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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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It is said, Genesis 31:19 , that Rachel had stolen the images ( teraphim ) of her father. What then were these teraphim? The Septuagint translate this word by "oracle," and sometimes by "vain figures." Aquila generally translates it by figures." It appears, indeed, from all the passages in which this word is used, that they were idols or superstitious figures. Some Jewish writers tell us the teraphim were human heads placed in niches, and consulted by way of oracles. Others think they were talismans or figures of metal cast and engraven under certain aspects of the planets, to which they ascribed extraordinary effects. All the eastern people are much addicted to this superstition, and the Persians still call them telefin, a name nearly approaching to teraphim. M. Jurieu supposes them to have been a sort of dii penates, or household gods; and this appears to be, perhaps, the most probable opinion.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Teraphim'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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