Acts xxvii.Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 2. Adrumetum. In the Greek, Adrametum, which seems to be the best reading: the former was in Africa, the latter in Asia; and the ship was to make for the coasts of Asia and not those of Africa. — Being about to sail[1] by the coast of Asia. Literally, beginning to sail; the sense can only be designing to sail that way, as appears also by the Greek. (Witham)

Ver. 4. We sailed under Cyprus. That is, north of Cyprus, betwixt the coasts of Cilicia and Cyprus, leaving it on our left, instead of leaving it on our right hand. (Witham)

Ver. 7. We sailed hard by Crete, now Candia, near by Salmone, sailing betwixt them. (Witham)

Ver. 8. Called Good-havens, a port on the east part of Crete, near the city of Thalassa, in the Greek text Lasea. (Witham)

Ver. 9. The fast was now past.[2] An annual fast. Some take it for the fast of the Ember-days, which Christians keep in December: but St. Chrysostom and others expound it of the Jewish fast of expiation, in their seventh month, Tisri, answering to our September or October. (Witham) — Most interpreters understand this of the solemn fast of expiation, mentioned in Leviticus (xvi. 29. and xxiii. 27.) which fell about the end of September and beginning of October. At this time sailing on the Mediterranean is dangerous. Though this phrase is at present obscure to us, we must recollect that St. Luke was writing for Christians, who being for the most part converted Jews, easily understood the expression. (Calmet)

Ver. 10. Ye men, I see, &c. This St. Paul foretells as a prophet. (Witham)

Ver. 12. Phœnice, on the south part of Crete, a convenient haven to ride safe in, lying by south-west and north-west. (Witham)

Ver. 14. Called Euroaquilo.[3] In the Protestant translation, Euroclydon, as in many Greek copies. In others Euraculon, which Dr. Wells prefers. (Witham)

Ver. 16. An island that is called Cauda. In some Greek copies Clauda, which the Protestants have followed; in others Caudos. — We had much work to come by the boat, or to hoist up the skiff belonging to the ship; which we did, lest it should be broken to pieces by the wind against the ship, or separated from it. (Witham)

Ver. 17. The used helps, under-girding the ship.[4] Perhaps bracing or binding about the vessel with ropes or chains, lest she should be torn asunder. — Into the quick-sands. Literally, into a syritis, such as are on the coasts of Africa, whither now they were almost driven. — The let down the sail-yard.[5] This seems to be the sense of these words letting down the vessel. Some translate striking the sail; but others think they were in apprehension for the mainmast. (Witham)

Ver. 18. They lightened the ship by throwing overboard part of their loading and goods. Some call it, they made the jetsam. (Witham)

Ver. 19. The tacking, or furniture of the ship that they could spare; others express it, they threw out the lagam. (Witham)

Ver. 21. Not…have saved this harm and loss, which you have brought upon you by not following my advice. (Witham) — All the company being in consternation and hourly expectation of death, did not think of taking meat. For it appears they did not want provisions, and nothing else forced them to fast. (Calmet) — The mildness of St. Paul’s address to them on this occasion is admirable. He mixes no severe rebuke for their past want of confidence in his words, but seems only solicitous for their future belief. In telling them that none of them should perish, he does not utter a mere conjecture, but speaks with prophetic knowledge; and, if he says they were all given to him, it was not to enhance his own merit, but to engage their faith and confidence in his veracity. (St. Chrysostom, Act. hom. lii.)

Ver. 23. An Angel of God. Literally, of the God whose I am; that is, whose servant I am. (Witham)

Ver. 24. God hath given thee all them; that is, the true God, maker and master of all things. It is sometimes a great happiness to be in the company of the saints, who by their prayers to God, help us. (Witham) — St. Paul prayed that all in the vessel with him might be saved; and an angel was sent to assure him his prayer was heard. If such was the merit of the apostle whilst yet in this mortal body, that the Almighty, in consideration of it, granted the lives of 276 persons, what do you think, will be his interest before God, now that he is glorious in heaven? (St. Jerome, contra Vigilant.)

