|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:36-43 Many are full of good words, who are empty and barren in good works; but Tabitha was a great doer, no great talker. Christians who have not property to give in charity, may yet be able to do acts of charity, working with their hands, or walking with their feet, for the good of others. Those are certainly best praised whose own works praise them, whether the words of others do so or not. But such are ungrateful indeed, who have kindness shown them, and will not acknowledge it, by showing the kindness that is done them. While we live upon the fulness of Christ for our whole salvation, we should desire to be full of good works, for the honour of his name, and for the benefit of his saints. Such characters as Dorcas are useful where they dwell, as showing the excellency of the word of truth by their lives. How mean then the cares of the numerous females who seek no distinction but outward decoration, and who waste their lives in the trifling pursuits of dress and vanity! Power went along with the word, and Dorcas came to life. Thus in the raising of dead souls to spiritual life, the first sign of life is the opening of the eyes of the mind. Here we see that the Lord can make up every loss; that he overrules every event for the good of those who trust in him, and for the glory of his name.
Verse 43. - Abode for tarried, A.V. Many days (ἡμέρας ἱκανάς); the same phrase as ver. 23; spoken of a time of indeterminate length. Here probably it means some months, luring which Peter would be evangelizing the whole neighborhood. The Jews are said to have considered the trade of a tanner unclean; but if this were so, it would not be safe to infer that Peter was already indifferent to ceremonial uncleanness. We know he was not so (Acts 10:14), but probably in his line of life he could not act up to all the nicer distinctions of the strictest Pharisees.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass,.... Or so it was;
that he tarried many days in Joppa; conversing with the saints, confirming the disciples, and preaching the Gospel, to the conversion of sinners; and his abode
was with one Simon a tanner; it seems as if persons of this trade used to dwell in towns near the sea, as fit for their business; so we read of some at Sidon, a city on the sea coast, as Joppa was;
"it happened at Sidon that a certain "tanner", (the same word here used, adopted into the Hebrew language,) died, and he had a brother a tanner, &c. (r)''
where the Gemara (s) distinguishes between a great tanner and a little tanner; the latter, the gloss says, is one that is poor and has but few skins: which of these Simon was, cannot be said. This business was very contemptible with the Jews; they say (t),
"woe to him whose trade is a tanner:''
and further observe (u) that they never make one a king, nor a high priest: but their doctors many of them were of as mean trades, as shoemakers, skinners, &c. See Gill on Mark 6:3 and Simon the Athenian philosopher was "a leather cutter" (w); and according to the Ethiopic version, this our Simon was a shoemaker; with him Peter chose to abide, and not with Dorcas.
(r) Misn. Cetubot, c. 7. sect. 10. (s) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 77. 1.((t) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 82. 2. & Bava Bathra, fol. 16. 2.((u) Kiddush, fol. 82. 1.((w) Laert. in Vit. Simon.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
43. with one Simon a tanner—a trade regarded by the Jews as half unclean, and consequently disreputable, from the contact with dead animals and blood which was connected with it. For this reason, even by other nations, it is usually carried on at some distance from towns; accordingly, Simon's house was "by the seaside" (Ac 10:6). Peter's lodging there shows him already to some extent above Jewish prejudice.
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