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ACTS
The continued Life of Jesus through the Apostles

CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN

"Paul Prophesies"
Key Verse = Acts 27:25

  1. The Voyage to Rome Begins
  2. Paul's Warning Ignored
  3. The Euroclydon
  4. Shipwrecked on Malta



THE  VOYAGE  TO  ROME  BEGINS

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Acts 27:1 & 2
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(1)  And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment.

And when it was determined that he should sail into Italy, and that Paul, with the other prisoners, should be delivered to a centurion, named Julius, of the band Augusta.

(2)  So, entering a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us.

Going on board a ship of Adrumetum, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia, Aristarchus, the Macedonian of Thessalonica, continuing with us.


We should sail to Italy
The use of the term "we" here shows that the author of this book, Luke, was with Paul. He had been his traveling companion, and though he had not been accused, yet it was resolved that he should still accompany him. Whether he went at his own expense, or whether he was sent at the expense of the Roman government, does not appear.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

Luke had not included himself since Acts 21:18, but now he joined Paul and Aristarchus (Acts 19:29; 20:24) for the voyage to Rome. It is possible that Luke was allowed to go as Paul's physician and Aristarchus as Paul's personal attendant. How Paul must have thanked God for his faithful friends who gave up their liberty, and even risked their lives, that he might have the help he needed. There is no evidence that either of these men had been arrested, yet Paul referred to Aristarchus as a "fellow prisoner" (Colossians 4:10). This could refer to a voluntary imprisonment on his part in order to assist Paul. Paul was not the only prisoner that Julius and his men were taking to Rome, for there were "certain other prisoners" with them. The Greek word means "others of a different kind" and may suggest that unlike Paul, these men were going to Rome to die and not to stand trial. What mercy that they met Paul who could tell them how to go to heaven when they died!
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

Other prisoners
Who were probably also sent to Rome for a trial before the emperor. Dr. Lardner has proved that it was common to send prisoners from Judea and other provinces to Rome (Credibility, part i. chapter 10, section 10, pp. 248,249).

The "other prisoners" may have been sent for trial as Roman citizens, but a higher number of those sent normally were convicted criminals to be killed in the games for the entertainment of the Roman public.

Julius of the Augustan Regiment
This was a Roman cohort which had the honor of bearing the name of the Emperor (The August, or Venerable. It was a title Roman Emperors assumed following the death of Julius Caesar.). It appears from Josephus that when Felix was procurator of Judea, the Roman garrison at Caesarea was chiefly composed of soldiers who were natives of Syria (mostly Samaritans). But it also appears that a small body of Roman soldiers was stationed there at the same time (probably to guard the procurators – apparently there were two cohorts: the Italian, of which Cornelius was a member; and this, the Augustus, of which Julius was a member). When Festus had occasion to send prisoners to Rome, he would of course entrust them to the care of an officer belonging to this select corpse, Julius became a fast friend of Paul on this journey to Rome.

A regiment was a division in the Roman army consisting of from 400 to 600 men. This was called "Augustus' band" in honor of the Roman emperor Augustus, and was probably distinguished in some way for the care in enlisting or selecting them. The Augustine cohort or band is mentioned by Suetonius in his Life of Nero, 20.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

"Augustan" was often an honorary term, and one cohort known in Syria-Palestine before and after this period bore that name. Centurions could be moved around; this one may have had his full company of eighty troops, although it might be hard to fit eighty more persons on the average Mediterranean cargo ship.

A ship of Adramyttium
A maritime town of Mysia, in Asia Minor, opposite to the island of Lesbos.

Shippers had low status but often made large profits. Ancient Mediterranean ships were quite small by modern standards; most of them weighed less than 250 tons, although Alexandrian grain ships were much heavier (often estimated at eight hundred tons or more). Adramyttium was southeast of Troas. Imperial messengers normally traveled by land, unless a ship was convenient, as this one proved to be.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

This was a ship which had been built there, or which sailed from that port, but which was then in the port of Caesarea. It is evident, from Acts 27:6, that this ship was not expected to sail to Italy, but that the centurion expected to find some other vessel into which he could put the prisoners to take them to Rome.
.
Coasts of Asia
Of Asia Minor. Probably the owners of the ship designed to make a coasting voyage along the southern part of Asia Minor, and to engage in traffic with the maritime towns and cities.

Aristarchus
This man is mentioned as Paul's companion in travel in Acts 19:29.
He afterward attended him to Macedonia, and returned with him to Asia, Acts 20:4.
He now appears to have attended him, not as a prisoner, but as a voluntary companion, choosing to share with him his dangers, and to enjoy the benefit of his society and friendship.
He went with him to Rome, and was a fellow-prisoner with him there (Colossians 4:10 "Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you").
He is mentioned as Paul's fellow-laborer (Philemon 24 "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers.")
 It was doubtless a great comfort to Paul to have with him two such valuable friends as Luke and Aristarchus; and it was an instance of great affection for him that they were not ashamed of his bonds, but were willing to share his dangers, and to expose themselves to peril for the sake of accompanying him to Rome.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(1)  Now when it was determined that we [including Luke] should sail for Italy, they turned Paul and some other prisoners over to a centurion of the imperial regiment named Julius.
(2)  And going aboard a ship from Adramyttium which was about to sail for the ports along the coast of [the province of] Asia, we put out to sea; and Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, accompanied us.

Acts 27:3 & 4
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(3)  And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care.

And the day following we came to Sidon. And Julius treating Paul courteously, permitted him to go to his friends, and to take care of himself.

(4)  When we had put to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.

And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.


Sidon
Sidon had a double harbor and was about seventy miles north of Caesarea, where they had started.

Sidon was about 67 miles north of Caesarea, and the passage could be easily accomplished, under favorable circumstances, in 24 hours. It is probable that the vessel, being a "coaster," put in there for purposes of trade. Sidon is the last city on the Phoenician coast in which the presence of the apostle can be traced.

The ship is opposed by the usual summer winds from the west or northwest. Thus, remaining close to the Syrian coast east of Cyprus, and northward to the south of Asia Minor, their voyage is much slower than the reverse voyage across open sea (21:1-3), although aided by land breezes.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

The centurion found a coastal ship leaving Caesarea, so they embarked and covered the eighty miles from Caesarea to Sidon in one day. In Sidon, Paul was permitted to visit his friends and put together the things needed for the long trip. Luke records the kindness of a Roman officer to the Apostle Paul, as well as the encouragement of the anonymous believers in Sidon. Their names are in God's book and they shall be rewarded one day (Philippians 4:3).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

Paul had frequently traveled in that direction in going to and returning from Jerusalem, and it is not improbable, therefore, that he had friends in all the principal cities.

Under the shelter of Cyprus
Or “under sailed,” another nautical expression, [This chapter is remarkable for the fullness and exactness of its nautical details, which the latest and most critical investigations have proven true.]. The best authorities explain it to mean “under the lee of Cyprus,” i.e. between the island and the wind. By getting into this strong current they would be able to make some way westward, even in the face of an unfavorable wind. This fact, derived from professional experience, shows the ship to have been managed just as it would have been at this day by the most experienced and skillful mariners.

By sailing "under Cyprus" is meant that they sailed along its coasts; they kept near to it; they thus endeavored to break off the violent winds. Instead of steering a direct course in the open sea, which would have exposed them to violent opposing winds, they kept near this large island, so that it was between them and the westerly winds. The force of the wind was thus broken, and the voyage was rendered less difficult and dangerous. They went between Cyprus and Asia Minor, leaving Cyprus to the left. A sailor would express the idea by saying that they sailed under the lee of Cyprus. Had it not been for the strong western winds, they would have left it on the right.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(3)  The following day we landed at Sidon, and Julius treated Paul in a loving way, with much consideration (kindness and care), permitting him to go to his friends [there] and be refreshed and be cared for.
(4)  After putting to sea from there we passed to the leeward (south side) of Cyprus [for protection], for the winds were contrary to us.

Acts 27:5 & 6
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(5)  And when we had sailed over the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.

And sailing over the sea of Cilicia, and Pamphylia, we came to Lystra, which is in Lycia:

(6)  There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board.

And there the centurion finding a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy, removed us into it.


Myra was two miles from its harbor. The soldiers and their prisoners might have gone on by land, but the centurion is able to find another ship.

