Acts 9:43

ESV And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.
NIV Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.
NASB And Peter stayed in Joppa many days with a tanner named Simon.
CSB Peter stayed for some time in Joppa with Simon, a leather tanner.
NLT And Peter stayed a long time in Joppa, living with Simon, a tanner of hides.
KJV And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.

What does Acts 9:43 mean?

Luke's understated account of Peter's travels belie the importance of what is about to happen. Saul, the violent persecutor of the church (Acts 8:1–3; 9:1–2), has defied his Pharisaical upbringing and become a Jesus-follower (Acts 9:13–19). His defection has angered the Jews—particularly those, like him, from the Greek culture (Acts 9:29), but it has given temporary freedom for the Jewish Jesus-followers to spread their message (Acts 9:31). Peter has taken advantage of the calm to visit two insignificant towns near the western border of Judea and Samaria. For the people in those towns, the news and grace of Jesus changes their lives for eternity. In the bigger picture, God has placed Peter there to change the world.

Tanners typically lived on the outskirts of town. Their trade involved stripping, soaking, and drying the hides of animals, which produces a notable stench. Simon lived by the Mediterranean Sea (Acts 10:6). In Judaism, tanners were ceremonially unclean as they dealt with dead animals all day. But Jesus taught His disciples to stay at the first house they were offered until they left town (Mark 6:10); even if someone with nicer accommodations offered, Peter would need to stay with whomever invited him first.

It is to this house that a Roman centurion named Cornelius will send two servants and one soldier to find Peter. Cornelius is a "devout man," meaning a Gentile who faithfully worships the Jewish God. Peter will go to his house and share the message of Jesus to a houseful of Cornelius' family, servants, and friends. Before Peter can lay hands on them or baptize them, the Holy Spirit will fall on them all. The promise God gave to Abraham is fulfilled, the world has been blessed through his line, and Jesus comes to the Gentiles (Genesis 22:18).

Most of the rest of the book of Acts records the mission of Paul, formerly Saul (Acts 13:9), to spread the news of Jesus to the Gentiles. As Jesus promised Ananias, Paul will suffer greatly (Acts 9:16). But it's likely Tabitha, who was known for making clothing for widows, is amazed that she had such a part in spreading the gospel to the world.
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