Acts 9:40
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(40) Peter put them all forth.—We may, perhaps, trace in Peter’s action his recollection of what our Lord had done in the case of the daughter of Jairus (see Notes on Matthew 9:23-24), at which he had been present. The work was one not to be accomplished by the mere utterance of a name, nor as by his “own power or holiness” (Acts 3:12), but by the power of the prayer of faith, and this called for the silence and solitude of communion with God. Even the very words which were uttered, if he spoke in Aramaic, must have been, with the change of a single letter, the same as the Talitha cumi of Mark 5:41. The utterance of the words implied the internal assurance that the prayer had been answered.

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.But Peter put them all forth - From the room. See a similar case in Matthew 9:25. Why this was done is not said. Perhaps it was because he did not wish to appear as if seeking publicity. If done in the presence of many persons, it might seem like ostentation. Others suppose it was that he might offer more fervent prayer to God than he would be willing they should witness Compare 2 Kings 4:33.

Tabitha, arise - Compare Mark 5:41-42.

40-43. Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down—the one in imitation of his Master's way (Lu 8:54; and compare 2Ki 4:33); the other, in striking contrast with it. The kneeling became the lowly servant, but not the Lord Himself, of whom it is never once recorded that he knelt in the performance of a miracle.

opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up—The graphic minuteness of detail here imparts to the narrative an air of charming reality.

Peter put them all forth; Peter put them out, that he might pray the more earnestly, without distraction or interruption; thus Elisha shut the door to him when he prayed for the Shunammite’s son, 2 Kings 4:33.

Kneeled down; this his kneeling is mentioned, to recommend reverence in our praying unto God.

And prayed: Peter, by his betaking himself unto prayer, would show, that he could do nothing by his own power, but it must come from above; and he had every mercy as much precariously, and by prayer, as any others. But Peter put them all forth,.... As he had seen his Lord and Master do, when he raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead, Luke 8:54

and kneeled down and prayed; it may be, as yet, he had not the mind of God in this matter, and therefore betook himself to prayer, in which he chose to be private and alone:

and turning him to the body; the corpse of Dorcas, after he had prayed, and was well assured that the power of Christ would be exerted in raising of it:

said, Tabitha, arise; which words were spoken in the name and faith of Christ, and were all one as, if Christ himself had spoken them; for to his power, and not to the apostles, is the following miracle to be ascribed: and she opened her eyes; which, upon her death, had been closed by her friends; and perhaps the napkin was not yet bound about her face: or if it was, she must remove it ere she could open her eyes and see Peter:

and when she saw Peter; whom she might know:

she sat up; upon the bed or bier on which she lay.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 9:40-43. The putting out (comp. Matthew 9:25; Mark 5:40; Luke 8:54) of all present took place in order to preserve the earnestness of the prayer and its result from every disturbing influence.

τὸ σῶμα] the dead body. See on Luke 17:37. On ἀνεκάθισε, comp. Luke 7:15.

The explanation of the fact as an awakening from apparent death (see particularly Eck, Versuch d. Wundergesch. d. N. T. aus natürl. Urs. z. erklären, p. 248 ff.) is exegetically at decided variance with Acts 9:37, but is also to be rejected historically, as the revival of the actually dead Tabitha has its historical precedents in the raisings of the dead by Jesus.[253] Ewald’s view also amounts ultimately to an apparent death (p. 245), placing the revival at that boundary-line, “where there may scarcely be still the last spark of life in a man.” Baur, in accordance with his foregone conclusions, denies all historical character to the miracles at Lydda and Joppa, holding that they are narratives of evangelical miracles transferred to Peter (comp. also Zeller, p. 177 f.); and that the very name Ταβιθά is probably derived simply from the ταλιθά κοῦμι, Mark 5:40, for Ταβιθά properly (?) denotes nothing but maiden.

καί] and in particular.

Acts 9:42. ἐπί] direction of the faith, as in Acts 9:17, Acts 16:31, Acts 22:19; Romans 4:24.

Acts 9:43. βυρσεῖ] although the trade of a tanner, on account of its being occupied with dead animals, was esteemed unclean (Wetstein and Schoettgen); which Peter now disregarded.

The word βυρσεύς (in Artemidorus and others) has also passed into the language of the Talmud (בורסי). The more classical term is βυρσοδέΨης, Plat. Conv. p. 221 E; Aristoph. Plut. 166.

