Paul sails for Rome in a commercial grain ship. They encounter a terrible storm that rages at sea for 14 days. They are shipwrecked on Malta. [UPDATED]
VERSE 1. When it was determined that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Augustan band.
we. Up until this point in the Book of Acts, Luke always used pronouns such as “they.” Now he switches to “we.”
From this point on, Luke was with Paul on this journey.
the Augustan band. That is, he belonged to the Imperial Regiment. It was an honorary title given to certain troops.
VERSE 2. Embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to places on the coast of Asia, we put to sea, Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.
Adramyttium. That was the home base of the ship.
VERSE 3. The next day, we touched at Sidon. Julius treated Paul kindly, and gave him permission to go to his friends and refresh himself.
VERSE 4. Putting to sea from there, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
VERSE 5. When we had sailed across the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
VERSE 6. There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy, and he put us on board.
VERSE 7. When we had sailed slowly many days, and had come with difficulty opposite Cnidus, the wind not allowing us further, we sailed under the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone.
Crete. In those days, the people of Crete had a reputation for laziness and depravity:
Titus 1:12. One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons.”
VERSE 8. With difficulty sailing along it we came to a certain place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.
VERSE 9. When much time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, because the Fast had now already gone by, Paul admonished them
the Fast. Probably the Day of Atonement.
VERSE 10. and said to them, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”
VERSE 11. But the centurion gave more heed to the master and to the owner of the ship than to those things which were spoken by Paul.
VERSE 12. Because the haven was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised going to sea from there, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, and winter there, which is a port of Crete, looking southwest and northwest.
VERSE 13. When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to shore.
which is called Euroclydon. This was a wind of hurricane force. Most translations call it a “Northeaster.”
VERSE 15. When the ship was caught and couldn’t face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.
VERSE 16. Running under the lee of a small island called Clauda, we were able, with difficulty, to secure the boat.
VERSE 17. After they had hoisted it up, they used cables to help reinforce the ship. Fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis sand bars, they lowered the sea anchor, and so were driven along.
VERSE 18. As we labored exceedingly with the storm, the next day they began to throw things overboard.
VERSE 19. On the third day, they threw out the ship’s tackle with their own hands.
VERSE 20. When neither sun nor stars shone on us for many days, and no small storm pressed on us, all hope that we would be saved was now taken away.
VERSE 21. When they had been long without food, Paul stood up in the middle of them, and said, “Sirs, you should have listened to me, and not have set sail from Crete and have gotten this injury and loss.
VERSE 22. Now I exhort you to cheer up, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.
VERSE 23. For there stood by me this night an angel, belonging to the God whose I am and whom I serve,
stood by me .. an angel. Was this a Guardian Angel?
VERSE 24. saying, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. Behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’
Don’t be afraid. Again the Bible gives us those essential words: do not be afraid!
You must stand before Caesar. Paul’s life was all about testifying of the Lord Jesus Christ.
VERSE 25. Therefore, sirs, cheer up! For I believe God, that it will be just as it has been spoken to me.
cheer up! The Greek word is heuthymeô. It has the idea of having good feelings or being in good spirits.
VERSE 26. But we must run aground on a certain island.”
VERSE 27. But when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven back and forth in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors surmised that they were drawing near to some land.
VERSE 28. They took soundings, and found twenty fathoms. After a little while, they took soundings again, and found fifteen fathoms.
twenty fathoms. That is, 120 feet.
fifteen fathoms. That is, 90 feet.
VERSE 29. Fearing that we would run aground on rocky ground, they let go four anchors from the stern, and wished for daylight.
VERSE 30. As the sailors were trying to flee out of the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, pretending that they would lay out anchors from the bow,
VERSE 31. Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, “Unless these stay in the ship, you can’t be saved.”
VERSE 32. Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let it fall off.
VERSE 33. While the day was coming on, Paul begged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you wait and continue fasting, having taken nothing.
the fourteenth day. This is a very long time to be lost at sea.
VERSE 34. Therefore I beg you to take some food; for this is for your safety; for not a hair will perish from any of your heads.”
VERSE 35. When he had said this, and had taken bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all, then he broke it and began to eat.
VERSE 36. Then they all cheered up, and they also took food.
two hundred seventy-six souls. This was a large ship. However, in those days, there were even larger ships. Josephus the historian wrote about a ship he boarded to Italy. It carried 600 passengers.
throwing out the wheat. The ship was hauling grain.
VERSE 39. When it was day, they didn’t recognize the land, but they noticed a certain bay with a beach, and they decided to try to drive the ship onto it.
VERSE 40. Casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time untying the rudder ropes. Hoisting up the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach.
VERSE 41. But coming to a place where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground. The bow struck and remained immovable, but the stern began to break up by the violence of the waves.
VERSE 42. The soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim out and escape.
to kill the prisoners. The soldiers were accountable with their own lives for any prisoners who escaped. They were going to protect themselves by killing the prisoners.
VERSE 43. But the centurion, desiring to save Paul, stopped them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should throw themselves overboard first to go toward the land;
VERSE 44. and the rest should follow, some on planks, and some on other things from the ship. So they all escaped safely to the land.
the land. In the next chapter we learn that this land is Malta.
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