Acts 9:36-42

Acts 9:36-42
A Women’s Lectionary 13


36 Now in JoppaA there was a discipleB whose nameC was Tabitha,D which in GreekE is Dorcas.F 

Notes on verse 36a

A “Joppa” = Ioppe. 10x in NT– all in Acts. From Hebrew Yapho (Joppa, a city); from yaphah (to be beautiful; properly, to be bright; to decorate). This is Joppa, a city whose name means “beauty” or “beautiful.” See
B “disciple” = mathetria. 1x in NT. From mathetes (a disciple, learner, or student); from matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is the word for a female disciple.
C “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
D “Tabitha” = Tabitha. 2x in NT. Perhaps from Aramaic Zibiah – related to Hebrew tsebiyyah (female gazelle); {from tsbiy (beauty, pleasant, splendor, roebuck); from tsabah (to swell up)} OR from tsaba (to ally, form the core of a group that works as a unit). This is Tabitha, a name that means “Gazelle.” See
E “in Greek” = diermeneuo + lego. Literally, “translated is called.” Diermeneuo is 6x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + hermeneuo (to interpret, explain, translate); {probably from Hermes (Greek god who was messenger to the other gods, also god of language); perhaps from ereo (to say, tell, speak)}. This is to explain thoroughly, interpret, or translate. Lego is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.
F “Dorcas” = Dorkas. 2x in NT. From derkomai (to see clearly). This is Dorcas, meaning “gazelle,” “deer,” or “seer.” See

She was devotedG to goodH worksI and acts of charity.J, K 

Notes on verse 36b

G “devoted” = pleres. 16x in NT. From pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is to be full, complete, abounding in, or occupied with.
H “good” = agathos. This is good, a benefit, or a good thing. It is good by its very nature, intrinsically good. A different word, kalos, refers to external signs of goodness.
I “works” = ergon. From ergo (to work, accomplish, do). This is work, task, deed, labor, effort.
J “acts of charity” = eleemosune + hos + poieo. Eleemosune is 13x in NT. From eleos (mercy, pity, tender mercy, or compassion; generally understood in action by word or deed). This is mercy, pity, alms, or charity. It is compassion as enacted towards the poor. When we sing or say “kyrie eleison” (Lord, have mercy), it is from this root verb. Poieo is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
K Literally, “she was full of good works and of alms that she continually did.”

37 LAt that timeM she became illN and died.O When they had washedP her, they laidQ her in a room upstairs.R 

Notes on verse 37

L {untranslated} = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
M “time” = hemera. Perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is day, time, or daybreak.
N “became ill” = astheneo. From asthenes (not having strength or weak in a moral sense; sick); {from a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}}. This is sick, feeble, languishing, impotent. Can also refer to moral weakness.
O “died” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.
P “washed” = louo. 5x in NT. This is bathing and washing. It can be literal or ritual cleansing, but refers particularly to the whole body.
Q “laid” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.
R “room upstairs” = huperoon. 4x in NT. From huperoos(upper); from huper (over, above, beyond). This refers to an upper chamber on the third floor.

38 Since LyddaS was near Joppa, the disciples,T who heardU that PeterV was there, sentW twoX menY to him

Notes on verse 38a

S “Lydda” = Ludda. 3x in NT. From Hebrew Lod (Lod, a city); perhaps named for king Ludos (“the region of Lydia”). This is Lydda or Lod, modern Ludd. See
T “disciples” = mathetes. Related to “disciple” in v36. See note B above.
U “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
V “Peter” = Petros. Related to petra (large rock that is connected and or projecting like a rock, ledge, or cliff; can also be cave or stony ground). This is Peter, a stone, pebble, or boulder.
W “sent” = apostello. From apo (from, away from) + stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up); {probably from histemi (to make to stand, stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand firm, be steadfast)}. This is to send forth, send away, dismiss, send as a messenger. It implies one that is sent for a particular mission or purpose rather than a quick errand. This is where “apostle” comes from.
X “two” = duo. This is two or both.
Y “men” = aner. This is man, male, husband, or fellow. It can also refer to an individual.

with the request,Z “Please comeAA to us without delay.”BB 

Notes on verse 38b

Z “request” = parakaleo. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud) {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is to call to, summon, invite, request, or beg. It can also be exhort or admonish. Also, this can be encourage, comfort, or console. This word has legal overtones and is used of one’s advocate in a courtroom. It is the root of the name of the Holy Spirit “paraclete” is our advocate and comforter.
AA “come” = dierchomai. From dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + erchomai (to come, go). This is to go through, come, depart, pierce, travel, traverse.
BB “delay” = okneo. 1x in NT. From oknos (shrinking or hesitation). This is to delay, be slow, to hesitate from doing something. Figuratively, it can mean to loathe.

39 So Peter got upCC and went withDD them; and when he arrived,EE they tookFF him to the room upstairs.

Notes on verse 39a

CC “got up” = anistemi. Related to “sent” in v38. From ana (upwards, up, again, back, anew) + histemi (see note W above). This is to raise up, rise, appear. It is to stand up literally or figuratively. Can also mean to resurrect.
DD “went with” = sunerchomai. Related to “come” in v38. From sun (with, together with) + erchomai (see note AA above). This is to go with, assemble, leave together with, cohabit.
EE “arrived” = paraginomai. Related to {untranslated} in v37. From para (from beside, by) + ginomai (see note L above). This is to arrive, appear, reach. It implies appearing publicly.
FF “took” = anago. From ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, drive, go). This is to lead up, offer, set sail, bring out, depart, loose.

