35. So we find that they were employed for purposes of divination among the Babylonians. Ezekiel 21:21. It is possible that Rachel imagined that some augury of the future might be obtained from them; and she must have considered them as having a tutelary power. These images were probably some of the strange gods of which Jacob subsequently cleansed his household. Genesis 35:2; Genesis 35:4. Micah had them in his house, and felt sure that Jehovah would bless him when he had a Levite to minister before them. Judges 17:5; Judges 17:13. These the Danites eagerly carried off. Judges 18:14-21. It is still more perplexing to find them in David's house. 1 Samuel 19:13; 1 Samuel 19:16. And it does not seem that they were altogether put away till the thorough reformation of Josiah's days. 2 Kings 23:24. Then, indeed, they were classed with abominable things. The word is used, 1 Samuel 10:23, rendered in our version "idolatry," in expressing' the truth that obstinacy was sinful, "iniquity, and teraphim worship." We find them also censured in Zechariah 10:2 : and Hosea employed the term to signify the state of Israel with no kind of worship either of the true God or of false deities. Hosea 3:4. We may gather that they were made of various materials, as of silver, Judges 17:4, and that they resembled a human figure sometimes of the natural size. 1 Samuel 19:13. Perhaps they were like the Roman Penates or household gods. Small figures of baked clay, some with a human head and a lion's body, and others with a human body and lynx head, have been found under the pavement of the porch of the Khorsabad palace.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Teraphim'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/rpd/t/teraphim.html. 1893.