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Dictionaries :: Idol

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Easton's Bible Dictionary


(1.) Heb. aven, "nothingness;" "vanity" (Isa 66:3; 41:29; Deu 32:21; 1Ki 16:13; Psa 31:6; Jer 8:19, etc.).

(2.) 'Elil, "a thing of naught" (Psa 97:7; Isa 19:3); a word of contempt, used of the gods of Noph (Eze 30:13).

(3.) 'Emah, "terror," in allusion to the hideous form of idols (Jer 50:38).

(4.) Miphletzeth, "a fright;" "horror" (1Ki 15:13; 2Ch 15:16).

(5.) Bosheth, "shame;" "shameful thing" (Jer 11:13; Hsa 9:10); as characterizing the obscenity of the worship of Baal.

(6.) Gillulim, also a word of contempt, "dung;" "refuse" (Eze 16:36; 20:8; Deu 29:17, marg.).

(7.) Shikkuts, "filth;" "impurity" (Eze 37:23; Nah 3:6).

(8.) Semel, "likeness;" "a carved image" (Deu 4:16).

(9.) Tselem, "a shadow" (Dan 3:1; 1Sa 6:5), as distinguished from the "likeness," or the exact counterpart.

(10.) Temunah, "similitude" (Deu 4:12-19). Here Moses forbids the several forms of Gentile idolatry.

(11.) 'Atsab, "a figure;" from the root "to fashion," "to labour;" denoting that idols are the result of man's labour (Isa 48:5; Psa 139:24, "wicked way; " literally, as some translate, "way of an idol").

(12.) Tsir, "a form;" "shape" (Isa 45:16).

(13.) Matztzebah, a "statue" set up (Jer 43:13); a memorial stone like that erected by Jacob (Gen 28:18; 31:45; 35:14,20), by Joshua (Jos 4:9), and by Samuel (1Sa 7:12). It is the name given to the statues of Baal (2Ki 3:2; 10:27).

(14.) Hammanim, "sun-images." Hamman is a synonym of Baal, the sun-god of the Phoenicians (2Ch 34:4,7; 14:3,5; Isa 17:8).

(15.) Maskith, "device" (Lev 26:1; Num 33:52). In Lev 26:1, the words "image of stone" (A.V.) denote "a stone or cippus with the image of an idol, as Baal, Astarte, etc." In Eze 8:12, "chambers of imagery" (maskith), are "chambers of which the walls are painted with the figures of idols;" comp. ver. 10, 11.

(16.) Pesel, "a graven" or "carved image" (Isa 44:10-20). It denotes also a figure cast in metal (Deu 7:25; 27:15; Isa 40:19; 44:10).

(17.) Massekah, "a molten image" (Deu 9:12; Jdg 17:3,4).

(18.) Teraphim, pl., "images," family gods (penates) worshipped by Abram's kindred (Jos 24:14). Put by Michal in David's bed (Jdg 17:5; 18:14,17,18,20; 1Sa 19:13).

"Nothing can be more instructive and significant than this multiplicity and variety of words designating the instruments and inventions of idolatry."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g1497 Greek: eidolon


primarily "a phantom or likeness" (from eidos, "an appearance," lit., "that which is seen"), or "an idea, fancy," denotes in the NT

(a) "an idol," an image to represent a false god, Act 7:41; 1Cr 12:2; Rev 9:20;

(b) "the false god" worshipped in an image, Act 15:20; Rom 2:22; 1Cr 8:4, 7; 10:19; 2Cr 6:16; 1Th 1:9; 1Jo 5:21.

"The corresponding Heb. word denotes 'vanity,' Jer 14:22; 18:15; 'thing of nought,' Lev 19:4, marg., cp. Eph 4:17. Hence what represented a deity to the Gentiles, was to Paul a 'vain thing,' Act 14:15; 'nothing in the world,' 1Cr 8:4; 10:19. Jeremiah calls the idol a 'scarecrow' ('pillar in a garden,' Jer 10:5, marg.), and Isaiah, Isa 44:9-20, etc., and Habakkuk, Hab 2:18, 19 and the Psalmist, Psa 115:4-8, etc., are all equally scathing. It is important to notice, however, that in each case the people of God are addressed. When he speaks to idolaters, Paul, knowing that no man is won by ridicule, adopts a different line, Act 14:15-18; 17:16, 21-31."*
[* From Notes on Thessalonians, pp. 44, 45 by Hogg and Vine.]

Smith's Bible Dictionary


An image or anything used as an object of worship in place of the true God. Among the earliest objects of worship, regarded as symbols of deity, were the meteoric stones, which the ancients believed to have been images of the Gods sent down from heaven. From these they transferred their regard to rough unhewn blocks, to stone columns or pillars of wood, in which the divinity worshipped was supposed to dwell, and which were connected, like the sacred stone at Delphi, by being anointed with oil and crowned with wool on solemn days. Of the forms assumed by the idolatrous images we have not many traces in the Bible. Dagon, the fish‐god of the Philistines, was a human figure terminating in a fish; and that the Syrian deities were represented in later times in a symbolical human shape we know for certainty. When the process of adorning the image was completed, it was placed in a temple or shrine appointed for it. Epistle (Jeremiah 12:1; Jeremiah 19:1). … Wisdom 13:15; (1 Corinthians 18:10.) From these temples the idols were sometimes carried in procession, Epistle (Jeremiah 4:26) on festival days. Their priests were maintained from the idol treasury, and feasted upon the meats which were appointed for the idols' use. Bel and the Dragon 3, 13.


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