AllGG the widowsHH stood besideII him,

Notes on verse 39b

GG “all” = pas. This is all or every.
HH “widows” = chera. Perhaps from the base of chasma (chasm, gap, gulf); from chasko (to yawn). This is widow literally or figuratively.
II “stood beside” = paristemi. Related to “sent” in v38 & “got up” in v39. From para (from beside, by) + histemi (see note W above). This is literally to place by stand. It can mean to present, exhibit, appear, bring, stand by, or prove. It can also mean to be ready, to assist, to yield, or to commend.

weepingJJ and showingKK tunicsLL and other clothingMM that Dorcas had madeNN while she was with them. 

Notes on verse 39c

JJ “weeping” = klaio. This is to weep, lament, or sob. It is weeping aloud.
KK “showing” = epideiknumi. 7x in NT. From epi (on, upon, among, what is fitting) + deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is to show, demonstrate, prove, or display.
LL “tunics” = chiton. 11x in NT. From a Semitic language – see Hebrew kethoneth (tunic). Root means to cover. This is the garment worn beneath the cloak or robe – the one that is closest to the skin.
MM “clothing” = himation. From heima (garment) OR from ennumi (to put on). This is the outer garment, cloak, robe, or mantle. It is worn loosely over a tunic.
NN “made” = poieo. Same as “acts of charity” in v36. See note J above.

40 Peter putOO all of them outside, and then he knelt downPP and prayed.QQ He turnedRR to the bodySS and said, “Tabitha, get up.”

Notes on verse 40a

OO “put” = ekballo. From ek (from, from out of) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop). This is to throw, put out, produce, expel, banish. It is eject in a literal or figurative sense.
PP “knelt down” = tithemi + ho + gonu. Literally, “bowed the knees.” Tithemi is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.
QQ “prayed” = proseuchomai. From pros (advantageous for, at, toward) + euchomai (to wish, make a request, pray). This is to pray or pray for, to worship or supplicate. It is more literally exchanging one’s own wishes for God’s.
RR “turned” = epistrepho. From epi (on, upon, among, what is fitting) + strepho (to turn, change, turn back, be converted; to turn around completely to take the opposite path or a completely different one); {from trope (turning, shifting, a revolution; figuratively, a variation); from trepo (to turn)}. This is to turn, return, or come again. It can also mean to revert. It is turning in a literal or figurative sense – also a moral turning.
SS “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.

Then she openedTT her eyes,UU and seeingVV Peter, she sat up.WW 41 He gaveXX her his handYY and helped her up.ZZ

Notes on verses 40b-41a

TT “opened” = anoigo. From ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew) + oigo (to open). This is to open in  literal or figurative sense.
UU “eyes” = ophthalmos. From optanomai (to appear, be seen by); from horao (to see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience; to stare at, which implies clear discernment; by extension, attending to what was seen and learned; to see, often with a metaphorical sense, which can include inward spiritual seeing). This is eye or sight. It is used figuratively for the mind’s eye, a vision, or for envy.
VV “seeing” = horao. Related to “eyes” in v40. See note UU above.
WW “sat up” = anakathizo. 2x in NT – Jesus raising the Widow’s son at Nain in Luke 7:15 & Peter raising Tabitha in Acts 9:40. From ana (up, again, back, anew) + kathizo (to sit, set, appoint, stay, rest); {from kathezomai (to sit down, be seated); {from kata (down, against, according to, among) + hezomai (to sit); {from aphedron (a seat, a base)}}. This is to sit up or set up.
XX “gave” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
YY “hand” = cheir. This is the hand in a literal sense. Figuratively, the hand is the means a person uses to accomplish things so it can also mean power, means, or instrument.
ZZ “helped…up” = anistemi. Same as “got up” in v39. See note CC above.

Then callingAAA the saintsBBB and widows, he showedCCC her to be alive.DDD 

Notes on verse 41b

AAA “calling” = phoneo. From phone (voice, sound, tone or noise; also a language or dialect); probably from phemi to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is to call out, summon, shout, address. It is making a sound whether of an animal, a person, or an instrument.
BBB “saints” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
CCC “showed” = paristemi. Same as “stood beside” in v39. See note II above.
DDD “be alive” = zao. This is to live literally or figuratively. It is used for life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.

42 This becameEEE knownFFF throughoutGGG Joppa, and manyHHH believedIII in the Lord.JJJ 

Notes on verse 42

EEE “became” = ginomai. Same as {untranslated} in v37. See note L above.
FFF “known” = gnostos. Related to “name” in v36. 15x in NT. From ginosko (see note C above). This is known, notable, or an acquaintance.
GGG “throughout” = holos. This is whole, complete, or entire. It is a state where every member is present and functioning in concert. This is the root of the word “whole.”
HHH “many” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.
III “believed” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
JJJ “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.

Image credit: “How handwoven dhaka fabric in Nepal is made” by, 2014.

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