[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Acts: Chapter 27)



27:1 {That we should sail} (tou apoplein hēmas). This genitive articular infinitive with ekrithē like the LXX construction translating the Hebrew infinitive construct is awkward in Greek. Several similar examples in Lu 17:1; Ac 10:25; 20:3 (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 1068). Luke alone uses this old verb in N.T. He uses nine compounds of pleō, to sail. Note the reappearance of "we" in the narrative. It is possible, of course, that Luke was not with Paul during the series of trials at Caesarea, or at least, not all the time. But it is natural for Luke to use "we" again because he and Aristarchus are travelling with Paul. In Caesarea Paul was the centre of the action all the time whether Luke was present or not. The great detail and minute accuracy of Luke's account of this voyage and shipwreck throw more light upon ancient seafaring than everything else put together. Smith's "Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul" is still a classic on the subject. Though so accurate in his use of sea terms, yet Luke writes like a landsman, not like a sailor. Besides, the character of Paul is here revealed in a remarkable fashion.
{They delivered} (paredidoun). Imperfect active ōmega form rather than the old -mi form paredidosan as in 4:33, from paradidōmi. Perhaps the imperfect notes the continuance of the handing over.
{Certain other prisoners} (tinas heterous desmōtas). Bound (desmōtas) like Paul, but not necessarily appellants to Caesar, perhaps some of them condemned criminals to amuse the Roman populace in the gladiatorial shows, most likely pagans though heterous does not have to mean different kind of prisoners from Paul.
{Of the Augustan band} (speirēs Sebastēs). Note Ionic genitive speirēs, not speiras. See on »Mt 27:1; Ac 10:1. Cohortis Augustae. We do not really know why this cohort is called "Augustan." It may be that it is part of the imperial commissariat ("frumentarii") since Julius assumes chief authority in the grain ship (verse 11). These legionary centurions when in Rome were called "peregrini" (foreigners) because their work was chiefly in the provinces. This man Julius may have been one of them.

27:2 {In a ship of Adramyttium} (ploiōi Hadramuntēnōi). A boat belonging to Adramyttium, a city in Mysia in the province of Asia. Probably a small coasting vessel on its way home for the winter stopping at various places (topous). Julius would take his chances to catch another ship for Rome. The usual way to go to Rome was to go to Alexandria and so to Rome, but no large ship for Alexandria was at hand.
{We put to sea} (anēchthēmen). First aorist passive of anagō, usual word in Luke. {Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us} (ontos sun hēmin Aristarchou Makedonos Thessalonikeōs). Genitive absolute. Ramsay suggests that Luke and Aristarchus accompanied Paul as his slaves since they would not be allowed to go as his friends. But Luke was Paul's physician and may have gained permission on that score.

27:3 {The next day} (tēi heterāi). Locative case with hēmerāi understood.
{We touched} (katēchthēmen). First aorist passive of katagō, the usual term for "coming down" from the seas as anagō above (and verse 4) is for "going up" to sea. So it "looks" to sailors. Sidon was 67 miles from Caesarea, the rival of Tyre, with a splendid harbour. The ship stopped here for trade.
{Treated Paul kindly} (philanthrōpōs tōi Paulōi chrēsamenos). "Using (chrēsamenos, first aorist middle participle of chraomai, to use) Paul (instrumental case used with this verb) kindly" (philanthrōpōs, "philanthropically," adverb from phil-anthrōpos, love of mankind). He was kindly to Paul throughout the voyage (verse 43; 28:16), taking a personal interest in his welfare.
{Refresh himself} (epimeleias tuchein). Second aorist active infinitive of tugchanō (to obtain) with the genitive epimeleias, old word from epimelēs, careful, only here in the N.T. Whether it was mere hospitality we do not know. It may have been medical attention required because of Paul's long confinement. This is Paul's first visit to Sidon, but Christians were already in Phoenicia (11:19) and so Paul had "friends" here.

27:4 {We sailed under the lee of Cyprus} (hupepleusamen tēn Kupron). First aorist active indicative of hupopleō, to sail under. Cyprus was thus on the left between the ship and the wind from the northwest, under the protection of Cyprus.
{Because the winds were contrary} (dia to tous anemous einai enantious). The articular infinitive after dia and the accusative of general reference (anemous) with predicate accusative (enantious, facing them, in their very teeth if they went that way). The Etesian winds were blowing from the northwest so that they could not cut straight across from Sidon to Patara with Cyprus on the right. They must run behind Cyprus and hug the shore of Cilicia and Pamphylia.

