Simon the Tanner

Simon the Tanner of Joppa

Simon the Tanner

Acts 10:6-11 Simon the Tanner

Acts 10:12-15 Clean and Unclean Animals
ACTS 10:6  6 "He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”

Where in Joppa was Peter staying?
At the house of "Simon, a tanner" (Acts 10:6)

Why was Peter staying with a tanner poignant and significant?
Peter would not have been predisposed to stay with Simon because Jewish law deemed tanners unclean.

Tanners tanned hides that they stripped off of dead animals, including those that the Jewish law deemed unclean: "The carcass of any animal which divides the foot, but is not cloven-hoofed or does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Everyone who touches it shall be unclean. And whatever goes on its paws, among all kinds of animals that go on all fours, those are unclean to you. Whoever touches any such carcass shall be unclean until evening. Whoever carries any such carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. It is unclean to you" (Leviticus 11:26-28). The Jews already considered gentiles to be unclean. By drawing Peter into the home of a gentile tanner - the dirtiest of the dirty - God was breaking down barriers and preparing Peter as a vessel to pour out His blessing onto the gentiles.

ACTS 10:7-8  7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Who were Cornelius' emissaries to Peter?
"Two of his household servants" and a soldier who was close to him ("who waited on him continually") and who also believed in God ("devout") (Acts 10:7)

Did Cornelius simply order them to go and get Peter?
He "explained all these things to them" (Acts 10:8).

Why did he explain everything to them instead of just issuing an order?
The emissaries needed to explain to Peter why they had come for him, but also, Cornelius most likely wanted to share the news of the angel's visit with them. Imagine an angel appearing to you and speaking to you about your prayers. Wouldn't you be excited to share the news with the believers close to you?

ACTS 10:9-11  9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.

How far is Joppa from Caesarea?
Joppa is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Caesarea along the Mediterranean coast.

When did Cornelius' emissaries leave Caesarea and arrive in Joppa?
They left Caesarea sometime after 3 PM and "drew near" Joppa "the next day... about the sixth hour" (Acts 10:9), which is noon.

Where did Peter go to pray?
He went on the roof: "housetop" (Acts 10:9). Roofs in the Middle East are not sloped but flat and used as terraces. They are accessed by steps and usually have a low wall so that those on it can look around without falling off. While the house "made ready" (Acts 10:10) for lunch downstairs, Peter probably looked for and found a quiet place to pray.

What then happened to Peter?
He "became very hungry ..., fell into a trance" (Acts 10:10) "and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners [the four corners tied together overhead], descending to him and let down to the earth" (Acts 10:11).

How big was the "great sheet" (Acts 10:11) from heaven that he saw?
Big enough to contain "all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air" (Acts 10:12).