Joppa and Simon the Tanner, Jonah, Dorcas (Tabitha)

Joppa (alt. Jaffa,Yafo) is part of the present day Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Located on the Mediterranean, it was a seaport even in ancient times. The earliest known reference to Joppa is found in inscriptions on the wall of Karnak temple in Egypt. In it, Thutmose III (ruled circa 1483 to 1450 B.C., sometimes written as Tuthmosis III) boasts of capturing a number of cities in Israel, including Joppa. An early biblical reference is found in regards to Jonah. While he was trying to flee from God, he went to this seaport to book passage.

Jonah 1:3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. (NIV)

Looking from the area of Joppa to the main part of Tel Aviv along the Mediterranean

In the New Testament Joppa is mentioned in regards to Peter a couple of times, firstly in regards to the miracle of a woman who had become ill and died being raised back to life.

Acts 9:36-43 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas ), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!" 39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. 40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon. (NIV)

This passage ends by telling us that Peter was subsequently staying at the home of Simon the Tanner, where he was when the angel told the centurion Cornelius to send for him.

Acts 10:5-6 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner , whose house is by the sea." (NIV)

Not far from the sea, this ancient alley leads down to the traditional location
of Simon the tanner's house.

The door of Simon's house (traditional).
This current house was rebuilt about 700 years ago

While many traditional locations are merely later and invented traditions, some are based in ancient memory and long standing knowledge. It appears this could be one of them as excavations under this location show that it was the site of a first century Roman era tannery. The artifacts that were found do not identify Simon, but it is not improbable that it could have been his house.

 The walls of a Jewish home found under the plaza in old Jaffa.
Abandoned circa 67AD at the time of the great rebellion against the Romans