27:5 {When we had sailed across} (diapleusantes). First aorist active participle of diapleō (another compound of pleō).
{The sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia} (to pelagos to kata tēn Kilikian kai Pamphulian). Pelagos is properly the high sea as here. In Mt 18:6 (which see) Jesus uses it of "the depth of the sea." Only these examples in the N.T. The current runs westward along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia and the land would protect from the wind.
{We came to Myra of Lycia} (katēlthamen eis Murra tēs Lukias). Literally, "We came down." This town was two and a half miles from the coast of Lycia. The port Andriace had a fine harbour and did a large grain business. No disciples are mentioned here nor at Lasea, Melita, Syracuse, Rhegium.

27:6 {Sailing for Italy} (pleon eis tēn Italian). This was the opportunity for which Lysias had been looking. So he put (enebibasen, first aorist active of embibazō, to cause to enter. Cf. epibantes in verse 2) prisoners and soldiers on board. This was a ship of Alexandria bound for Rome, a grain ship (38) out of its course because of the wind. Such grain ships usually carried passengers.

27:7 {When we had sailed slowly} (braduploountes). Present active participle of braduploeō (bradus, slow, plous, voyage). Literally, "sailing slowly," not "having or had sailed slowly." Only here and in Artemidorus (sec. cent. A.D.). It may mean "tacking" before the wind. Polybius uses tachuploeō, to sail swiftly.
{Many days} (en hikanais hēmerais). See on »Lu 7:6 for hikanos. Literally, "in considerable days."
{With difficulty} (molis). Used in old Greek, like mogis (Lu 9:39) from molos, toil (see Ac 14:18).
{Over against Cnidus} (kata tēn Knidon). "Down along Cnidus." A hundred and thirty miles from Myra, the southwest point of Asia Minor and the western coast. Here the protection of the land from the northwest wind ceased.
{The wind not further suffering us} (mē proseōntos hēmās tou anemou). Genitive absolute with present active participle of proseaō, one of the few words still "not found elsewhere" (Thayer). Regular negative with participles. They could not go on west as they had been doing since leaving Myra. {We sailed under the lee of Crete} (hupepleusamen tēn Krētēn). See under verse »4. Instead of going to the right of Crete as the straight course would have been they sailed southwest with Crete to their right and got some protection against the wind there.
{Over against Salmone} (kata Salmōnēn). Off Cape Salmone, a promontory on the east of the island.

27:8 {Coasting along} (paralegomenoi). Present middle participle of paralegō, to lay beside, not from legō, to collect or legō, to say. Diodorus Siculus uses paralegomai in precisely this sense of coasting along, like Latin "legere oram". In N.T. only here and verse 13.
{Fair Havens} (Kalous Limenas). This harbour is named Kalus Limeonas, a small bay two miles east of Cape Matala. It opens to the East and Southeast, but is not fit to winter in. This harbour would protect them for a time from the winds.
{The city of Lasea} (polis Lasea). Neither Lasea nor Fair Havens is mentioned by any ancient writer, two of the hundred cities of Crete.

