Tabitha

(gazelle), also called Dorcas by St. Luke, a female disciple of Joppa, "full of good works" among which that of making clothes for the poor is specifically mentioned. While St. Peter was at the neighboring town of Lydda, Tabitha, died; upon which the disciples at Joppa sent an urgent message to the apostle begging him to come to them without delay. Upon his arrival Peter found the deceased already prepared for burial, and laid out in an upper chamber, where she was surrounded by the recipients and the tokens of her charity after the example of our Saviour in the house of Jairus, (Matthew 9:25; Mark 5:40) "Peter put them all forth," prayed for the divine assistance, and then commanded Tabitha to arise. Comp. (Mark 5:41; Luke 8:51) She opened-her eyes and sat up, and then, assisted by the apostle, rose from her couch. This great miracle, as we are further told produced an extraordinary effect in Joppa, and was the occasion of many conversions there. (Acts 9:38-42) The name "Tabitha" is an Aramaic word signifying a "female gazelle." St. Luke gives "Dorcas" as the Greek equivalent of the name.