Rome's grain fleet dominated Mediterranean trade; ships from Alexandria, Egypt, would travel northward and then westward to bear their cargoes to Rome. This journey took from as little as fifty days to over two months, although the reverse voyage from Rome to Alexandria could take as little as nine to twelve days. The Egyptian grain ships were about 180 feet long, 45 feet wide and (at their deepest) over 40 feet deep; the fleet may have transported some 150,000 tons of Egyptian grain to Italy each year. This was the largest mercantile fleet known to Europe before the 1700 s. The Alexandrian fleet was the quickest means of transportation from Syria to Rome.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

From Sidon to Myra, the voyage became difficult because of the westerly winds. At Myra, Julius a Roman officer, found a ship going to Italy, so he abandoned the slower coastal ship and put Paul and the others on board this large grain ship from Egypt that carried 276 passengers (Acts 27:37-38). Rome depended on Egypt for much of its gram supply, and the Roman government gave special consideration to those who ran these ships.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

Lycia was a province in the southwestern part of Asia Minor, having Phrygia and Pisidia on the north, the Mediterranean on the south, Pamphylia on the east, and Carla on the west.

It appears from Acts 27:38 that the ship was laden with wheat. It is well known that great quantities of wheat were imported from Egypt to Rome, and it appears that this was one of the large ships which were employed for that purpose. Why the ship was on the coast of Asia Minor is not known but it is probable that it had been driven out of its way by adverse winds or tempests.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

Since Egypt was the granary of Italy, and this vessel was laden with wheat, we do not need wonder that it was large enough to carry 276 souls, passengers and crew together. Besides, the Egyptian merchantmen - among the largest in the Mediterranean - were equal to the largest merchantmen in our day. It may seem strange that, on their passage from Alexandria to Italy, they should be found at a Lycian port. But even still it is not unusual to stand to the north toward Asia Minor, for the sake of the current.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(5 ) And when we had sailed over [the whole length] of sea which lies off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we reached Myra in Lycia.
(6 ) There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy, and he transferred us to it.

Acts 27:7 & 8
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(7)  When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone.

And when for many days we had sailed slowly, and were scarce come over against Gnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed near Crete by Salmone:

(8)  Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.

And with much ado sailing by it, we came into a certain place, which is called Good-havens, nigh to which was the city of Thalassa.

The strong winds again hindered their progress so that "many days" were required to cover the 130 miles from Myra to Cnidus. The pilot then steered south-southwest to Crete, passing Salmone and finally struggling into Fair Havens. It had been a most difficult voyage, a portent of things to come. The centurion now had to decide whether to winter at Fair Havens or set sail and try to reach the port of Phoenix (Phoenicia, Acts 27:12) on the southern coast of Crete, about forty miles away. His approach to making this decision is a classic illustration of how not to determine the will of God.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

Shortly beyond Fair Havens, Crete's southern coast veers sharply northward, exposing a ship to the full harshness of a northwesterly wind blowing across the land.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

Cnidus

A city of Caria in the Roman province of Asia, past which Paul sailed.

At the Southwest corner of Asia Minor there projects for 90 miles into the sea a long, narrow peninsula, practically dividing the Aegean from the Mediterranean. It now bears the name of Cape Crio. Ships sailing along the southern coast of Asia Minor here turn northward as they round the point. Upon the very end of the peninsula, and also upon a small island off its point was the city of Cnidus. The island which in ancient times was connected with the mainland by a causeway is now joined to it by a sandy bar. Thus were formed two harbors, one of which could be closed by a chain. Though Cnidus was in Caria, it held the rank of a free city. There were Jews here as early as the 2nd century B.C.

The ruins of Cnidus are the only objects of interest on the long peninsula, and as they may be reached by land only with great difficulty, few travelers have visited them; they may, however, be reached more easily by boat. The nearest modern village is Yazi Keui, 6 miles away. The ruins of Cnidus are unusually interesting, for the entire plan of the city may easily be traced. The sea-walls and piers remain. The acropolis was upon the hill in the western portion of the town; upon the terraces below stood the public buildings, among which were two theaters and the odeum still well preserved. The city was especially noted for its shrine of Venus and for the statue of that goddess by Praxiteles. Here in 1875-78 Sir C. Newton discovered the statue of Demeter, now in the British Museum. See also the Aphrodite of Cnidus in the South Kensington Museum, one of the loveliest statues in the world. From here also came the huge Cnidian lion. The vast necropolis West of the ruins contains tombs of every size and shape, and from various ages.                     (Edgar J. Banks)
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

Crete
A long, narrow, mountainous island south of mainland Greece, running 170 miles east-west but never more than about 35 miles wide. Crete was the center of the Minoan maritime empire named after the legendary King Minos, and associated especially with the famous palaces of Cnossos and Phaestos, which flourished from 2000 to 1500 B.C. This artistically brilliant civilization fell suddenly, perhaps by earthquake followed by conquest, about 1400 B.C., leaving written tablets in the oldest known scripts of Europe, including the undeciphered "Linear A" and the apparently later proto-Greek "Linear B," found also on the mainland. The Minoans of Crete were known to the Egyptians as "Keftiu," which may be the same as biblical "Caphtor," though the biblical term may include a wider reference to coastlands and islands of the Aegean area. The Philistines came to Palestine from Caphtor (Jeremiah 47:4; Amos 9:7) and may have been part of the widespread migrant "Sea Peoples" rather than Cretans proper.

In classical Greek times Crete had many city-states, but they played relatively little part in mainstream Greek history. It had become a center of piracy before the Roman occupation in 67 B.C. Under the Romans it became part of a double province Crete with Cyrene, under a governor with the title "proconsul," who ruled the island and the opposite coast of North Africa from the Roman capital Gortyna. This had already been among the cities to whom the Romans had appealed a century before for fair treatment of their Jewish minorities (1 Maccabees 15:23). Cretans were among those listed as present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11), and the gospel may first have reached the island through them.

Paul made his voyage to Rome as a prisoner on a Roman grain ship. The voyage followed the route south of Crete, which gave partial shelter from the northwest winds and avoided the peril of the lee shore on the north coast, while still involving the need to beat up against largely adverse winds. The journey had already been very slow, and it was getting dangerously late in the summer sailing season
(from Holman Bible Dictionary. Copyright © 1991 by Holman Bible Publishers.)

Salmone
A promontory in Crete, apparently forming the northeast point of the island, mentioned thus in the narrative of Paul's voyage and shipwreck: "When we had scarce come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone" (Acts 27:7). Capt. Smith (of Jordanhill) has shown the naturalness and accuracy of this notice in his own peculiar way. The direct course of the ship, he states, from Myra to Italy, after reaching Cnidus, lay by the north side of Crete; but the wind at the time did not suffer that, blowing, as he shows, from a point somewhat to the west of northwest — a wind very prevalent. in the Archipelago in late summer. Then he says, "With northwest winds the ship could work up from Myra to Cnidus; because, until she reached that point, she had the advantage of a weather shore, under the lee of which she would have smooth water and a westerly current; but it would be slowly and with difficulty. At Cnidus that advantage ceased; and unless she had put into that harbor and waited for a fair wind, her only course was to run under the lee of Crete in the direction of Salmone, which is the eastern extremity of that island." They passed the point, the evangelist says, with some difficulty; and the same modern writer mentions the case of a squadron (a portion of the British fleet from Abukir) which tried to take the same course, but had the wind too westerly to admit of their doing so.
(from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

Fair Havens
A harbor on the south side of Crete. It is now identified with a bay east of Cape Littinos. The harbor opens toward the east and is sheltered on the southwest by two small islands. In 1853 a naval officer, Captain T. A. B. Spratt, discovered on a hill overlooking the bay a chapel dedicated to Paul. He also noted that southeast winds blowing in winter would make the harbor unsafe (see T. A. B. Spratt, Travels and Researches in Crete [1865], II, 1-6). This hazard and the necessity (as some have thought) of obtaining supplies at LASEA 8 km. (5 mi.) away may be why the ship carrying Paul soon left Fair Havens for Rome.
(R. Earle)

(from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, revised edition, Copyright © 1979 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

Lasea
A city on the south coast of Crete, 8 km. (5 mi.) E of Fair Havens. In 1853 Captain T. A. B. Spratt found ancient ruins there, which G. Brown further examined in 1856. It is thought that ships anchored for any length of time at Fair Havens would have had to buy supplies at Lasea.
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, revised edition, Copyright © 1979 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

From the Amplified Bible
(7)  For a number of days we made slow progress and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus; then, as the wind did not permit us to proceed, we went under the lee (shelter) of Crete off Salmone,
(8)  And coasting along it with difficulty, we arrived at a place called Fair Havens, near which is located the town of Lasea.