Ver. 27. In the Adria. Not in what we call the Adriatic gulf, or sea of Venice, but that which lies betwixt Peloponnesus, Sicily, and Italy. (Witham)

Ver. 30. The ship-men…having let down the boat into the sea; that is, had begun to let it down with ropes, &c. (Witham)

Ver. 31. Paul said…unless these stay. Providence had ordered that all should escape, but by helping one another. (Witham)

Ver. 33. Taking nothing. That is, without taking a full meal, but only a morsel now and then, and nothing to speak of. (Witham) — Though St. Chrysostom understands these words in their full rigour, and therefore supposes them to have been supported by a miracle; yet is is not requisite to adhere to the severity of these words in the interpretation of them. Not having had time to prepare any regular meal during that time, they may justly be said to have taken nothing, though they had occasionally eaten a little now and then to support nature. Such exaggerations in discourse are common. Interpretes passim.

Ver. 40. Loosing also the rudderbands. Some ships are said heretofore to have had two rudders: and this ship perhaps had two, unless here the plural number be put for the singular, which is not uncommon in the style of the Scriptures. — And hoisting up the main-sail. The word in the text may signify any sail, either the main, or mizen-sail, which latter by the event was more than sufficient. (Witham)

Ver. 41. Into a place where two seas met.[6] It happened that there was a neck or tongue of land, which being covered with the waves, they who were strangers to the coast did not discover: this stranded the ship, the prow sticking fast, and the poop being torn from it, so that the vessel split by the violence of the winds and sea. (Witham)

Ver. 44. The rest…they carried on planks. That is, let them be carried on planks; and all got safe to land, in the number two hundred and seventy-six souls, or persons. (Witham)


[1] Ver. 2. Incipientes navigare, mellontes plein, navigaturi.

[2] Ver. 9. Jejunium pręteriisset. St. Chrysostom, om ignesteian ten ioudaion.

[3] Ver. 14. Euroaquilo, eurokludon. Dr. Wells prefers the reading of eurakulon.

[4] Ver. 17. Accingentes navem, upozonuntes to ploion, bracing the ship with something.

[5] Ver. 17. Submisso vase, chalasantes to skeuos. The word skeuos, has many significations, and may be taken for the ship, or any part of it: here it may signify the main-mast, which they might take down, lest it should be torn away.

[6] Ver. 41. In locum dithalassum, eis topon dithalasson.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Paul is shipped for Rome. His voyage and shipwreck.

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

2 *Going on board a ship of Adrumetum, we weighed anchor, commencing to sail by the coast of Asia; Aristarchus, the Macedonian, of Thessalonica, continuing with us.

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

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

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

6 And there the centurion finding a ship of Alexandria sailing to Italy, he put us aboard her.

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

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

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

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

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

12 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 Phœnice to winter there; which is a haven of Crete, looking towards the south-west and north-west.

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

14 But not long after there arose against her a tempestuous wind, called Euroaquila.

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

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

17 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.

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

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

20 And neither sun nor stars appearing for many days, and no small storm pressing, all hopes of our safety were now lost.

21 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 to me, and not have put off from Crete, and have saved this harm and loss.

22 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 an Angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, stood by me this night,

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

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

26 But we must come into a certain island.

27 Now after the fourteenth night was come, as we were sailing in the Adria about midnight, the ship-men deemed that they discovered some country.

28 And they sounded, and found twenty fathoms: and going on a little farther, they found fifteen fathoms.

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

30 But as the ship-men sought to fly out of the ship, having let down the boat into the sea, under pretence as though they would have cast anchors out of the fore-ship,

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

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

33 And when it began to be light, Paul besought them all to take food, saying: This day is the fourteenth day that you expecting, and remain fasting, taking nothing.

34 Wherefore, I pray you, to take some food for your health’s sake: for there shall not a hair of the head of any of you perish.

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

36 Then were they all of better cheer, and they also took food.

37 And we were in all, in the ship, two hundred and seventy-six souls.

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

39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek having a shore, into which they thought, if they could, to thrust the ship.

40 And when they had weighed the anchors, they committed themselves to the sea, loosing also the rudderbands; and hoisting up the main-sail to the wind, they made towards the shore.

41 And when we had fallen into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground: and the fore-part indeed sticking fast, remained immoveable: but the hinder-part was broken with the violence of the sea.

42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them, swimming out, should escape.

43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, forbade it to be done: and he commanded them who could swim, to cast themselves first out, and save themselves, and get to land.

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



1: about the year A.D. 60.

2: 2 Corinthians xi. 25.