Sapphira and her husband Ananias sold a piece of land that they owned and gave the proceeds to the Apostles, but secretly held back some of the money for themselves. They each died soon after their deceit was uncovered.
Their story is told in Acts 5. After presenting some of the money from the sale of land, Peter questioned Ananias:
Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God." (Acts 5:3-4, NIV).
After hearing Peter's words, Ananias fell down and died. Sapphira was not present at this time. She arrived about three hours later and also died when it was revealed that some of the money from the sale of the land was secretly held back:
Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?"
"Yes," she said, "that is the price."
Peter said to her, "How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." (Acts 5:8-9, NIV).
More context to this story is given at the end of Acts 4, where it is explained that Christians were donating money to the Apostles to be given to people in need.
Some scholars explain that the sin of Sapphira and Ananias wasn't that they kept some of the money for themselves, but that they were dishonest about it.
Sapphira is mentioned by name in Acts 5:1.
The name Sapphira is a Hebrew name that means "beautiful" or "pleasant" and also is the Hebrew word for sapphire, a precious gem of deep blue color.
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