Q&A: What does Teraphim mean?

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 (Thirdmill).