Idol

Idol [N] [S]

  • Heb. aven, "nothingness;" "vanity" ( Isaiah 66:3 ; 41:29 ; Deuteronomy 32:21 ; 1 Kings 16:13 ; Psalms 31:6 ; Jeremiah 8:19 , etc.).

  • 'Elil, "a thing of naught" ( Psalms 97:7 ; Isaiah 19:3 ); a word of contempt, used of the gods of Noph ( Ezekiel 30:13 ).

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

  • Miphletzeth, "a fright;" "horror" ( 1 Kings 15:13 ; 2 Chr. 15:16 ).

  • Bosheth, "shame;" "shameful thing" ( Jeremiah 11:13 ; Hosea 9:10 ); as characterizing the obscenity of the worship of Baal.

  • Gillulim, also a word of contempt, "dung;" "refuse" ( Ezekiel 16:36 ; 20:8 ; Deuteronomy 29:17 , marg.).

  • Shikkuts, "filth;" "impurity" ( Ezekiel 37:23 ; Nahum 3:6 ).

  • Semel, "likeness;" "a carved image" ( Deuteronomy 4:16 ).

  • Tselem, "a shadow" ( Daniel 3:1 ; 1 Samuel 6:5 ), as distinguished from the "likeness," or the exact counterpart.

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

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

  • Tsir, "a form;" "shape" ( Isaiah 45:16 ).

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

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

  • Maskith, "device" ( Leviticus 26:1 ; Numbers 33:52 ). In Leviticus 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 Ezekiel 8:12 , "chambers of imagery" (maskith), are "chambers of which the walls are painted with the figures of idols;" Compare ver. 10,11.

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

  • Massekah, "a molten image" ( Deuteronomy 9:12 ; Judges 17:3 Judges 17:4 ).

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

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

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Idol". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Idol. [N] [E]

    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. Epist. ( Jeremiah 12:1 ; Jeremiah 19:1 ) ... Wisd. 13:15; ( 1 Corinthians 18:10 ) From these temples the idols were sometimes carried in procession, Epist. ( 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.


    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Idol'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.