PAUL'S  WARNING  IGNORED

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Acts 27:9 & 10
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(9)   Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,

And when much time was spent, and when sailing now was dangerous, because the fast was now past, Paul comforted them.

(10)  saying, "Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives."

Saying to them: Ye men, I see that the voyage beginneth to be with injury and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.


Much Time
In sailing along the coast of Asia; in contending with the contrary winds. It is evident that when they started they had hoped to reach Italy before the dangerous time of navigating the Mediterranean should arrive. But they had been detained and embarrassed contrary to their expectation, so that they were now sailing in the most dangerous and tempestuous time of the year.

The Fast
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which occurs in September or October. Sea travel became more dangerous as winter approached. Shipping was completely closed down from around November 10 to as late as March 10, but September 15-November 10 and March 11-May 26 were risky periods as well.

It was, therefore, the time of the autumnal equinox, and when the navigation of the Mediterranean was esteemed to be particularly dangerous, from the storms which usually occurred about that time. The ancients regarded this as a dangerous time to navigate the Mediterranean.

Pagans undertaking sea voyages always sacrificed to the gods and sought their protection. Bad omens, astrological interpretations or dreams sometimes prevented a ship from sailing if they were taken seriously. Before going to war Romans would check the entrails of animals, the flight of birds and other forms of divination; religious advice was always important to those contemplating a potentially risky venture.

For a Jewish believer Yom-Kippur has a different significance than for the unbeliever. A Messianic Jew knows that Yeshua Jesus the Messiah, by his death on behalf of all sinners (John 3:16; Romans 3:21-26, 5:8), has become the final kapparah (“atonement,” literally “covering”; the word is a cognate of “kippur”). For this reason no further sacrifices for sin are necessary
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

It was already past Yom-Kippur Day of Atonement, literally, “past the Fast.” It is as a matter of course that Luke writes of the Jewish holiday Yom-Kippur (the Day of Atonement). This is evidence that Sha’ul continued observing Jewish practices, keeping the Law until the end of his life (see 13:9, 21:21, 22:3). It also lends strength to the contention that Luke himself was Jewish or a proselyte to Judaism; he would otherwise be unlikely to measure time for his Gentile reader (1:1-4) by the Jewish calendar.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern.)

Note: Exodus 25:17 ark-cover (kapparah)
The Revised version has ‘mercy-seat’, first used by Tyndale. The Hebrew word here is kapporeth. It was a slab of gold, of the same dimensions as the top surface of the Ark of the Covenant, and was set upon it. According to the Talmud, it was a handbreadth in thickness. So much importance was attached to it that in 1 Chronicles 28:11, the Holy of Holies is called ‘the house of the kapporeth’. The root of the word means not only ‘to cover,’ but also ‘to atone.’ It is, therefore, doubtful whether the kapporeth served no other purpose than that of a cover to the Ark. It figures prominently in the ritual of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:2, 14).
(from Rabi J. H. Hertz Pentateuch & Haftorahs.)

I perceive
Theooreoo  (NT:2334)
1. to he a spectator, look at, behold, Matthew 27:55 {" looking on from afar")
2.  to see
a. to perceive with the eyes: Luke 24:37 ("supposed they had seen a spirit")
b. to discern, descry: Mark 5:38 ("saw a tumult")
b. to ascertain, find out, by seeing: Acts 17:22 {"I perceive")
(from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Paul would sound to them like the kind of seer who could predict the future without divination. Unlike Greeks, Romans respected divination more than this kind of prophecy.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

Acts 27:10 sounds so much like a prophecy that we are prone to believe God gave Paul a premonition of danger. Paul had already experienced three shipwrecks (2 Corinthians 11:25), so he was certainly speaking from experience. (The Greek word translated "perceive" means "to perceive from past experience.")
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

It is possible that Sha’ul was prophesying, in the sense of giving forth a word of God. Or he may simply have been offering his opinion as an experienced sea-goer who had seen disasters before — he had been shipwrecked three times and been adrift overnight on wreckage (2 Corinthians 11:25). But his advice went unheeded.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Homily 53 - Acts 27:1-9
And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. And the next day we touched at Sidon." (ch. 27:1-3.)
See how far Aristarchus also accompanies Paul. To good and useful purpose is Aristarchus present, as he would take back the report of all to Macedonia. "And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. Julius gave Paul liberty," it says, acting "courteously, that he might refresh himself;" as it was but natural that he should be much the worse from his bonds and the fear, and the being dragged hither and thither. See how the writer does not hide this either, that Paul wished "to refresh himself. And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary." (v. 4.) Again trials, again contrary winds. See how the life of the saints is thus interwoven throughout: escaped from the court of justice, they fall in with shipwreck and storm.
And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein." (v. 5, 6.) "A ship of Alexandria," it says. It is likely that both those (in the former ship) would bear to Asia the report of what had befallen Paul, and that these would do the same in Lycia. See how God does not innovate or change the order of nature, but suffers them to sail into the unfavorable winds. But even so the miracle is wrought. That they may sail safely, He did not let them go out in the (open) sea, but they always sailed near the land. "And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; and, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called the fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them." (v. 7-9.) By "the fast" here, I suppose he means that of the Jews.
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Note: Why do I go back in history to 400 A.D. to list a commentary?
1. You can see the Scripture quote and compare it to our modern translations.
2. You can see a commentary without the person quoting for or against other writers.
3. You can see what was important to the church of that day.
4. Also, I like it.
(Paul the Learner)

From the Amplified Bible
(9)    But as [the season was well advanced, for] much time had been lost and navigation was already dangerous, for the time for the Fast [the Day of Atonement, about the beginning of October] had already gone by, Paul warned and advised them,
(10)  Saying, Sirs, I perceive [after careful observation] that this voyage will be attended with disaster and much heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship but of our lives also.

Acts 27:11 - 13
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(11)  Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.

But the centurion believed the pilot and the master of the ship more than those things which were said by Paul.

(12)  And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there.

And whereas it was not a commodious haven to winter in, the greatest part gave counsel to sail thence, if by any means they might reach Phenice to winger there, which is a haven of Crete, looking towards the southwest and northwest.

(13)  When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete.

And the south wind gently blowing, thinking that they had obtained their purpose, when they had loosed from Asson, they sailed close by Crete.


More Persuaded
More = Mallon  (NT:3123)  in a greater degree or rather;
A marker of contrast indicating an alternative - 'on the contrary, instead, but rather.'
Persuaded = Peitho (NT:3982) a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false);
Reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty):

Being a practical Roman, the centurion respects the nautical knowledge of the captain more than a Jewish prisoner's religious insights. Yet such a decision was often made more on economic than nautical grounds. Grain ships sometimes traveled together; this one is making the voyage alone and is probably one of the latest vessels of the shipping season. But the captain at best hopes to make it to a better harbor before the seas close down for the winter; he cannot hope to reach Italy this late in the year. The captain is probably also the ship owner here, but because his vessel is part of the imperial grain fleet, the centurion functions as a Roman official with greater authority than the ship owner, just as he would on land in Egypt.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

However, the men in charge gave little value to Paul's warning, an attitude they lived to regret.
What were the factors that governed Julius' decision?
1. To begin with, Fair Havens was not a comfortable place to settle down because it was too open to the winter storms.
2. Phoenix had a more sheltered harbor.
3. Julius also listened to the "expert advice" of the pilot and captain ("master and owner") of the ship.
4. They advised that the ship head for Phoenix as fast as possible.
5. Surely they could cover forty miles safely,
6. And already they had lost too much time (Acts 27:9).
7. When Julius added up the votes, it was three to one that the ship set sail. After all, the majority cannot be wrong, especially when it includes the experts!
But the clinching argument came with an encouraging change in the weather, for the south wind began to blow gently, and that was just what they needed. As the slip left the harbor, perhaps Julius, the pilot and the captain smiled tolerantly at Paul and his two friends as if to say, "See, you were wrong!" However, it was not long before Paul was proved right.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

All signs pointed to the supposition that they should set sail immediately for Phoenix. Only one man suggested they should stay in Fair Havens. This is a classic example of a situation where the "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12, 13) provided the right guidance. When we seek the Lord for direction in life decisions, we must be very careful to listen to His voice. It can be that all physical indications lead to what we can call an "open door." That door may or may not be opened by God.
(Paul the Learner)

