Aug 4, 2014

Simon the Tanner's House in Joppa

Many tours to the Holy Land do not spend much time exploring Joppa for the simple fact that there is not as much to see in comparison to other sites. However, for Christians, one stop in Joppa is the so-called house of Simon the Tanner, a house mentioned in Acts 9:43 and 10:6. Whether the current location is authentic is unknown. Also, most visitors are not allowed to enter the house. This was not always so as can be seen in the following account from the late 1800s.

"Under the conduct of our guide, we first visited the traditional site of the house of Simon the
tanner, mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.*[Acts 9:43; 10:6] The house, in part at least, is a modern structure, built, like the surrounding dwellings, of stone, with a flat roof, having a little low dome in the centre. Upon entering it, we found a large stone trough in the lower story, at one end of which was a well, with an old axle having four arms by which it was turned in drawing water. This well, it is alleged, was anciently used by Simon in his trade, but now seems to be used only for the ordinary purposes of a household. The property is in the possession of the Mohammedans, who have set apart one room as a place of prayer. This room was small and poorly lighted, dingy and altogether uninviting.

"From this point we ascended to the roof by an ancient flight of stone steps, which may indeed, with the foundations of the building, have come down from the times of the apostles. From the roof we enjoyed a very fine view of the surrounding buildings, and the yet turbulent sea breaking upon the ragged edges of the reef, where we had so lately made our dangerous passage."

Van Horne, David, Tent and Saddle Life in the Holy Land, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1886), 14-15.

Here is a more current picture of Simon the Tanner's house at night.

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