27:9 {Where much time was spent} (Hikanou chronou diagenomenou). Genitive absolute again with second aorist middle participle of diaginomai, to come in between (dia). "Considerable time intervening," since they became weatherbound in this harbour, though some take it since they left Caesarea. {And the voyage was now dangerous} (kai ontos ēdē episphalous). Genitive absolute, "and the voyage being already (ēdē\=Latin "jam") dangerous" (old word from epi and sphallō, to trip, to fall, and so prone to fall, here only in N.T.).
{Because the Fast was now already gone by} (dia to kai tēn nēsteian ēdē parelēluthenai). Accusative (after dia) of the articular infinitive perfect active of parerchomai, to pass by, with the accusative of general reference (nēsteian, the great day of atonement of the Jews, Le 16:29ff.) occurring about the end of September. The ancients considered navigation on the Mediterranean unsafe from early October till the middle of March. In A.D. 59 the Fast occurred on Oct. 5. There is nothing strange in Luke using this Jewish note of time as in 20:6 though a Gentile Christian. Paul did it also (1Co 16:8). It is no proof that Luke was a Jewish proselyte. We do not know precisely when the party left Caesarea (possibly in August), but in ample time to arrive in Rome before October if conditions had been more favourable. But the contrary winds had made the voyage very slow and difficult all the way (verse 7) besides the long delay here in this harbour of Fair Havens.
{Paul admonished them} (parēinēi ho Paulos). Imperfect active of paraineō, old word to exhort from para and aineō, to praise (3:8), only here and verse 22 in N.T. It is remarkable that a prisoner like Paul should venture to give advice at all and to keep on doing it (imperfect tense inchoative, began to admonish and kept on at it). Paul had clearly won the respect of the centurion and officers and also felt it to be his duty to give this unasked for warning.
{I perceive} (theōrō). Old word from theōros, a spectator. See Lu 10:18. Paul does not here claim prophecy, but he had plenty of experience with three shipwrecks already (2Co 11:25) to justify his apprehension.
{Will be} (mellein esesthai). Infinitive in indirect assertion followed by future infinitive after mellein in spite of hoti which would naturally call for present indicative mellei, an anacoluthon due to the long sentence (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 478).
{With injury} (meta hubreōs). An old word from huper (above, upper, like our "uppishness") and so pride, insult, personal injury, the legal word for personal assault (Page). Josephus ("Ant". III. 6, 4) uses it of the injury of the elements.
{Loss} (zēmian). Old word, opposite of kerdos, gain or profit (Php 3:7f.). Nowhere else in N.T.
{Lading} (phortiou). Diminutive of phortos (from pherō, to bear) only in form. Common word, but in N.T. only here in literal sense, as metaphor in Mt 11:30; 23:4; Lu 11:46; Ga 6:5.
{But also of our lives} (alla kai tōn psuchōn). Common use of psuchē for life, originally "breath of life" (Ac 20:10), and also "soul" (14:2). Fortunately no lives were lost, though all else was. But this outcome was due to the special mercy of God for the sake of Paul (verse 24), not to the wisdom of the officers in rejecting Paul's advice. Paul begins now to occupy the leading role in this marvellous voyage.

27:11 {Gave more heed} (māllon epeitheto). Imperfect middle of peithō, to yield to (with the dative case). The "Frumentarian" centurion ranked above the captain and owner. As a military officer the centurion was responsible for the soldiers, the prisoners, and the cargo of wheat. It was a government ship. Though the season was not advanced, the centurion probably feared to risk criticism in Rome for timidity when the wheat was so much needed in Rome (Knowling).
{To the master} (tōi kubernētēi). Old word from kubernaō, to steer, and so steersman, pilot, sailing-master. Common in this sense in the papyri. In N.T. only here and Re 18:17.
{And to the owner of the ship} (kai tōi nauklērōi). Old word compounded of naus and klēros and used for owner of the ship who acted as his own skipper or captain. The papyri examples (Moulton and Milligan's "Vocabulary") all have the meaning "captain" rather than "owner."

27:12 {Because the haven was not commodious to winter in} (aneuthetou tou limenos huparchontos pros paracheimasian). Genitive absolute again present tense of huparchō: "The harbour being unfit (aneuthetou, this compound not yet found elsewhere, simplex in Lu 9:62; 14:35; Heb 6:7) for wintering" (paracheimasia, only here in N.T., but in Polybius and Diodorus, in an inscription A.D. 48, from paracheimazō).
{The more part advised} (hoi pleiones ethento boulēn). Second aorist middle indicative of tithēmi, ancient idiom with boulēn, to take counsel, give counsel. Lysias held a council of the officers of the ship on the issue raised by Paul.
{If by any means they could reach Phoenix and winter there} (ei pōs dunainto katantēsantes eis Phoinika paracheimasai). The optative dunainto (present middle of dunamai) here with ei is a condition of the fourth class with the notion of purpose implied and indirect discourse (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 1021). "We vote for going on the chance that we may be able" (Page). Phoenix is the town of palms (Joh 12:13), the modern Lutro, the only town in Crete on the southern coast with a harbour fit for wintering, though Wordsworth and Page argue for Phineka which suits Luke's description better. The verb paracheimazō, to winter, is from para and cheimōn (see also 28:11). Used in several "Koinē" writers.
{Looking northeast and southeast} (bleponta kata liba kai kata chōron). There are two ways of interpreting this language. Lips means the southwest wind and chōros the northwest wind. But what is the effect of kata with these words? Does it mean "facing" the wind? If so, we must read "looking southwest and northwest." But kata can mean down the line of the wind (the way the wind is blowing). If so, then it is proper to translate "looking northeast and southeast." This translation suits Lutro, the other suits Phoenike. Ramsay takes it to be Lutro, and suggests that sailors describe the harbour by the way it looks as they go into it (the subjectivity of the sailors) and that Luke so speaks and means Lutro which faces northeast and southeast. On the whole Lutro has the best of the argument.