Phoenix
Acts 27 tells how the ship set sail from Caesarea and went along the southern coast of Asia Minor and down the southern coast of Crete to a harbor called Fair Havens, near the town Lasea. Since this port was not adequately sheltered from the winds, the ship set sail for a harbor called Phoenix in order to winter there. But Paul never reached Phoenix because the northeastern winds blew the ship off course, and it eventually ran aground on Malta.
The general location of Phoenix is quite certain. It is on the southern coast of Crete, further west than Lasea. But possibly the northeastern wind that blew them off course came down off Mt. Ida (near ancient Troy) and across the open Bay of Messaria; thus Phoenix would have been further west than the bay.
J. Smith In his discussion of ancient writers J. Smith (pp. 93 f) said that Hierocles located Phoenix near the island Cauda in the vicinity of the towns Aradena and Anopolis;
Strabo Strabo (Geog. x.4.3) placed it "on the south side of the narrow part of Crete, ... on the north side of which is Amphimalla"; and
Ptolemy Ptolemy (Geog. iii.17.3) placed it 55 km. (34 mi.) E of Cape St. John, which is on the west end of Crete, and 170 km. (106 mi.) W of Cape Salmone (i.e., 55 km., 34 mi., W of Cape Matala; see Smith; cf. HDB, III, s.v. [Ramsay]; Ogilvie, pp. 308-310).
Beyond this, the exact location of Phoenix is debatable, the two most likely candidates being the modern towns of Lutros (also Loutro[s]) and Phineka.
Cape Mouros is a narrow peninsula, 53 km. (33 mi.) from the west end of Crete, which extends about 1.5 km. (1 mi.) south into the sea and widens at its southern end. The east side of the peninsula forms the bay of Lutros, and the town is on the northeast side of the peninsula.
J Smith On the strength of Smith's arguments, Lutros has been the preferred location for ancient Phoenix. It is within the general location described above, being due N of Cauda and near the towns of Aradena and Anopolis (p. 94; cf. E. Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles [Eng. tr. 1971], p. 700 n. 7).
Spratt On the basis of statements by Spratt ("It is the only bay to the westward of Fair Havens in which a vessel of any size could find shelter during the winter months") and
Brown Brown ("It is the only secure harbour in all winds on the south coast of Crete"), which he confirmed by personal observation,
Smith argued that Lutros is the only possible harbor in the area (p. 92 n.). The high mainland N of the harbor and the island in the harbor's mouth prevent the easterly winds from disturbing its waters. Spratt added that an inscription in Lutros (cited in Ogilvie, p. 311) confirms that Egyptian grain ships used to winter there.
The major problem with identifying Phoenix with Lutros is Luke's description that the harbor faces "both southwest and northwest" (NIV;  katá líba kaí katá chœ¡ron).
Greek líps is the wind coming up from the southwest, and
chœ¡ros is the wind coming down from the northwest (cf. Goodspeed).
Lutros faces east, and therefore its entrances to the sea open up toward the northeast and southeast. Smith argued that the Greek means that the harbor is open "to the point towards which it [i.e., the wind] blows — that is, it is not open to the southwest but to the northeast" (p.88). This is, however, a very unnatural reading of the Greek; katá means "down," so that the harbor faces down the direction from which the wind is coming, i.e., "down the southwest wind and down the northwest wind" (Bruce, p. 457; cf. Bauer, rev., pp. 475, 891).
On the west side of the peninsula that forms Cape Mouros is the harbor called Phineka, which most scholars now identify with Phoenix. This harbor not only satisfies all the general requirements, since it is close to Lutros, but also accords with Luke's description, since it faces west. Its name preserves the ancient form of Phoenix. Ptolemy also said that the harbor Phoenix is W of the town, whereas the harbor Lutros is E of the town Lutros.
The problem with the identification of Phoenix with Phineka is that today the west harbor is too shallow for large ships.
Bruce Bruce said that possibly the two rivers entering the harbor have silted it up (p.457),
Ogilvie although Ogilvie claimed that there is no evidence of silting (p. 312).
Ramsay Ramsay left open the possibility that the shoreline has altered since Paul's time (HDB, III, s.v.).
Spratt Spratt argued that the seismic disturbances in the 6 th cent. A.D. tilted the island of Crete and raised the area of Lutros 4.11 m. (13.5 ft.). Ogilvie, followed by Haenchen (p. 700 n. 7), continued this reasoning and argued, on the basis of shell and rock formations, for a raise of 4.2 m. (14 ft.).
Paul's ship probably drew about 2 to 3 m. (7 to 9 ft.) and a depth 4.2 m. (14 ft.) lower would therefore have been sufficient for the ship to enter the harbor (pp. 312 f).
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, revised edition, Copyright © 1979 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved.)

Close by Crete
Near the shore. It is evident that they designed, if possible, to make the harbor of Phenice to winter there. They weighed anchor and passed around Cape Matala. The distance to this point is four or five miles; the bearing west by south. With a gentle southerly wind, the vessel would be able to weather the cape, and then the wind was fair to Phoenix or Phenice (Lutro), which was 35 miles distant from the cape, and bore from thence about west-northwest.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(11)  However, the centurion paid greater attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.
(12)  And as the harbor was not well situated and so unsuitable to winter in, the majority favored the plan of putting to sea again from there, hoping somehow to reach Phoenice, a harbor of Crete facing southwest and northwest, and winter there.
(13)  So when the south wind blew softly, supposing they were gaining their object, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, hugging the coast.



THE  EUROCLYDON

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Acts 27:14 - 17
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(14)  But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.

But not long after, there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroaquilo.

(15)  So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive.

And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up against the wind, giving up the ship to the winds, we were driven.

(16)  And running under the shelter of an island called Cauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty.

And running under a certain island, that is called Cauda, we had much work to come by the boat.

(17)  When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven.

Which being taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship, and fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, they let down the sail yard, and so were driven.


Tempestuous head wind
The word translated "tempestuous" (tuphonikos (NT:5189) a whirlwind, hurricane, typhoon) gives us the English word "typhoon."

Euroclydon

Sailors called this special wind Euroclydon, a hybrid Greek and Latin word that means "a northeasterner." The crew had to let the ship drift because it was impossible to steer it, and the wind drove it twenty-three miles to the south, to the island of Cauda. Here the sailors pulled in the small boat that was towed behind larger slips, lest they lose it or it be driven against the ship and cause damage.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

The sense of “north-east wind” is put by some even on the common text, which they regard as a corruption, very easy among sailors. It is more than a coincidence, that modern navigators speak of sudden changes from a gentle south to a tempestuous north wind as not only frequent, but almost invariable in that part of the Mediterranean. “Only five miles west of the Fair Havens the southern coast line of Crete turns sharply, receding directly northward at a point now called Cape Malta. This point had scarcely been turned, and their direction changed for Phenice (only 35 miles north-northwest through an open sea), when the soft south wind was suddenly succeeded by a north-easter, ‘sweeping down the gullies of Mount Ida with all the fury of a typhoon.’ The sailors, accustomed to those seas, recognized their dreaded enemy by its well-known name EUROCLYDON.”
(Bible Readers’ Commentary)

Interpreters have been much perplexed about the meaning of this word, which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The most probable supposition is that it denotes "a wind not blowing steadily from any quarter, but a hurricane, or wind veering about to different quarters." Such hurricanes are known to abound in the Mediterranean, and are now called Levanters, deriving their name from blowing chiefly in the Levant, or eastern part of the Mediterranean. The name euroclydon is derived probably from two Greek words, [euros], "wind," and kludoon (NT: 2830), "a wave"; so called from its agitating and exciting the waves. It thus answers to the usual effects of a hurricane, or of a wind rapidly changing its points of compass.

They were driven 23 miles through the open sea to the small island Cauda. Running under the lee of this island, they took advantage of the slight shelter to lift their boat (the life-boat towing at the stern) of the sea.

WE Secured the skiff
Now even the passengers and prisoners were helping, all hard at work. According to nautical interpreters, the heavy portion of the rigging, such as the main yard with its appurtenances was tossed, and also probably the ship’s furniture and even the passenger’s baggage.

