A friend of mine has decided that she is going to help me become a writer and has been giving me a few assignments to complete. This time my subject is Tabitha. Me having vaguely heard of Tabitha, if at all, decided to do some research so as not to disappoint my mentor.
Consequently, when I did a Google search for Tabitha, the first sentence that came up was: “Tabitha is an American fantasy sitcom and a spin-off of Bewitched that aired on ABC from September 10, 1977 to January 14, 1978.”
Now of course, we do not want to discuss a fictional character from someone’s childhood, but a significant female character of the Bible. So, let’s get started on the story of this little known, but wonderfully generous woman!
Acts 9:32-35 gives us just a little background and context. In these scriptures, we find Peter, who was traveling from place to place, visiting the town of Lydda. During this time, he meets a man named Aeneas who was paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Peter proclaims to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, roll up your sleeping mat!” (verse 34). Aeneas is then healed and the whole population of Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord after seeing him walking around. This is where Tabitha, also known as Dorcas, is introduced (Acts 9:36-42).
There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). Acts 9:36 NLT
Research finds that Tabitha was a Christian woman who lived in Joppa and was one of Jesus’ early disciples.
The name Tabitha is a Hebrew baby name, meaning beauty and grace. It is derived from the Aramaic word for gazelle. Dorcas, a Greek name, also means gazelle. During this period, there was a mixed population of Jews and Gentiles in the area. Both groups commonly had a Hebrew and Greek name. Thus, the writer of Acts identifies her by both her names.
Tabitha is said to have been doing “kind things for others and helping the poor” (verse 36). However, Tabitha suddenly becomes ill and dies. As was the custom of that day, her body was washed for burial and then laid in an upstairs room for viewing. Believers heard that Peter was nearby and sent two men to beg him to come as soon as possible.
The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Ezekiel 37:1-2 NLT
In this Old Testament passage, God gives Ezekiel a vision of a large valley full of human bones. Interestingly, this is not an area of fresh war, but a desolate valley covered with bones “scattered everywhere.” The bones are brittle in nature, described as “completely dried out.” This is an area of isolation and hopelessness. Depressing to say the least.
Then God asked Ezekiel something seemingly impossible.
Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.” Ezekiel 37:3 NLT