What does Acts 9:40 mean?
ESV: But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
NIV: Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, 'Tabitha, get up.' She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.
NASB: But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, 'Tabitha, arise.' And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
CSB: Peter sent them all out of the room. He knelt down, prayed, and turning toward the body said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.
NLT: But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, 'Get up, Tabitha.' And she opened her eyes! When she saw Peter, she sat up!
KJV: But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
NKJV: But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
Verse Commentary:
Peter has come to the town of Joppa, near modern-day Tel Aviv, to resurrect a respected Jesus-follower named Tabitha. When he arrives, he is swarmed by widows, mourning Tabitha's loss and showing off the garments she made for them (Acts 9:26–39).

The scene parallels that of Jairus' daughter in Mark 5:35–43. Jesus came to Jairus' house after his daughter had died. The house was filled with weeping and wailing. Like Peter, Jesus removed the mourners to provide a quieter space. And both simply told the dead to "arise."

There are distinct differences, as well. The professional mourners in Jairus' house were insincere actors: their job was to go to the homes of the newly dead and make a great show, with great commotion. Tabitha's friends were genuinely distraught. Tabitha's friends also had great faith in Jesus' healing power. Peter had been in Lydda that morning, about ten miles away. Tabitha's friends needed him to come before she would be buried—before sundown—so they rushed up to Lydda and rushed back with Peter; the "mourners" at Jairus' house told him his daughter was dead and there was no hope.

The crowd at Jairus' house practiced a religion that did not value hope. They did not understand that their Messiah was standing in front of them. The crowd at Tabitha's house had great hope that Jesus would raise their sister through His apostle Peter. Their hope was rewarded.

The other, obvious, similarity between the two stories is that when Jesus raised the little girl, He said, "Talitha cumi" (Mark 5:41) while Peter said "Tabitha, arise." Talitha is Aramaic for "maiden" or "little girl." It's thought that Mark included the Aramaic to prove that Jesus didn't use some kind of magic spell. "Tabitha" is the woman's name; it is the Greek transliteration for the Aramaic word that means "gazelle," which in Greek is Dorcas. Cumi or koumi is Aramaic for "arise" while Luke records Peter using anistēmi which is Greek for "arise." It's likely that Peter spoke Aramaic and Luke translated his words to Greek for Theophilus (Acts 1:1).
Verse Context:
Acts 9:36–43 describes Peter raising a disciple named Tabitha—or Dorcas in Greek—to life. He has been in Lydda, about 15 miles southeast, where he healed Aeneas from paralysis and taught the people of the city about Jesus (Acts 9:32–35). Soon, he will receive a request to travel 40 miles north to Caesarea Maritima where he will meet a Roman centurion. Peter will share the story of Jesus, and a houseful of Gentiles will receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 10). Given his upbringing, Peter might think of Gentiles being saved as a greater miracle than Tabitha coming back to life!
Chapter Summary:
Acts 9 sets the stage for the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. Saul continues the persecution of the church by traveling to Damascus to arrest Jesus-followers. Before he reaches the city, Jesus confronts him. Saul realizes Jesus is the Messiah and immediately starts spreading the news, first in Damascus and later in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Peter travels to modern-day Tel Aviv to heal a paralyzed man and bring a dead woman back to life. The miracles aren't unusual, but the story leaves him in Joppa, poised to take the next step in Jesus' mandate to be His witness (Acts 1:8).
Chapter Context:
The murder of the Jesus-follower Stephen has ignited a fierce persecution against the church, led by a young Pharisee-trained man named Saul (Acts 7:54—8:3; 9:1–2). When he realizes Jesus truly is the Messiah, that fervor fuels his own evangelism (Acts 9:3–30). Meanwhile, Peter travels to the coast of Judea. Soon, he will teach a prominent Gentile household about Jesus and discover that Gentiles can be saved (Acts 10). The stage will be set for Saul to spread the saving news of Jesus to ''the end of the earth'' (Acts 1:8) under the Greek version of his name: Paul.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 5/26/2024 10:53:41 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.