The "supporting cables" (NASB) or "ropes" (NIV) were used to under-gird the hull against the raging sea in times of fierce storms; they must have been slipped around the stern or prow and worked backward to brace the whole hull. If they continued on their present course too far to the south, they would eventually be destroyed in Syrtis Major (modern Gulf of Sidra), a shoal west of Cyrenaica along the African coast. Even in good weather, Alexandrian grain ships sailed northward to Asia and then westward to Italy, rather than directly northwest, because a sudden change in winds could wreck them on this shoal.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

It is called frapping in the English navy. This consisted of passing rope or chain cables under the keel at right angles with and over the gunwales, “and then drawing them tight by means of pulleys and levers.” These “helps” were always part of the ordinary equipment of ancient vessels. They served to brace the entire framework of hull and decks, and to counteract the strain caused by the single mast with is large square sail.

The operation of "frapping" a vessel is thus described in Falconer's Marine Dictionary.
"To frap a ship is to pass four or five turns of a large cable-laid rope round the hull or frame of a ship to support her in a great storm, or otherwise, when it is apprehended that she is not strong enough to resist the violent efforts of the sea."
An instance of this kind is mentioned in Lord Anson's voyage round the world. Speaking of a Spanish man-of-war in a storm, he says,

"They were obliged to throw overboard all their upper-deck guns, and take six turns of the cable round the ship to prevent her opening."


Syrtis Sands
There are two gulfs on the north shore of Africa, full of shoals and sandbanks, called Syrtis Major and Syrtis Minor. They were afraid of being driven on these sands.
(from Dake Annotated Reference Bible © 2007 by Dake Publishing. All rights reserved in U.S.A. and Other Countries.)

Excerpts from "The Apostle: A Life of Paul"
Luke was not a seaman, but described his observations in landlubber's language so accurately that when, in the mid-nineteenth century, a curious Scot with a yacht and a great knowledge of seamanship retraced Paul's route, he found that Luke's entire account of this most famous voyage with its disastrous end exactly fitted the facts of wind, sea and coast.
They had reached a roadstead well sheltered by the mountains and by islands, which was as far as they could sail into a northwest wind. Immediately beyond Fair Havens lied Cape Matala where the rocky coast turns sharply north for some twenty miles before turning west again, and if they tried to cross that open gulf they would be wrecked on a lee shore. The captain anchored, windbound. Days passed. Fair Havens was pleasant enough but had no port; small parties might go ashore to visit Lasea but the entire ship's company would need to live aboard if they wintered. October 5 came and went, the Jewish Day of Atonement that year of A.D. 59. The "Dangerous Days," when navigation was feasible if risky, were slipping away. With November 11 all navigation would cease on the open sea because then the sun and stars might be overcast for days on end, with no opportunity for bearings.
They had lost all prospect of reaching Italy that season. Julius convened a conference to decide the best plan and invited Paul to attend; by now Julius appreciated Paul's judgment as well as his seafaring experience... Julius decided in favor of the Captain and the owner.
On about October 10 the Captain noted that the wind had changed. ... They turned the cape and began merrily across the gulf, the dinghy bobbing behind as was customary on short runs inshore. If the sun shone on them, cloud was ominously thick on Mount Ida, the highest point of Crete and now full on their starboard bow. Suddenly the wind changed. A tremendous blast roared down from Ida striking them full force; Luke calls its strength "typhonic." The air whirled and twisted, a drenching rain blacked out the coast. Their mast, under full sail, shuddered at the sudden gale: the vibration was so excessive that the ship's timbers started and water began to seep into the hull.
"We had to give way and run before it," to the lee of the small island of Cauda which lay some forty miles off in the exact path of the wind. They had no hope of making its little port, nor could they dare to anchor, but they used the comparatively smooth water and temporary, risky shelter of its cliffs to prepare as best they could for whatever lay ahead. First they secured and hoisted the dinghy, now waterlogged. Passengers helped, and Luke records feelingly, "We managed with some difficulty." Then they used tackle to put cables under the hull in order to brace the timbers, a common precaution in ancient times against the strain of wind and turbulent water. The chief fear of all on board was that the ship would either break up or the timbers leak until she became waterlogged: more ancient ships were lost by foundering than by any other cause.
They lowered the yard with its mainsail, for if she ran with this wind under full sail the end would be the shallows and quicksands of the North African shore, the notorious Gulf of Syrtis Major off Libya. Their one hope was to set stormsails, lay her on a starboard tack (with her right side to the wind) and let her drift slowly to ride out the storm.
(From "The Apostle: A Life of Paul," by John Pollock; RiverOak Publishing, a division of Cook Communication Ministries)

From the Amplified Bible
(14)  But soon afterward a violent wind [of the character of a typhoon], called a northeaster, came bursting down from the island.
(15)  And when the ship was caught and was unable to head against the wind, we gave up and, letting her drift, were borne along.
(16)  We ran under the shelter of a small island called Cauda, where we managed with [much] difficulty to draw the [ship's small] boat on deck and secure it.
(17)  After hoisting it on board, they used supports with ropes to undergird and brace the ship; then afraid that they would be driven into the Syrtis [quicksands off the north coast of Africa], they lowered the gear (sails and ropes) and so were driven along.

Acts 27:18-20
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(18)  And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.

And we being mightily tossed with the tempest, the next day they lightened the ship.

(19)  On the third day we threw the ship's tackle overboard with our own hands.

And the third day they cast out with their own hands the tackling of the ship.

(20)  Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.

And when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm lay on us, all hope of our being saved was now taken away.


Lightened the ship
Literally, "made a casting out." The English Revised Version (1885): "began to throw the freight overboard." Note the imperfect, "began" to throw. The whole cargo was not cast overboard: the wheat was reserved to the last extremity (Acts 27:38).
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Threw the ship's tackle overboard
The word means "equipment furniture." The exact meaning here is uncertain. Some suppose it to refer to the main-yard; an immense spar which would require the united efforts of passengers and crew to throw overboard. It seems improbable, however, that they would have sacrificed so large a spar, which, in case of shipwreck, would support thirty or forty men in the water. The most generally received opinion is that it refers to the furniture of the ship-beds, tables, chests, etc.
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The anchors, sails, cables, baggage, etc. That is, everything that was not indispensable to its preservation, for it seems still (Acts 27:29) that they retained some of their anchors on board.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

In verse 18 it says "they" lightened the ship, referring to the ship's crew.
In verse 19 it says "we" threw the ship's tackle overboard.
The storm had grown so furious that everyone on board was forced into action including the prisoners, and Paul, Luke and Aristarchus.
(Paul the Learner)

Many days ... all hope ... was finally given up
probably most of the 14 days mentioned (Acts 27:27). This continued thickness of the atmosphere prevented their making the necessary observations of the heavenly bodies by day or by night; so that they could not tell where they were.

Their exertions (says Mr. Smith) to subdue the leak had been unavailing; they could not tell which way to make for the nearest land, in order to run their ship ashore-the only resource for a sinking ship; but unless they did make the land, they must founder at sea. Their apprehensions, therefore, were not so much caused by the fury of the tempest as by the state of the ship.' From the inferiority of ancient to modern naval architecture, leaks were sprung much more easily, and the means of repairing them were fewer than now. Hence, the far greater number of shipwrecks from this cause.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

(JB "at last we gave up all hope of surviving") appears in the NEB as "our last hopes of coming through alive began to fade," of which "began to fade" is an attempt on the part of the NEB to bring out the force of the Greek imperfect tense. This final clause may be rendered in some languages as "at last we thought we would not possibly be saved," "finally we thought, We cannot possibly remain alive,"
(from the UBS New Testament Handbook Series. Copyright © 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies.)

Pagans felt that those who died at sea never entered the realm of the dead; instead their souls wandered aimlessly forever above the waters in which they perished.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

Sometimes we get ourselves into storms for the same reasons: impatience (Acts 27:9),
(A) Accepting expert advice that is contrary to God's will
(B)  Following the majority
(C) Trusting "ideal" conditions (Acts 27:13)
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Homily 53 - Acts 27:10-21
For they departed thence a long time after the Pentecost, so that it was much about midwinter that they arrived at the coasts of Crete. And this too was no slight miracle, that they also should be saved on his account. "Paul admonished them, and said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and layeth toward the southwest and northwest. And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close to Crete. But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive" (R. V. "were driven.") (v. 10-15.)
Paul therefore advised them to remain, and he foretells what would come of it: but they, being in a hurry, and being prevented by the place, wished to winter at Phenice. Mark then the providential ordering of the events:
1. First indeed, "when the south wind blew softly, supposing they had obtained their purpose,"
2. They loosed the vessel, and came north; then when the wind bore down upon them, they gave way to it driving them, and were with difficulty saved.
3. "And running under a certain island which is called Cauda, we had much work to come by the boat: which when they had taken up, they used helps, under-girding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quick sands, strake sail, and so were driven.
And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; and the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss." (v. 16-21.)
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(18)  As we were being dangerously tossed about by the violence of the storm, the next day they began to throw the freight overboard;
(19)  And the third day they threw out with their own hands the ship's equipment (the tackle and the furniture).
(20)  And when neither sun nor stars were visible for many days and no small tempest kept raging about us, all hope of our being saved was finally abandoned.

