🔼The name Shaphir: Summary
- Pleasantness, Harmony
- From the verb שפר (shapar), to be pleasing or harmoniously composed.
🔼The name Shaphir in the Bible
The name Shaphir (or Saphir as the King James has it) occurs only once in the Bible, although it's quite likely that it isn't the name of an actual city, or that it even doesn't refer to a (figurative) city or settlement.
Shaphir occurs in a sermon by the prophet Micah concerning Judah. He mentions Jerusalem and Gath, which are well-known cities of Judah, but then rattles of a list of pseudo-towns that aren't mentioned by anyone else, and are more likely to be personified concepts than actual towns.
🔼Etymology of the name Shaphir
The name Shaphir comes from the verb שפר (shapar), meaning to be pleasing:
The verb שפר (shapar) means to be pleasing, and more specific to be peacefully or harmoniously calm and composed. Noun שפר (sheper) means beauty or loveliness. Noun שפרה (shipra) means fairness or clearness. It's used only once in the Bible, and describes an aspect of the sky. Noun שופר (shopar) or שפר (shopar) denotes a ram's horn made into a trumpet (the regular word for horn, קרן, qeren, also comes from a verb that means to shine). Noun שפרור (shaprur) or שפריר (shaprir) apparently denotes a kind of canopy, under which peace and stability may be achieved.
For a meaning of the name Shaphir, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Glittering, while (curiously) the footnote in the text of Micah translates this name with Pleasantness.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names declares that our name is identical to a known Chaldean adjective and reads Beautiful.
BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of the name Shaphir but does list it under the verb שפר (shapar), meaning to be pleasing. BDB also suggests that Micah may have created the name Shaphir by corrupting the name of the known Judaic settlement Shamir, but that remains conjecture.