Teraphim of the Hebrews
In the Judaic religion, the Teraphim were household gods, or domestic idols used for worship in the home. They were suppose to bring prosperity and good luck, though the practice was considered heathen.
The Hebrews derived their use of Teraphim from inhabitants of lower Mesopotamia.
Teraphim were called the "givers of prosperity," “guardians of comforts," "nourishers" by the Lares and Penates of the early Hebrews.
Some Teraphim could be hidden away in the pack saddle of a camel, similar to the one the Rachel stole. Others were life size. Some may have represented family members.
The ceremony which rabbis "bring to life" the Golem is similar to the Tibtean ceremony of the "dubtobos" i.e. "Those who have succeeded" and "accomplished" The "dutobos" create "Tulpas" a kind of a robot which can be controlled at will, but, sometimes can have an autonomous personality.
Cabalists and Teraphim
Cabalists look on teraphim as talismans which derived their power. The Teraphim can also be compared with the Golem.
Maimonides (1135-1204) said: "the worshippers of the TERAPHIM claim that as the light of the stars filled the carved statute, it was put en rapport with the intelligence of those distant stars and planets who used the statue as an instrument. It is in this manner that the TERAPHIM taught people many useful arts and sciences."
In the 12th century, the writings of R. Abraham Ezra made a reference to animating statues. He describes the biblical teraphim of Lavan. He also has this view in regard to the golden calf. The calf imitated the astral form and captured the supernal glory in the absence of Moses. (Idel, “Golem,” p. 86, 93).
Terephim in the Old Testament
Rachel the Syrian daughter of Laban, stole her father's Teraphim, the household god. She went away accompanied by her husband Jacob; as they eloped and fled from Laban's house. They were hid by Rachael in camel's saddle. Laban regarded them "as my gods." He considered the .oracle to hold unfailing truth. She took the idols in whose realiability she trusted as a child. In her snaive belief, she was afraid the Teraphim would tell Leban their direction. Leban, who found them without the oracles, Rachel hid them beneath her skirts. The idols were the only things she wouldn't forgo in the outside world. ("History of Magic," Seligmann “ p. 550)
Genesis 34: "Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, and put them in the saddle of the camel, and sat upon them. And Laban felt about all the tent, but found them not. 35. And she said to her father: 'Let not the Lord be angry that I cannot rise up before thee; for the manner of women is upon me.' And he searched, but found not the teraphim.
Gen. 35:34; (1732BCE, OT, p 25) “Before Jacob went to Bethel to present himself before YWH he made all his people to hand over to him their "strange gods" and "ear-rings” (ie cresent shaped amulets) (See Saharon) Another translation: Gen. 35.4; “And they gave unto Jacob all the strange god; which were in their hand, and all their ear-rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem;”
Samuel 14:13, v30
Samuel 15:23; “using uncanny power and teraphim...”
Samuel 15:23; “last named class condemned by prophets ..”
1 Samuel 19:11-12, 13 “The men kept Teraphim in houses. After David's flight, Michal, his wife, "took an image and laid it on the bed, and put a pillow of goat's hair for his bolster and covered it with a cloth. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, "He is sick."
I Samuel 19:13:
13. And Michael took the teraphim, and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats' hair at the head thereof, and covered it with a cloth.
14. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, 'He is sick.'
15. And Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, 'Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.'
16. And when the messengers came in, behold, the teraphim was in the bed with the quilt of goat's hair at the head thereof."
Samuel 19:16; “teraphim images on the couch and a...”
2 Kings 13:24; “though possession regarded as illegal (Josiah put them away together w/the wizard, etc)”
2Kings 1 23:24; “the Teraphim and the dungy idols;...”
Judges 17.5: And the man had a house of God, and he made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated on of his sons, who became his priest.
They were made of clay, some were probably made of semi-precious stones, if they were worn on body (.i.Budge, “Amulet & Superst,” p. 213-4;)
Judges 18:14; “the ephod and the Teraphim and the carved..”
Judges 18:17; “the ephod and the Teraphim and the...”
Judges 18:18 ; “the Teraphim and the molten image...”
Judges 18:20; “the ephod and the Teraphim and the...”
Ezekiel 21:21...has asked by means of the Teraphim..”
Hosiah 3:4; “...without an ephod and Teraphim....on act of disloyalty, Israel (on acct of diloyalty) shall be for many days "without king...or .i.teraphim;"
Zachariah 10:2; “the t. themselves have spoken.” t. diviners and "tellers of false dreams" in same category.
The Idols And The Teraphim - Pamphlet