What does “haunt” mean in the Bible?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The Authorized Version contains the word on three occasions:

  • 1 Samuel 23:22: “Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtilly.”
  • 1 Samuel 30:31: “And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.”
  • Ezekiel 26:17: “And they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and say to thee, How art thou destroyed, that wast inhabited of seafaring men, the renowned city, which wast strong in the sea, she and her inhabitants, which cause their terror to be on all that haunt it!”

Due to superstition, whenever we hear about “haunting,” we primarily think of ghosts or other types of paranormal activity. Yet, in the Bible, the term has no relation to the supernatural. Instead, it refers to where people stay (the term is actually distantly associated with “home”). Their “haunt” is their favorite place to walk, a site they visit frequently. Now we can understand why, in the case of ghosts, “haunt” is used to describe a “specter” regularly manifesting itself in a particular area. For more information about ghosts and spirits, see our related studies linked below.

Also see:
» What does the Bible say about “ghosts?”
» What happens after death?
» Should we pray to “bind evil spirits?”