The Patron Saint of People Punning on Your Name

Today is the day of St. Tabitha, aka St. Dorcas. She appears in the Acts of the Apostles, being raised from the dead by St. Peter.

“Now in Joppa [today’s Jaffa] there was a disciple named Tabitha, which translated means Dorcas. She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving. Now during those days she fell sick and died, so after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs.

“Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose up and went with them.

“When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs where all the widows came to him weeping and showing him the tunics and cloaks that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, rise up.” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. He gave her his hand and raised her up, and when he had called the holy ones and the widows, he presented her alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many came to believe in the Lord.”

Acts 9:36-42

The interesting and funny part, which I never noticed before, was that St. Peter’s story about Jesus raising a little girl from the dead is in the Gospel of Mark. And he remembered that Jesus brought her back to life by saying in Aramaic, “Talitha, koum.”

So here he is, talking to a woman with the Aramaic name of Tabitha. And what did he probably say in Aramaic, possibly while having a flashback?

“Tabitha, koum.”

Heh heh heh. Cracks me up. I never saw it before this hour, and that makes me sad!

(The Greek isn’t the same, though. Mark says, “Lego egeire,” (I say to you, get up), and Acts says, “anastesthi,” (arise).)

Tabitha (probably pronounced ta-bi-THA) meant “female gazelle.” The Hebrew is “tsbiya.” And “dorcas” also means “gazelle.”

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