What does Teraphim mean?

Question
What does Teraphim mean?
Answer
The word "teraphim" means "household gods." Rachel managed to hide some in the camel cushion (Gen 31:19, 34, 35). The word comes from the Hebrew word hatterapim (Judg 17:5; 18:14, 17, 18, 20; 1 Sam 15:23; 19:13, 16; 2 Kings 23:24; Ezek 21:21; Hos 3:4; Zech 10:2).

Many things may be idols; a home, car, boat, social status, money, power, spiritual gifts, education, work, appearance, etc. All idolatry is sin (2 Tim 3:5). And though those that heed such things and think their idols can listen (1 Kings 18:26), learn (1 Chron 10:9), and even save (Exod 32:4), they will tremble (Isa 19:1) and be as nothing at the coming of the only true God (Isa 40:18-20, Jer 10:10, 14, 1 Cor 8:4).

"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). Any other kind of worship is idolatry.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).