[253] Hence it is just as unnecessary as it is arbitrary to assume, with Lange, apost. Zeitalt. II. p. 129, that Tabitha had for a considerable time stood in spiritual rapport with Peter, and that this was the vehicle of the reviving agency.Acts 9:40. ἐκβαλὼν δὲ ἔξω πάντας: nothing could be more natural than this action of St. Peter as a reminiscence of his Master’s action, when He was about to perform a similar miracle, cf. Matthew 9:25, Mark 5:40 (cf. 2 Kings 4:33, and 2 Kings 4:4-5 in same chapter), but in Luke 8:54 it is noteworthy that the similar words are omitted by W.H[234] and the revisers, see above. In St. Matthew the multitude ὁ ὄχλος is put out, but in St. Mark (and St. Luke), whilst all are described as put out (the same verb), Peter, James and John, with the parents, are allowed to be present at the miracle. Weiss points out the reminiscence of Mark 5:40, but this we might expect if St. Mark’s Gospel comes to us through St. Peter. St. Chrysostom marks the action of St. Peter as showing how entirely free he was from any attempt at display.—θεὶς τὰ γόνατα, see note on Acts 7:60, “hoc Dominus ipse non fecerat” Blass. St. Peter had been present on each of the three occasions recorded in the Gospels when his Master had raised the dead, but he does not venture at once to speak the word of power, but like Elijah or Elisha kneels down in prayer (see Rendall’s note).—Τ. ἀνάστηθι, cf. Mark 5:41. Here again we note the close agreement with St. Mark’s narrative—the words to the damsel are not given at all by Matthew 9:25, and by St. Luke in Greek, Luke 8:54, not in Aramaic as by Mark. On the absurdity of identifying the Ταβιθά here with the Ταλιθά of Mark 5:41 see Nösgen and Zöckler, in loco. It may suffice to note with Lumby that in each case an interpretation of the word used is given.—ἀνεκάθισε: not found in LXX, and used only by St. Luke in this passage and in his Gospel, Acts 7:15 (but [235] has ἐκάθισεν, which W.H[236] reads only in margin), in both cases of a person restored to life and sitting up. In this intransitive sense it is almost entirely confined to medical writers, to describe patients sitting up in bed. It occurs in Plato, Phædo, 60 B, but in the middle voice, and with the words ἐπὶ τὴν κλίνην expressed: in Xen., Cvr., v., 7, it is also used, but in a different sense (to sit down again), cf. Hobart, pp. 11, 40, 41, who also notices that the circumstantial details of the gradual recovery of Tabitha are quite in the style of medical description. τὸ σῶμα, Luke 17:37, the word is quite classical for a dead body, so too in LXX, cf. Deuteronomy 21:23, 1 Kings 13:24, 1Ma 11:4, 2Ma 9:29. Everything, as Wendt admits (1888), points to the fact that no apparent death, or a raising by natural means, is thought of by the narrator. Holtzmann and Pfleiderer can only find a parallel here with Acts 20:9-12, but none can read the two narratives without seeing their independence, except in the main fact that both narrate a similar miracle.—ἤνοιξε τοὺς ὀφθ.: to this there is nothing corresponding in the details given by the Gospel narratives, as Blass points out.

[234] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[235] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[236] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.40. But Peter put them all forth] As Christ had done (Matthew 9:25) at the raising of Jairus’ daughter, on which occasion Peter had been present.

and kneeled down, and prayed] Asking God that the consolation to be given to these mourners might be the restoration of the dead woman to life.

and turning him to the body] When by the Spirit’s admonition he knew that his prayer was heard.

said, Tabitha, arise] If he spake in the Aramaic dialect, as is most probable, his utterance must have been nearly the same as that of our Lord (Mark 5:41), Talitha cumi, at the raising of the daughter of Jairus. But when both these utterances are interpreted in the places where they occur, it is astonishing to find those who would suggest that the Tabitha of this verse is an adaptation of the Talitha of the Gospel.Acts 9:40. Ἑκβαλὼν, having put out) Solitude was in all respects suited to the ardour of his prayer and the greatness of the miracle: and the astonished admiration and faith on the part of all afterwards was the greater on that account.—ἀνεκάθισε) she sat up: Luke 7:15, “He that was dead sat up” (the young man at Nain).Verse 40. - Turning for turning him, A.V.; he said for said, A.V. Peter's action in putting them all forth seems to have been framed on the model of that scene at which he had been present when Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus (see Luke 8:54 [T.R.]; Matthew 9:25; Mark 5:40). Privacy for the more earnest concentrated prayer was doubtless what he sought. Kneeled down; θεὶς τὰ γόνατα. The same expression as in Acts 7:60; Acts 20:36; Acts 21:5; Luke 22:41. It occurs also in Mark 15:19. Tabitha, arise. Exactly the same address as our Lord's "Talitha cumi" (Mark 5:40), but, as Lange observes, with this difference, that in the case of Peter it was preceded by prayer; comp. also Luke 7:14 (where the Aramean address was probably in the same form); John 11:43.
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