Acts 15:16

16 1"'After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it,

Acts 15:16 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 15:16

After this I will return
That is, after the Lord had destroyed the sinful kingdom from off the face of the earth, and had sifted the house of Israel among all nations, and the sinners of his people were slain with the sword; after all this he promises to return and show favour to them: this is the sense of the prophet which James gives; for these words are not at length in Amos; there it is only said, "in that day"; upon which Jarchi's note is,

``after all these things shall have come upon them, that day shall come which is appointed for redemption;''

which well agrees with James here, and the manner in which he introduces this passage:

and will build again the tabernacle of David, that is fallen down:
that is, as the Jewish F18 writers themselves interpret it, the kingdom of the house of David, though in a temporal sense, which was now in a most ruinous condition; the sceptre was departed from Judah; all; power and authority were falling off apace from the Jews, into the hands of the Romans; David's family were quite sunk, and almost gone, and had no share at all in the civil government; Jesus, who was descended from him, and was of the blood royal, and right heir to his throne, was born of a poor virgin; and his supposed father was a carpenter; and he himself the King of the Jews, was crucified by them; yet notwithstanding all this, David's tabernacle was to be rebuilt, and his kingdom to be restored by the Messiah, but in a spiritual way; for the tabernacle of David designs the spiritual kingdom or church of Christ, who is here called David, as in ( Ezekiel 34:23 Ezekiel 34:24 ) ( Ezekiel 37:24 Ezekiel 37:25 ) ( Hosea 3:5 ) and of whom David was an eminent type: and the church may be called a tabernacle, being in the present state of things, as to its place, uncertain and moveable, though ere long it will be a tabernacle that will not be taken down, ( Isaiah 33:20 ) and Christ's tabernacle, being of his building, and where he dwells and keeps his court, as King of saints; see ( Isaiah 16:5 ) and which was in a fallen ruinous condition when he came on earth, through the corrupt principles of the Pharisees and Sadducees, the bigotry and superstition of the one, and the deism of the other; and through the great decay of spiritual worship and powerful godliness, and the bad lives of professors, and the small number of truly godly persons: the Jews F19 themselves refer this prophecy to the times of the Messiah, yea, one of the names by which they call the Messiah is taken from hence F20: it is asked,

``who is Bar Naphli? it is replied, the Messiah; the Messiah is called Bar Naphli (the son fallen, or of the fallen); is it not written, "in that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen down?"''

one of their own commentators F21 on this text, has this note,

``if we interpret this of the Messiah, the matter is clear:''

but then this must be understood in a spiritual sense, for Christ's kingdom is not a worldly one; the raising up and rebuilding of this tabernacle, must design the reviving of true religion, the doctrine and practice of it, the enlargement of the church of God, by the conversion both of Jews and Gentiles:

and I will build again the ruins thereof,
and I will set it up; which has been done by breaking down the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles, and letting in the latter into the Gospel church with the former, whereby it grows up to be an holy temple in the Lord; see ( Isaiah 54:2 Isaiah 54:3 ) ( Isaiah 61:4 Isaiah 61:5 ) ( 2:2 ) and to this sense the Jews themselves F23 interpret it;

``the holy blessed God will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, as it is said, ( Amos 9:11 ) in that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David; for all the world shall be (txa hdwga) , "one bundle"; as it is said, ( Zephaniah 3:9 ) ''


F18 Targum, Jarchi & Kimchi in loc.
F19 Zohar in Gen. fol. 53. 2. & in Exod. fol. 4. 2. & 96. 2.
F20 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 96. 2.
F21 Aben Ezra in Amos ix. 11.
F23 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 88. fol. 76. 4.

Acts 15:16 In-Context

14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.
15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
16 "'After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it,
17 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things
18 known from of old.'

Cross References 1

  • 1. Cited from Amos 9:11, 12; [Jeremiah 12:15]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.