Sapphira meaning | Sapphira etymology

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Σαπφειρη
Sapphira in Biblical Greek
Sapphira
Biblical female character
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The name Sapphira in the Bible

Sapphira and her husband Ananias are remembered for lying to Peter about the proceeds of a piece of land they have sold (Acts 5:1). In stead of being honest about the price, or not selling in the first place, they want the church to believe that they donated all of it while keeping some for themselves. Their lie costs them both their life.

Etymology of the name Sapphira

The name Sapphira quite obviously is related to the name of the gem sapphire, which is a name that shows up in many ancient languages with remarkable consistency. In Greek it's called σαπφειρος (sappheiros), and in Hebrew it exists as ספיר (sappir).

In looking for a meaning of the name Sapphira, it should be realized that the original meaning of the Sanskrit word canipriya was probably as hidden to the people of the Middle-East as it is to us, and is far less important than the cultural applications of the gem the ancients called sapphire:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

A Semitic root that etymologically has nothing to with our name Sapphira, but which bears a striking resemblance to it (at least phonetically) is שפר (shapar), meaning to be pleasing:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

Sapphira meaning

The name Sapphira obviously conveys the beauty of the gem sapphire. In Biblical times, the name Sapphira was probably understood to mean something like Precious or Beautiful.

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