27:13 {When the south wind blew softly} (hupopneusantos notou). Genitive absolute with aorist active participle of hupopneō, old verb to blow under, then to blow gently, here only in N.T. "A south wind having blown gently," in marked contrast to the violent northwest wind that they had faced so long. They were so sure of the wisdom of their decision that they did not even draw up the small boat attached by a rope to the vessel's stern (verse 16). It was only some forty miles to Lutro.
{Their purpose} (tēs protheseōs, set before them, from protithēmi), genitive after krateō (kekratēkenai, perfect active infinitive in indirect discourse).
{They weighed anchor} (ārantes). First aorist active participle of airō, old verb used in technical sense with tas agkuras (anchors) understood as in Thucydides I. 52; II. 23, "having lifted the anchors." Page takes it simply as "moving."
{Sailed along Crete} (parelegonto tēn Krētēn). Imperfect middle. See verse 8, "were coasting along Crete." {Close in shore} (āsson). Comparative adverb of agki, near, and so "nearer" to shore. Only here in N.T.

27:14 {After no long time} (met' ou polu). Litotes again.
{Beat down from it} (ebalen kat' autēs). Second aorist active indicative of ballō, to throw. Here "dashed" (intransitive). Autēs is in the ablative, not genitive case, beat "down from it" (Crete), not "against it or on it." (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 606). Autēs cannot refer to ploion (boat) which is neuter. So the ablative case with kata as in Mr 5:13, Homer also. The Cretan mountains are over 7,000 feet high.
{A tempestuous wind which is called Euraquilo} (anemos tuphōnikos ho kaloumenos Eurakulōn). Tuphōn=Tuphōs was used for the typhoon, a violent whirlwind (turbo) or squall. This word gives the character of the wind. The Eurakulōn (reading of Aleph A B against the Textus Receptus Eurokludōn) has not been found elsewhere. Blass calls it a hybrid word compounded of the Greek euros (east wind) and the Latin aquilo (northeast). It is made like euronotos (southeast). The Vulgate has "euroaquilo". It is thus the east north east wind. Page considers Euroclydon to be a corruption of Euraquilo. Here the name gives the direction of the wind.

27:15 {When the ship was caught} (sunarpasthentos tou ploiou). Genitive absolute again with first aorist passive of sunarpazō, old word, in N.T. only Lu 8:29; Ac 6:12; 19:29, and here. Graphic picture as if the ship was seized by a great monster. {Face the wind} (antophthalmein tōi anemōi). Dative case with the vivid infinitive of antophthalmeō from antophthalmos, looking in the eye, or eye to eye (anti, facing and opthalmos, eye). Eyes were painted on the prows of vessels. The ship could not face the wind enough to get to Phoenix. Modern sailors talk of sailing into the eye of the wind. We were not able to look the wind in the eye. "Koinē" verb used by Polybius. Some MSS. have it in Ac 6:11, but only here in N.T. In Wisdom of Sol. 12:14 it is used of a prince who cannot look God in the face. Clement of Rome 34 uses it of an idle workman not able to look his employer in the face (Milligan and Moulton's "Vocabulary").
{We gave way} (epidontes). Second aorist active participle of epididōmi, giving way to the wind.
{Were driven} (epherometha). Imperfect passive of pherō, "we were being borne along." We "scudded before the gale" (Page). "The suddenness of the hurricane gave no time to furl the great mainsail" (Furneaux).

