Smith’s Bible Dictionary
Idol: 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.