Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Shift": A Word Study

Okay, Betsy, here it is:

Everything I've learned about the word "shift."

It occurs only twice in the New American Standard translation of the Bible, once in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament.

So the LORD shifted the wind to a very strong west wind which took up the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea; not one locust was left in all the territory of Egypt. (Exodus 10:19) (NAS)

[From The Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon at]
Original Word: jph
Strong’s Number: 02015
Word Origin: a primitive root
Transliterated Word: Haphak
Phonetic Spelling: haw-fak'
Parts of Speech: Verb

1. to turn, overthrow, overturn

a. (Qal)
1. to overturn, overthrow
2. to turn, turn about, turn over, turn around
3. to change, transform

b. (Niphal)
1. to turn oneself, turn, turn back
2. to change oneself
3. to be perverse
4. to be turned, be turned over, be changed, be turned against
5. to be reversed
6. to be overturned, be overthrown
7. to be upturned

c. (Hithpael)
1. to transform oneself
2. to turn this way and that, turn every way

d. (Hophal) to turn on someone

Other versions and their translations of this word:

(total occurrences) KJV (93) - become, 1; came, 1; change, 3; converted, 1; gave, 1; make, 1; overthrow, 13; overturn, 5; perverse, 1; perverted, 1; retired, 1; tumbled, 1; turn, 57; turn..., 6
NAS (94) - become, 1; came, 1; change, 1; changed, 6; changes, 1; come, 1; drained, 1; give, 1; had a change, 1; inundate, 1; overthrew, 5; overthrow, 5; overthrown, 3; overthrows, 1; overturned, 1; overturns, 2; perverted, 2; reined about, 1; restore, 1; retraced, 1; shifted, 1; tumbling, 1; turn, 6; turned, 44; turned aside, 1; turned back, 1; turned over, 1; turning, 1; turning around, 1

(in this verse) NIV – changed NKJ & ERV – turned The Message – reversed

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17) (NAS)

[From The New Testament Greek Lexicon at]
Original Word: troph/
Strong’s Number: 5157
Word Origin: from an apparently primary trepo {to turn}
Transliterated Word: Trope
Phonetic Spelling: trop-ay'
Parts of Speech: Noun Feminine

1. a turning
a. of the heavenly bodies

Other versions and their translations of this word:

(total occurrences)
KJV (1) - turning, 1; NAS (1) - shifting, 1

(in this verse) Green’s Literal – with whom there is no change or shadow of turning
NIV – who does not change like shifting shadows
CSB – with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning
NLT – He never changes or casts shifting shadows
NKJ – with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning
Amplified - shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]

shift [shift]

–verb (used with object)
1. to put (something) aside and replace it by another or others; change or exchange: to shift friends; to shift ideas.

2. to transfer from one place, position, person, etc., to another: to shift the blame onto someone else.

3. Automotive. to change (gears) from one ratio or arrangement to another.

4. Linguistics. to change in a systematic way, esp. phonetically.

–verb (used without object)
5. to move from one place, position, direction, etc., to another.

6. to manage to get along or succeed by oneself.

7. to get along by indirect methods; use any expediency, trick, or evasion to get along or succeed: He shifted through life.

8. to change gears in driving an automobile.

9. Linguistics. to undergo a systematic, esp. phonetic, change.

10. to press a shift key, as on a typewriter keyboard.

11. Archaic. to change one's clothes.

12. a change or transfer from one place, position, direction, person, etc., to another: a shift in the wind.

13. a person's scheduled period of work, esp. the portion of the day scheduled as a day's work when a shop, service, office, or industry operates continuously during both the day and night: She prefers the morning shift.

14. a group of workers scheduled to work during such a period: The night shift reported.

15. Baseball. a notable repositioning by several fielders to the left or the right of their normal playing position, an occasional strategy against batters who usually hit the ball to the same side of the field.

16. Automotive. a gearshift.

17. Clothing. a. a straight, loose-fitting dress worn with or without a belt.
b. a woman's chemise or slip.

18. Football. a lateral or backward movement from one position to another, usually by two or more offensive players just before the ball is put into play.

19. Mining. a dislocation of a seam or stratum; fault.

20. Music. a change in the position of the left hand on the fingerboard in playing a stringed instrument.

21. Linguistics. a. a change or system of parallel changes that affects the sound structure of a language, as the series of related changes in the English vowel system from Middle English to Modern English.
b. a change in the meaning or use of a word.

22. an expedient; ingenious device.

23. an evasion, artifice, or trick.

24. change or substitution.

25. Bridge (the card game). a bid in a suit different from the suit just bid by one's partner.

26. Agriculture. (in crop rotation) a. any of successive crops.
b. the tract of land used.

27. an act or instance of using the shift key, as on a typewriter keyboard.

28. shift gears.

[Origin: bef. 1000; (v.) ME shiften to arrange, OE sciftan; c. G schichten to arrange in order, ON skipta to divide; (n.) ME: contrivance, start, deriv. of the v. ]

—Related forms
shift·ing·ly, adverb
shift·ing·ness, noun

From Unabridged (v 1.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

1 comment:

Brittany A said...

Thank you for this :)
I'm doing a paper on James right now, and there's a verse that says "shifting shadows" or something and I'm finding this helpful!
Lots to think about!