27:16 {Running under the lee of} (hupodramontes). Second aorist active participle of hupotrechō. Same use of hupo as in hupepleusamen (verses 4,8) for "under the lee", under the protection of. Nēsion is diminutive of nēsos, a small island. The MSS. vary between Cauda (B) and Clauda (Aleph).
{To secure the boat} (perikrateis genesthai tēs skaphēs). "To become masters (perikrateis from peri and kratos, power over, found in Susannah and ecclesiastical writers, and here only in N.T.) of the boat ("dug out," like Indian boats, literally, from skaptō, to dig, old word, here only in N.T. and verses 30,32). The smooth water behind the little island enabled them to do this.
{When they had hoisted it up} (hēn ārantes). "Which (the little boat) having hoisted up (arantes, verse 13)." Even so it was "with difficulty" (molis). Perhaps the little boat was waterlogged.
{Used helps} (boētheiais echrōnto). Imperfect middle of chraomai with instrumental case. The "helps" were ropes or chains, no doubt.
{Under-girding the ship} (hupozōnnuntes to ploion). Present active participle of hupozōnnumi. Old verb, here only in N.T. Probably cables (hupozōmata) or ropes were used under the hull of the ship laterally or even longitudinally, tightly secured on deck. This "frapping" was more necessary for ancient vessels because of the heavy mast. The little island made it possible to do this also. {Lest we be cast upon the Syrtis} (mē eis tēn Surtin ekpesōsin). Final clause after verb of fearing (phoboumenoi) with and the second aorist active subjunctive of ekpiptō, old verb to fall out or off, to be cast away. So here and verses 26,29, a classical use of the verb for a ship driven out of its course on to shoals or rocks (Page who cites Xenophon, "Anab". VII. 5, 12). The Syrtis was the name for two quicksands between Carthage and Cyrenaica, this clearly being the Syrtis Major most dangerous because of the sandbanks (surtis, from surō). The wind would drive the ship right into this peril if something were not done.
{They lowered the gear} (chalasantes to skeuos). First aorist active participle of chalaō (cf. Lu 5:4 for lowering the nets). Skeuos means vessel or gear. They slackened or reduced sail, especially the mainsail, but leaving enough to keep the ship's head as close to the wind as was practicable.
{So were driven} (houtōs epheronto). Imperfect passive indicative again as in verse 15 with the addition of houtōs (thus). The ship was now fixed as near to the wind (E N E) as possible (seven points). That would enable the ship to go actually W by N and so avoid the quicksands. J. Smith has shown that, a day being lost around Cauda, the ship going 36 miles in 24 hours in 13 days would make 468 miles. The Island of Malta (Melita) is precisely in that direction (W by N) from Cauda and is 480 miles. Page sees a difficulty about this explanation of the steady drift of the ship in the word diapheromenon in verse 27, but that was at the end of the drifting and the varied winds could have come then and not before. The whole narrative as explained carefully in Smith's "Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul" is a masterpiece of precise and accurate scholarship. A resume of his results appears in my "Luke the Historian in the Light of Research".

27:18 {As we laboured exceedingly with the storm} (sphodrōs cheimazomenōn hēmōn). Genitive absolute with present passive participle of cheimazō, old verb to afflict with a tempest (cheima, stormy weather), to toss upon the waves, here alone in N.T.
{They began to throw overboard} (ekbalēn epoiounto). Literally, "They began to make (inchoative imperfect middle of poieō) a casting out" (ekbolēn from ekballō, to cast out, old word, only here in N.T.). Cf. Latin "jacturam facere". This to lighten the ship by throwing overboard the cargo. The grain in the ship would shift and make it list and so added to the danger. {They cast out} (eripsan). Third person plural aorist active of riptō, not eripsamen as Textus Receptus.
{With their own hands} (autocheires). Old word (autos, cheir) but here alone in N.T. Vivid and graphic touch by Luke who, of course, watched every movement day by day.
{The tackling} (tēn skeuēn). The furniture of the ship that could be spared. It was becoming desperate.

27:20 {When neither sun nor stars shone upon us} (mēte hēliou mēte astrōn epiphainontōn). Genitive absolute again.
{For many days} (epi pleionas hēmeras). For more days than a few.
{No small tempest} (cheimonos ouk oligou). Litotes again.
{All hope that we should be saved was now taken away} (loipon periēireito elpis pāsa tou sōzesthai hēmas). "For the rest (or future) there began to be taken from around us (periēireito inchoative imperfect and see use of the verb in 2Co 13:16 of the veil) all hope of the being saved so far as we were concerned." Despair was beginning to settle like a fog on all their hopes. Had Paul lost hope?

