Acts 9:36

36 Down the road a way in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, "Gazelle" in our language. She was well-known for doing good and helping out.

Acts 9:36 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 9:36

Now there was at Joppa
The same with Japho, ( Joshua 19:46 ) a sea port town in the tribe of Dan, said by some historians F23 to be a very ancient one, even before the flood. It is now called Jaffa, and its name, in the Hebrew tongue, signifies beauty: some say it had its name from Jope, the daughter of Aeolus, the wife of Cepheus, the founder of it; and others derive it from the name of Japhet, because it looks towards Europe, which is inhabited by the sons of Japhet. It was built upon a hill, as Pliny F24 says; and so high, as Strabo F25 reports, that Jerusalem, the metropolis of Judea, might be seen from thence, which was distant from it forty miles; as may be concluded from what Jerom, F26 says, who lived at Bethlehem many years: his words are; from Joppa, to our little village Bethlehem, are forty six miles; now Bethlehem was six miles distant from Jerusalem, to the south of it, and Joppa was to the west of it. The place is well known by Jonah's taking ship there, and going for Tarshish, when he was cast into the sea, and devoured by a fish; from whence the Ionian sea might have its name: and this was the occasion of the fable of Andromeda being exposed to a fish of a prodigious size at this place; the bones of which, Pliny F1 relates, were brought to Rome from hence, being forty foot long; and, the stones, to which she was bound, Jerom F2 says, were shown in his time on this shore: and here also, the inhabitants report, may be seen some stones in the sea, on which Peter stood and fished, when he dwelt in this place.

A certain disciple, called Tabitha;
this was a woman's name, the masculine name was Tabi. R. Gamaliel had a manservant of this name {c}, and also a maidservant, whose name was Tabitha F4; yea, every maidservant of his was called mother Tabitha, and every manservant father Tabi F5:

which by interpretation is called Dorcas;
which signifies a roe in the Greek language, as Tabitha does in the Syriac:

this woman was full of good works;
was constantly employed in doing good; her works were both many and good:

and alms deeds which she did;
she was very kind and beneficent to the poor; she wrought with her hands much for their sakes, as appears by what follows.


F23 Mela, l. 1. Solin. Polyhistor. c. 47. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 13.
F24 Nat. Hist. ib.
F25 Geograph. l. 16.
F26 Epist. ad Dardanum, Tom. 3, fol. 23. K.
F1 Nat. Hist. l. 9. c. 5.
F2 Comment. in Jonam, c. 1. v. 3.
F3 Misn. Beracot, c. 2. sect. 7.
F4 T. Hieros. Nidda, fol. 49. 4. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 19. fol. 160. 4.
F5 Massecheth Semachot, c. 1. sect. 13.

Acts 9:36 In-Context

34 Peter said, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed!" And he did it - jumped right out of bed.
35 Everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him walking around and woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them.
36 Down the road a way in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, "Gazelle" in our language. She was well-known for doing good and helping out.
37 During the time Peter was in the area she became sick and died. Her friends prepared her body for burial and put her in a cool room.
38 Some of the disciples had heard that Peter was visiting in nearby Lydda and sent two men to ask if he would be so kind as to come over.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.