Acts 27:21-26
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(21)  But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.

And after they had fasted a long time, Paul standing forth in the midst of them, said: You should indeed, O ye men, have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and have gained this harm and loss.

(22)  And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

And now I exhort you to be of good cheer. For there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but only of the ship.

(23)  For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,

For an angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, stood by me this night,

(24)  saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.'

Saying: Fear not, Paul, thou must be brought before Caesar; and behold, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

(25)  Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.

Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God that it shall so be as it hath been told me.

(26)  However, we must run aground on a certain island."

And we must come unto a certain island.

Ancient people evaluated the sincerity of philosophers (e.g., Aristippus) according to how calm they stayed under pressure. A true philosopher consistent with his teachings would remain calm in a dangerous storm at sea (so Pyrrho the Skeptic), whereas as a false prophet like Peregrinus would not. The others' lack of eating may be due to seasickness.

Take heart
Euthumeín (NT:2114) To be joyful, be of good cheer, of good courage

From eu, "well," and thumos, "the soul," as the principle of feeling, especially strong feeling, signifies "to make cheerful"; it is used intransitively in the NT,

"to be of good cheer," Acts 27:22, 25 (KJV)
"is (any) cheerful?" James 5:13, RV,  (KJV, "merry?")
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

This could be translated: Get real happy!
How could Paul say this? He was in the same storm, in the same leaking foundering boat as everyone else, and yet he encourages them to get real happy - have a party!

The First Key: "I believe God" - Paul chose to believe God rather than the circumstances.
Paul referred to the first advice he had given, that they should have stayed in Crete, in order to encourage them to believe him now.

The Second Key: Paul's Focus - Paul chose to focus on what God said rather than the storm and the condition of the ship.

So what actually happened?
1. vs. 23, 24 An angel delivered God's promise to Paul.
2. vs. 25 Paul's focus was on God's promise, not the circumstances around him.
3. vs. 27-32 The circumstances did not improve. In fact, they actually got worse as the ship's crew attempted to escape which would have been the death of everyone else on the ship.
4. vs. 33, 34 Paul's focus is still on God's promise even though circumstances had worsened, and he once again encouraged the crew and passengers to eat.
5. vs. 35-37 Paul lead by example when he took food, gave thanks to God, and ate. They were all of good cheer (Eúthumoi) and finally began to eat.
6. vs. 39-41 Again, the circumstances did not improve. The storm raged on, plus they were caught in a great whirlpool that began to tear the ship apart.
7. vs. 42 The circumstances continued to get worse, for now the soldiers wanted to kill all the prisoners, which included Paul.
8, vs. 43, 44 In spite of circumstances, ALL "escaped safely to land."
Paul kept his focus on God and His promise, in spite of the worsening storm and the despair of the crew and passengers. All circumstances pointed to great tragedy, but the promise God gave Paul was greater than circumstances. Paul chose to believe God in the face of insurmountable circumstances.

We have another great example of how keeping our focus on God's Word can save us, and how focusing on circumstances can destroy us when Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water in the storm (Matthew 14:22-36).
1. Jesus told the disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side.
2. Half way across they were caught in a storm - the wind was "contrary" and "against them."
3. Even though they could not see the shore, Jesus saw them straining and rowing against the wind.
4. In the darkest hour (about the 4th watch of the night), Jesus told them not to fear, that it was Him coming to them.
5. The disciples thought it was a ghost, but Peter said "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." To which Jesus replied, "Come."
6. When Peter's focus was on Jesus he climbed out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
7. When Peter's focus was on the circumstances and he looked at the waves instead of Jesus, he began to sink.
8. When Peter shifted his focus back to Jesus he was lifted up and walked the rest of the way back to the boat with Jesus.
The circumstances did not change for Peter and the disciples. The winds were still contrary and raging, the boat was still filling with water, the disciples were still overcome with fear.  But as long as Peter's focus was fully on Jesus, he was not overcome by the winds and waves. It was not until Jesus actually stepped into the boat that the winds ceased and circumstances changed.
(Paul the learner)
Hebrews 12:1-2
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith      (NIV)

From the Amplified Bible
(21)  Then as they had eaten nothing for a long time, Paul came forward into their midst and said, Men, you should have listened to me, and should not have put to sea from Crete and brought on this disaster and harm and misery and loss.
(22)  But [even] now I beg you to be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship.
(23)  For this [very] night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship,
(24)  And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you.
(25)  So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith (complete confidence) in God that it will be exactly as it was told me;
(26)  But we shall have to be stranded on some island.

Acts 27:27-32
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(27)  Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land.

But after the fourteenth night was come, as we were sailing in Adria, about midnight, the shipmen deemed that they discovered some country.

(28)  And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms.

Who also sounding, found twenty fathoms; and going on a little further, they found fifteen fathoms.

(29)  Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.

Then fearing lest we should fall upon rough places, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

(30)  And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow,

But as the shipmen sought to fly out of the ship, having let down the boat into the sea, under color, as thought they would have cast anchors out of the forepart of the ship,

(31)  Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved."

Paul said to the centurion, and to the soldiers: Except these stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.

(32)  Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.

Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

The fourteenth night
From the time when the tempest commenced (vs. 14).

During the two weeks they had been at sea, the ship had been driven over 500 miles off course and was now adrift in the Adrian Sea. (It is now called the Ionian Sea and must not be confused with the Adriatic Sea.) As the crew took soundings, they discovered that the water was getting shallower (from 120 feet to 90 feet), indicating that land was near.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

The sea around Malta is far south of what is called the "Adriatic Sea" today but was included in the "Sea of Adria" in antiquity. The rate of drift per day and the trajectory they would have followed from Cauda to avoid Syrtis has been calculated; it was exactly fourteen days to reach Malta. The soundings in verse 28 indicate that they were at this point near Koura, east of Malta. They can hear the water breaking against land here, because they are only perhaps half an hour from what is now called St. Paul's Bay.

Anchors were used as brakes and were normally cast from the bow. Here they are cast from the stern, as was occasionally done if the winds would otherwise blow the ship around.

By this point, Paul (whose advice was originally disregarded, perhaps as the impractical concerns of an eccentric Jewish teacher) is now in virtual command of the ship, because he has the centurion's ear.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

During the two weeks they had been at sea, the ship had been driven over 500 miles off course and was now adrift in the Adrian Sea. (It is now called the Ionian Sea and must not be confused with the Adriatic Sea.) As the crew took soundings, they discovered that the water was getting shallower (from 120 feet to 90 feet), indicating that land was near. From the roar of the waves, it appeared that the slip 'was headed for the rocks. In order to keep the bow headed toward shore, some of the crew dropped four anchors from the stern. But others of the crew tried to escape from the ship in the dinghy that had been brought on board.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

A gale of such duration is by no means unprecedented in that part of the Mediterranean, especially toward winter. A naval officer writes:

“In October, 1839, I left Malta in a powerful steam-frigate, and encountered Euroclydon (or, as we call it, a Levanter) in full force. We were four days without being able to sit down at table to a meal, during which time we saw ‘neither sun nor stars.’ Being charged with dispatches, we forced the vessel through, though with much injury. Had we been a mere log on the water, like Paul’s ship, we should have drifted ‘many days.’”

Actual measurements taken upon the supposed line of drift correspond precisely with the soundings here recorded by Luke.

Unless these men stay in the ship
God had promised Paul that no one would be lost in the storm, and here we see the condition of that promise: they must ALL stay in the ship in order to be saved.