27:21 {When they had been long without food} (pollēs te asitias huparchousēs). Genitive absolute, the old word asitia from asitos (verse 33) a privative and sitos, food, here alone in N.T. Literally, "There being much abstinence from food." They had plenty of grain on board, but no appetite to eat (sea-sickness) and no fires to cook it (Page). "Little heart being left for food" (Randall). Galen and other medical writers use asitia and asitos for want of appetite.
{Stood forth} (statheis). As in 1:15; 2:14; 17:22. Pictorial word (Page) that sets forth the vividness and solemnity of the scene (Knowling).
{Ye should have hearkened unto me} (edei men peitharchēsantas moi). Literally, "It was necessary for you hearkening unto me not to set sail (mē anagesthai)." It was not the "I told you so" of a small nature, "but a reference to the wisdom of his former counsel in order to induce acceptance of his present advice" (Furneaux). The first aorist active participle is in the accusative of general reference with the present infinitive anagesthai.
{And have gotten this injury and loss} (kerdēsai te tēn hubrin tautēn kai tēn zēmian). This Ionic form kerdēsai (from kerdaō) rather than kerdēnai or kerdānai is common in late Greek (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 349). The Revised Version thus carries over the negative to this first aorist active infinitive kerdēsai from kerdaō (cf. on »Mt 16:26). But Page follows Thayer in urging that this is not exact, that Paul means that by taking his advice they ought to have escaped this injury and loss. "A person is said in Greek 'to gain a loss' when, being in danger of incurring it, he by his conduct saves himself from doing so." This is probably Paul's idea here.

27:22 {And now} (kai ta nun). Accusative plural neuter article of general reference in contrast with men in verse 21. Paul shows modesty (Bengel) in the mild contrast.
{No loss of life} (apobolē psuchēs oudemia). Old word from apoballō, to throw away, only twice in N.T. Ro 11:15 (rejection) and here. He had foretold such loss of life as likely (verse 10), but he now gives his reason for his changed view.

27:23 {For there stood by me} (parestē gar moi). Second aorist active (intransitive) indicative of paristēmi with the locative case (beside me). The very form used by Paul of his trial (2Ti 4:17) when "the Lord stood by me" (ho de kurios moi parestē) when others deserted him. This angel of the God whom Paul serves (in distinction from the heathen gods) is the reason for Paul's present confidence.

27:24 {Thou must stand before Caesar} (Kaisari se dei parastēnai). Note the same dei (must) as in 23:11 when Jesus appeared to Paul in Jerusalem and the same verb parastēnai (second aorist active infinitive) used in verse 23.
{Hath granted thee} (kecharistai soi). Perfect middle indicative of charizomai and that from charis, a gift or grace. The lives of those that sailed with Paul God had spared as a gift (charis) to Paul.

27:25 {Wherefore be of good cheer} (dio euthumeite). God had spoken. That was enough. This old verb from euthumos in the N.T. only here, verse 25; Jas 5:13. See the adjective 27:36. {For I believe God} (pisteuō gar tōi theōi). This is Paul's reason for his own good cheer and for his exhortation to confidence in spite of circumstances so untoward. Paul had doubtless prayed for his own life and for the lives of all. He was sure that he was to bear his witness in Rome.

27:26 {We must be cast} (dei hēmās ekpesein). It is necessary for us to fall out (ekpesein, second aorist active infinitive of ekpiptō). It was not revealed to Paul what island it would be.

27:27 {As we were driven to and fro} (diapheromenōn hēmōn). Genitive absolute with present passive participle of diapherō, old verb to bear different ways (dia=duo, two), this way and that. Continued to be tossed to and fro in the rough seas. It would seem so to those on board. It does not necessarily mean that the wind had changed. The fourteenth night is reckoned from the time they left Fair Havens.
{In the sea of Adria} (en tōi Hadriāi). Not the Adriatic Sea as we now call the sea between Italy and the mainland of Illyricum, but all the lower Mediterranean between Italy and Greece. Luke's usage is like that of Strabo.
{Surmised} (hupenooun). Imperfect active indicative of huponoeō, inchoative, began to suspect.
{That they were drawing near to some country} (prosagein tina autois chōran). Infinitive with accusative of general reference in indirect assertion. Prosagō is here used intransitively and Luke writes from the sailor's standpoint that a certain land was drawing near to them (autois, dative). The sailors heard the sound of breakers and grew uneasy.

27:28 {They sounded} (bolisantes). First aorist active participle of bolizō rare verb only here and in Eustathius who says it was familiar in ancient Greek. Apparently from bolis, a missile or dart, and so to throw down the lead into the sea, to heave the lead, to take soundings. The inscriptions give bolimos for "leaden."
{Twenty fathoms} (orguias eikosi). This old word, from oregō, to stretch, means the distance from one outstretched middle finger tip to the other likewise out-stretched.
{After a little space} (brachu diastēsantes). Literally, "standing apart a little" (second aorist active participle of diistēmi), that is, the ship going a short distance further on. A ship today approaching St. Paul's Bay by the rocky point of Koura would pass first twenty, then fifteen fathoms (Furneaux).

