Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An idol or other image of reverence and divination among the ancient Hebrews; apparently especially a kind of household god.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.pl. Images connected with the magical rites used by those Israelites who added corrupt practices to the patriarchal religion. Teraphim were consulted by the Israelites for oracular answers.

Etymologies

From ecclesiastical Latin theraphim, from Ancient Greek θεραφίν (theraphin), from Hebrew תְּרָפִים (t'rafím, "household gods"), perhaps from Jewish Aramaic. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The readiness with which they joined in the attempt to recover the stolen articles affords a presumption that the advantages of the chapel had been open to all in the neighborhood; and the importance which Micah, like Laban, attached to his teraphim, is seen by the urgency with which he pursued the thieves, and the risk of his life in attempting to procure their restoration.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • In either case, possession of the teraphim was the prerogative of the head of household.

    Rachel: Bible.

  • The "teraphim," the etymology of which is unknown, were little portable idols which seem to have been the Lares of the ancient Hebrews.

    The Necessity of Atheism

  • But his second charge was a grave one -- the carrying off his gods -- Hebrew, "teraphim," small images of human figures, used not as idols or objects of worship, but as talismans, for superstitious purposes.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • In the Nineveh sculptures the king is represented with a cup in his right hand, his left resting on a bow; also with two arrows in the right, and the bow in the left, probably practising divination. images -- Hebrew, "teraphim"; household gods, worshipped as family talismans, to obtain direction as to the future and other blessings.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • It, as representing the divinely constituted priesthood, is opposed to the idolatrous "teraphim," as "sacrifice" (to Jehovah) is to "an

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • For rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is like idolatry and teraphim.

    The Ten Commandments

  • Rachel, with Joseph in her lap, sits on the hidden teraphim of Laban.

    Art: Representation of Biblical Women.

  • She could not keep the teraphim, for Jacob commands his household to bury (NRSV, “put away”) all their foreign gods, which almost certainly would include these teraphim (Gen 35: 2).

    Rachel: Bible.

  • The idol is subsequently installed in the household shrine, which includes two other cult objects (an ephod and teraphim) and, eventually, a resident priestly officiant (Judg 17: 7 – 13).

    Mother of Micah: Bible.

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