We love the promises of God, but sometimes we don't take into account the conditions He has placed on those promises. Some examples are:
Scripture The Promise The Condition
Mark 11:24 Whatever you ask for in prayer, it will be yours Believe that you have received it
1 John 5:14-15 Whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him If we ask anything according to His will
Psalms 37:4 He shall give you the desires of your heart Delight yourself in the Lord (in other words, He is the desire of your heart)
Luke 17:6 You can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you If you have faith as a mustard seed
Matthew 17:20 You will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you If you have faith as a mustard seed
John 3:16 We will not perish, but will have everlasting life If we believe in Jesus.
Romans 1:16 The gospel of Christ is the power of God to salvation For everyone who believes
(Paul the Learner)

From the Amplified Bible
(27)  The fourteenth night had come and we were drifting and being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors began to suspect that they were drawing near to some land.
(28)  So they took soundings and found twenty fathoms, and a little farther on they sounded again and found fifteen fathoms.
(29)  Then fearing that we might fall off [our course] onto rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and kept wishing for daybreak to come.
(30)  And as the sailors were trying to escape [secretly] from the ship and were lowering the small boat into the sea, pretending that they were going to lay out anchors from the bow,
(31)  Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, Unless these men remain in the ship, you cannot be saved.
(32)  Then the soldiers cut away the ropes that held the small boat, and let it fall and drift away.

Acts 27:33-38
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(33)  And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing.

And when it began to be light, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying: This day is the fourteenth day that you have waited, and continued fasting, taking nothing.

(34)  Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you."

Wherefore I pray you to take some meat for your health's sake; for there shall not an hair of the head of any of you perish.

(35)  And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.

And when he had said these things, taking bread, he gave thanks to God in the sight of them all; and when he had broken it, he began to eat.

(36)  Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.

Then were they all of better cheer, and they also took some meat.

(37)  And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship.

And we were in all in the ship, two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.

(38)  So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.

And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, casting the wheat into the sea.


Not a hair will fall
"Not a hair of one's head" was a proverbial expression in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 14:45; 2 Samuel 14:11; 1 Kings 1:52); but it would make sense even to hearers who were not familiar with it.

Consider Paul's four ministries of encouragement to the passengers and crew.
He shared God's Word with them (vv. 22-26)
During the two weeks they had been at sea, the ship had been driven over 500 miles off course and was now adrift in the Adrian Sea. (It is now called the Ionian Sea and must not be confused with the Adriatic Sea.) As the crew took soundings, they discovered that the water was getting shallower (from 120 feet to 90 feet), indicating that land was near. From the roar of the waves, it appeared that the slip 'was headed for the rocks'.
He warned them (vv. 27-32)
In order to keep the prow headed toward shore, some of the crew dropped four anchors from the stern. But others of the crew tried to escape from the ship in the dinghy that had been brought on board (Acts 27:16). This was not only an act of selfishness and revolt on their part, but it was also an act of unbelief. Paul had told everybody God's promise that He would keep all those safe who sailed with him on the voyage (Acts 27:24). For the men to abandon slip was to take their lives in their own hands and threaten the lives of others. 'Whether the soldiers acted wisely in cutting the boat free, it is difficult to determine; but in an emergency, you take emergency measures.
He set a good example before them (vv. 33-38)
What a difference it makes when a person has faith in God! Instead of vainly wishing for a change (Acts 27:29) or selfishly trying to escape (Acts 27:30), Paul got ready for the demands that would come at daybreak It is not difficult to understand why everyone had fasted those two weeks, but now it was time to eat. Caring for one's health is an important part of the Christian life, and even an apostle must not abuse his body.
Paul took the bread and openly prayed and gave thanks to God. (This is a good example for us to follow when we are eating in public places.) His example encouraged the others to join him, and before long, everybody felt better. There are times when one dedicated believer can change the whole atmosphere of a situation simply by trusting God and making that faith visible.
He rescued them (vv. 39-44)
When it was day, the pilot saw where they were and made every effort to get the ship to shore. But it was all futile; the slip was grounded and the waves began to beat the stem to pieces. The only thing the passengers could do was jump into the water and make for land.
The soldiers, of course, were concerned about their prisoners; for if a prisoner escaped, the soldier was held accountable and could be killed. Once again, it was Paul whose presence saved their lives. Just as the Lord promised, all of them made it safely to shore, and not one was lost. I have a feeling that Paul had been sharing the Gospel with his fellow passengers and that some of them had trusted in the Lord as a result of this experience. Luke does not give us the details, but would you expect Paul to do otherwise?

Before leaving this exciting section of Acts, we should note some practical lessons that it teaches us.
First Storms often come when we disobey the will of God. (Jonah is a good example of this truth.) However, it was not Paul who was at fault, but the centurion in charge of the ship. We sometimes suffer because of the unbelief of others.
Second Storms have a way of revealing character. Some of the sailors selfishly tried to escape, others could only hope for the best; but Paul trusted God and obeyed His will.
Third Even the worst storms cannot hide the face of God or hinder the purposes of God. Paul received the word of assurance that they needed, and God overruled so that His servant arrived safely in Rome.
Fourth Storms can give us opportunities to serve others and bear witness to Jesus Christ. Paul was the most valuable man on that ship! He knew how to pray, he had faith in God, and he was in touch with the Almighty.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Here are some other reasons for "storms" in our lives as we take a quick look at 4 great storms in the Bible:
The Reference The Reason The Storm
Jonah 1:1-2:12 Disobedience When Jonah disobeyed the Lord's command and took a ship in the opposite direction, the storm came against Jonah and the ship he was in, and all would have been lost if Jonah had stayed on the ship. When we stubbornly determine to disobey God's word, we may encounter extremely bad circumstances.
Matthew 8:18, 23-27
Mark 4:35-41
Luke 8:22-25
Object Lesson The first time the disciples were in the storm, Jesus had said "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." He was in the boat with them, and knew that if He said to cross over to the other side, that's exactly what they would do. When they woke Him in great fear, "He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm."  There are "storms" we encounter as believers that the Lord uses to teach us how to exercise our faith, and to reaffirm to us that He is always with us.
Matthew 14:22-36
Mark 6:45-56
John 6:15-21
Practical Application The second time the disciples were in the storm, "Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side." Jesus knew about the storm and purposely sent the disciples into the storm in the night without Him in the boat. In fact, "He saw them straining at rowing." I believe that Jesus was giving them the chance to put into practice what they had learned in the first storm, and command the wind to be still themselves. He will never ask us to do anything that we cannot do with His power.
Acts 27:14-41 Satanic Attack From the time Saul of Tarsus (Paul) realized that Jesus was the Messiah on the road to Damascus, Satan had been trying to get rid of him. This was his all out attempt. Satan was raging against that boat, but since Paul knew that the Lord was sending him to Rome, he had no fear of anything Satan threw at him. We know that no matter how Satan comes against us we need not fear because "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
(Paul the Learner)

Large ships frequently carried several hundred people; Josephus even claimed that he had traveled aboard a ship with six hundred people.

They need to lighten the ship further, in order to run aground as close to land as possible. They had so far retained some of the cargo as ballast (heavy material kept in the hold of a ship to steady it). An Alexandrian ship's cargo would be wheat.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

From the Amplified Bible
(33)  While they waited until it should become day, Paul entreated them all to take some food, saying, This is the fourteenth day that you have been continually in suspense and on the alert without food, having eaten nothing.
(34)  So I urge (warn, exhort, encourage, advise) you to take some food [for your safety] — it will give you strength; for not a hair is to perish from the head of any one of you.
(35)  Having said these words, he took bread and, giving thanks to God before them all, he broke it and began to eat.
(36)  Then they all became more cheerful and were encouraged and took food themselves.
(37)  All told there were 276 souls of us in the ship.
(38)  And after they had eaten sufficiently, [they proceeded] to lighten the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.



SHIPWRECKED  ON  MALTA

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Acts 27:39-41
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(39)  When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible.

And when it was day, they knew not the land; but they discovered a certain creek that had a shore, into which they minded, if they could, to thrust in the ship.

(40)  And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore.

And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves to the sea, loosing withal the rudder bands; and hoisting up the mainsail to the wind, they made towards shore.

(41)  But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.

And when we were fallen into a place where two seas met, they run the ship aground; and the forepart indeed, sticking fast, remained unmovable: but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the sea.


The traditional site of St. Paul's Bay on northern Malta fits all the details of the narrative.

Between St. Paul's Bay and the island of Salmonetta on the northwest is a shallow channel about three hundred yards wide. The ship wedges on a sandbar there, while waves pound the immobilized rear of the vessel.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

The ships of the ancients were not steered, like ours, by a single rudder hinged on at the stern, but by a pair of broad-bladed oars or paddles, each acting in a rowlock or through a port-hole, according as the ship was small or large. When the four anchors were let go at the stern, it would of course be necessary to lash or trice up both paddles, lest they should interfere with the ground-tackle. When the ship had to be steered again, and the cables were cut, the lashings of the paddles would of course be unfastened.