27:29 {Lest haply we should be cast ashore on rocky ground} (mē pou kata tracheis topous ekpesōmen). The usual construction after a verb of fearing (mē and the aorist subjunctive ekpesōmen). Literally, "Lest somewhere (pou) we should fall out down against (kata) rocky places." The change in the soundings made it a very real fear. Tracheis (rough) is old adjective, but in the N.T. only here and Lu 3:5 (from Isa 40:4).
{Four anchors} (agkuras tessaras). Old word from agkē. In N.T. only in this chapter, with rhiptō here, with ekteinō in verse 30, with periaireō in verse 40; and Heb 6:19 (figuratively of hope).
{From the stern} (ek prumnēs). Old word, but in N.T. only in Mr 4:38; here and 41 in contrast with prōira (prow). The usual practice was and is to anchor by the bows. "With a view to running the ship ashore anchoring from the stern would, it is said, be best" (Page). Nelson is quoted as saying that he had been reading Ac 27 the morning of the Battle of Copenhagen (April, 1801) where he anchored his ships from the stern.
{Wished for the day} (ēuchonto). Imperfect middle, kept on praying for "day to come" (hēmeran genesthai) before the anchors broke under the strain of the storm or began to drag. If the ship had been anchored from the prow, it would have swung round and snapped the anchors or the stern would have faced the beach.

27:30 {The sailors} (tōn nautōn). Old word from naus (ship), in N.T. only here, verse 30; Re 18:17.
{Were seeking} (zētountōn). Genitive absolute again with present active participle of zēteō to seek.
{Had lowered} (chalasantōn). Aorist active participle of chalazō.
{Under colour} (prophasei). Possibly the same word as "prophecy" (from pro-phēmi, to speak forth), but here pretence, pretext, although it may come from prophainō, to show forth. The use here is an old one and appears also in Mr 12:40; Lu 20:47; 1Th 2:5; Php 1:18.
{As though} (hōs). The alleged reason, a common Greek idiom with hōs and the participle (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 966). Here with mellontōn.
{From the foreship} (ek prōirēs). Old word for prow of the ship. In the N.T. only here and verse 41. Note here ekteinein (lay out, stretch out) rather than rhipsantes (casting) in verse 29, for they pretended to need the small boat to stretch out or lay out the anchors in front.

27:31 {Except these abide in the ship} (Ean mē houtoi meinōsin en tōi ploiōi). Condition of the third class (undetermined, but with hope, etc.). Paul has no hesitancy in saying this in spite of his strong language in verse 24 about God's promise. He has no notion of lying supinely down and leaving God to do it all. Without the sailors the ship could not be properly beached.

27:32 {The ropes} (ta schoinia). Diminutive of schoinos, old word, but in N.T. only here and Joh 2:15. Paul is now saviour of the ship and the soldiers quickly cut loose the skiff and "let her fall off" (eiasan autēn ekpesein) rather than be the means of the escape of the sailors who were needed. This dastardly scheme of the sailors would have brought frightful loss of life.

27:33 {While the day was coming on} (achri hou hēmera ēmellen ginesthai). More likely here achri hou (for achri toutou hōi) with the imperfect ēmellen, has its usual meaning, "until which time day was about to come on (ginesthai, present middle infinitive, linear action)." That is Paul kept on exhorting or beseeching (parekalei, imperfect active) them until dawn began to come on (cf. verse 39 when day came). In Heb 3:13 achri hou with the present indicative has to mean "so long as" or while, but that is not true here (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 975). See on »Ac 2:46 for the same phrase for partaking food (metalambanō trophēs, genitive case) as also in 27:34. Paul wanted them to be ready for action when day really came. "Fourteenth day" repeated (verse 27), only here in the accusative of duration of time (hēmeran). It is not clear whether the "waiting" (prosdokōntes, present active participle predicate nominative complementary participle after diateleite, Robertson, "Grammar", p. 1121) means fourteen days of continuous fasting or only fourteen successive nights of eager watching without food. Galen and Dionysius of Halicarnassus employ the very idiom used here by Luke (asitos diateleō).
{Having taken nothing} (mēthen proslabomenoi). Second aorist middle participle of proslambanō with the accusative mēthen rather than the more usual mēden. Probably Paul means that they had taken no regular meals, only bits of food now and then.