Most ships appear to have had a rudder at the prow as well as at the stern. In some instances, also, they had them on the sides.

The word used here in the Greek is in the plural toon (NT: 3588) peedalioon (NT: 4079), and it is evident that they had in this ship more than one rudder. The bands mentioned here were probably the cords or fastenings by which the rudder could be made secure to the sides of the ship, or could be raised up out of the water in a violent storm, to prevent its being carried away. And as, in the tempest, the rudders had become useless (Acts 27:15, 17), they were probably either raised out of the water, or made fast. Now that the storm was past, and they could be used again, they were loosed, and they endeavored to direct the vessel into port.

The mainsail -  artemoona (NT: 736). There have been various explanations of this word.
Luther translates it as "the mast."
Erasmus: translates it as "the yards."
Grotius, who supposes that the mainmast had been cast away (Acts 27:17), thinks that this must mean "the foremast" or "the bowsprit."
Mr. Smith, in his work on this voyage of Paul, supposes that it was "the foresail."
Others translate it "a jib."  "The mainsail (foresail) being hoisted showed good judgment, though the distance was so small, as it would not only enable them to steer more correctly than without it, but would press the ship farther on upon the land, and thus enable them the more easily to get to the shore" (Penrose).
The word usually means the "mainsail."

A place where two seas met
Greek: into a place of a double sea - dithalasson (NT: 1337). That is, a place which was washed on both sides by the sea. It refers properly to an isthmus, tongue of land, or a sand-bar stretching out from the mainland, and which was washed on both sides by the waves. It is evident that this was not properly an isthmus that was above the waves, but was probably a long sand-bank that stretched far out into the sea, and which they did not perceive. In endeavoring to make the harbor, they ran into this bar (sand-bank).
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

This verse says, literally, “And coming upon a place between two seas they drove the vessel; and while the prow, having run aground, remained immovable, the stern was broken by the force.” The sense is not exactly clear from the text. I have surfed for over thirty years; and this gives me some knowledge of how the sea works, which, I hope, helps solve the mystery. When a swell reaches an island, its waves split to pass it, and they may meet head-on at the far end of the island. At this place, the sand carried along by the currents from both directions is deposited as a sandbar or sand spit, on which the waves break from two nearly opposite directions, sometimes even running straight into each other. Such a spot makes for lively surfing but is very treacherous for ships and boats. My translation reflects this understanding, based on my experience surfing the islands off the coast of Southern California.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern.)

From the Amplified Bible
(39)  Now when it was day [and they saw the land], they did not recognize it, but they noticed a bay with a beach on which they [taking counsel] purposed to run the ship ashore if they possibly could.
(40)  So they cut the cables and severed the anchors and left them in the sea; at the same time unlashing the ropes that held the rudders and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they headed for the beach.
(41)  But striking a crosscurrent (a place open to two seas) they ran the ship aground. The prow stuck fast and remained immovable, and the stern began to break up under the violent force of the waves.

Acts 27:42-44
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(42)  And the soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape.

And the soldiers' counsel was, that they should kill the prisoners, lest any of them, swimming out, should escape.

(43)  But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land,

But the centurion, willing to safe Paul, forbade it to be done: and he commanded that they who could swim, should cast themselves first into the sea, and save themselves, and get to land.

(44)  and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.

And the rest, some they carried on boards, and some on those things that belonged to the ship. And so it came to pass, that every soul got safe to land.


Guards were responsible for the prisoners' safe custody. They would be less liable for their charges if the prisoners "died at sea" than if they escaped.

In Greco-Roman literature, someone's escape from disaster at sea could serve as evidence of that person's religious purity even before a court.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

The only thing the passengers could do was jump into the water and make for land. The soldiers, of course, were concerned about their prisoners; for if a prisoner escaped, the soldier was held accountable and could be killed. Once again, it was Paul whose presence saved their lives just as the Lord promised, all of them made it safely to shore, and not one was lost I have a feeling that Paul had been sharing the Gospel with his fellow passengers and that some of them had trusted in the Lord as a result of this experience. Luke does not give us the details, but would you expect Paul to do otherwise?
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

For the sake of this one righteous man, the lives of all were spared. The instance here shows:
(1) That it is possible for a pious man, like Paul, so to conduct in the various trying scenes of life-the agitations, difficulties, and temptations of this world-as to conciliate the favor of the people of this world.
(2) That important benefits often result to sinners from the righteous. Paul's being on board was the means of saving the lives of many prisoners; and God often confers important blessings on the wicked for the sake of the pious relatives, friends, and neighbors with whom they are connected. Ten righteous men would have saved Sodom (Gen 18:32); and Christians are in more ways than one the salt of the earth, and the light of the world, Matt 5:13-14. It is a privilege to be related to the friends of God-to be the children of pious parents, or to be connected with pious partners in life.
It is a privilege to be connected with the friends of God in business; or to dwell near them; or to be associated with them in the various walks and dangers of life. The streams of blessings which flow to fertilize their lands flow also to bless others; the dews of heaven which descend on their habitations descend on all around; and the God which crowns them with loving-kindness, often fills the abodes of their neighbors and friends with the blessings of peace and salvation.

According to the promise which was made to Paul, Acts 27:22, this was done by the special providence of God. It was a remarkable instance of divine interposition to save so many through so long-continued dangers; and it shows that God can defend in any perils, and can accomplish all his purposes. On the ocean or the land we are safe in his keeping, and he can devise ways that shall fulfill all his purposes, and that can protect his people from danger.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Homily 53 - Acts 27:22-44
Then after so great a storm he does not speak as insultingly over them, but as wishing that at any rate he might be believed for the future. Wherefore also he alleges what had taken place for a testimony of the truth of what was about to be said by him. "And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss or any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer, for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island." (v. 22-26.) And he foretells two things; both
1, That they must be cast upon an island, and
2. That though the ship would be lost, those who were in it should be saved-
Which thing he spoke not of conjecture, but of prophecy - and that he "must be brought before Caesar." But this that he says, "God hath given thee all," is not spoken boastfully, but in the wish to win those who were sailing in the ship: for (he spoke thus), not that they might feel themselves bound to him, but that they might believe what he was saying. "God hath given thee;" as much (as to say), They are worthy indeed of death, since they would not listen to thee: however, this is done out of favor to thee. "But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; and sounded, and found it twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. Then fearing lest they should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under color as though they would have cast anchors out of the fore-ship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off." (v. 27-32.)
The sailors however, were about to escape, having no faith in what was said: but the centurion does believe Paul, For he says, If these flee, "ye cannot be saved:" so saying, not on this account, but that he might restrain them, and the prophecy might not fall to the ground. See how as in a church they are instructed by the calmness of Paul's behavior, how' he saved them out of the very midst of the dangers. And it is of providential ordering that Paul is disbelieved, that after proof of the facts, he might be believed: which accordingly was the case. And he exhorts them again to take some meat, and they do as he bids them, and he takes some first, to persuade them not by word, but also by act, that the storm did them no harm, but rather was a benefit to their souls. "And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting having taken nothing." (v. 33.)
And how, say you, did they go without food, having taken nothing? how did they bear it? Their fear possessed them, and did not let them fall into a desire of food, being, as they were, at the point of extreme jeopardy; but they had no care for food. "Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat," (v. 34-36) seeing that there was no question about their lives being saved. "And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea. And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoisted up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore." (v. 37-41.)
"They made towards shore," having given the rudder-handles to the wind: for oftentimes they do it not in this way. They were borne along, having loosed the rigging, i.e. the sails. "And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmovable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves;" for when there is a strong wind, this is the consequence, the stern bearing the brunt (of the storm). "And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape." (v. 42.) Again the devil tries to hinder the prophecy, and they had a mind to kill some, but the centurion suffered them not, that he might save Paul, so much was the centurion attached to him. "But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: and the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land." (v. 43, 44.) "And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita." (ch. 28:1.)
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(42)  It was the counsel of the soldiers to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim to land and escape;
(43)  But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, prevented their carrying out their purpose. He commanded those who could swim to throw themselves overboard first and make for the shore,
(44)  And the rest on heavy boards or pieces of the vessel. And so it was that all escaped safely to land.



(End of Chapter Twenty Seven)

 

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