27:34 {For this is for your safety} (touto gar pros tēs humeteras sōtērias huparchei). Note sōtēria in sense of "safety," literal meaning, not spiritual salvation. This is the only instance in the N.T. of the use of pros with the ablative meaning "from the side of" your safety, though a classic idiom (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 623), an example of Luke's literary style.
{Perish} (apoleitai). Future middle (intransitive) of apollumi (-uō), to destroy. So the oldest MSS. rather than peseitai from piptō, to fall. This proverbial expression occurs also in Lu 21:18 which see and in 1Sa 14:45; 2Sa 14:11; 1Ki 1:52.

27:35 {Gave thanks to God} (eucharistēsen tōi theōi). First aorist active indicative of eucharisteō from which our word "Eucharist" comes. It was saying grace like the head of a Hebrew family and the example of Paul would encourage the others to eat. Probably Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus had memories of the Lord's supper (Ac 2:42) while to others it was only an ordinary meal (Lu 24:30).

27:36 {Then were they all of good cheer} (euthumoi de genomenoi). More exactly, "Then all becoming cheerful," because of Paul's words and conduct.
{Took food} (proselabonto trophēs). Partitive genitive here (some food), not accusative as verse 33. Paul's courage was contagious.

27:37 {Two hundred three-score and sixteen souls} (diakosiai hebdomēkonta hex). The Vatican Manuscript (B) has hōs in place of diakosiai (two hundred) which Westcott and Hort put in the margin. But Alford is probably correct in suggesting that the scribe of B wrote hōs by repeating the omega in ploiōi with s = 200 (Greek numeral). If the number 276 seems large, it is to be remembered that we do not know the size of the ship. Josephus ("Life", 3) says that there were 600 on the ship that took him to Italy. The grain ships were of considerable size. The number included sailors, soldiers, and prisoners. A muster or roll call may have been made.

27:38 {When they had eaten enough} (koresthentes trophēs). First aorist passive of korennumi, old verb to satisfy, to satiate, with the genitive. Literally, "Having been satisfied with food." Here only in the N.T.
{They lightened} (ekouphizon). Inchoative imperfect active, began to lighten. Old verb from kouphos and originally to be light, but transitive to lighten, as here, from Hippocrates on.
{Throwing out the wheat} (ekballomenoi ton siton). The cargo of wheat. The second ekbolē (verse 18) or casting out and overboard which was only partially done at first.

27:39 {They knew not} (ouk epeginōskon). Imperfect active of epiginōskō, to recognize. Probably conative, tried to recognize and could not (Conybeare and Howson). The island was well-known (28:1, epegnōmen), but St. Paul's Bay where the wreck took place was some distance from the main harbour (Valetta) of Melita (Malta).
{They perceived} (katenooun). Imperfect active of katanoeō, gradually perceived after some effort as in 11:16. This beach seemed their only hope.
{They took counsel} (ebouleuonto). Imperfect middle showing the process of deliberation and doubt. The bay "having a beach" (echonta aigialon) is a phrase found in Xenophon's "Anabasis" VI. 4, 4. {Whether they could drive} (ei dunainto eksōsai). This use of the optative with ei in questions of this sort (implied indirect) is a neat Greek idiom (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 1021). B C Bohairic read eksōsai (first aorist active infinitive of eksōzō), to save out (so Westcott and Hort), instead of exōsai (from exōtheō, to push out, as Textus Receptus).

27:40 {Casting off} (perielontes). Second aorist active of periaireō. Literally, "Having taken away from around," that is all four anchors from around the stern. Cf. the other verbs with agkuras in verse 29,30.
{They left them in the sea} (eiōn eis tēn thalassan). Imperfect active of eaō, either descriptive or inchoative. They let the anchors go and the ropes fell down into the sea.
{At the same time loosing the bands of the rudders} (hama anentes tas zeuktērias tōn pēdaliōn). On the use of hama with the participle, old Greek idiom see Robertson, "Grammar", p. 1139. The second aorist active participle of aniēmi, to relax, loosen up. Old verb, in N.T. Ac 16:26; 27:40; Eph 6:9; Heb 13:5. Thayer notes that zeuktērias (bands) occurs nowhere else, but several papyri use it of yokes and waterwheels (Moulton and Milligan's "Vocabulary"). The word for rudders (pēdalion) is an old one (from pēdon, the blade of an oar), but in the N.T. only here and Jas 3:4. Page notes that the ancient ships had a pair of paddle rudders like those of the early northmen, one on each quarter. The paddle rudders had been fastened while the ship was anchored.
{Hoisting up the foresail to the wind} (eparantes ton artemōna tēi pneousēi). Supply aurāi (breeze) after pneousēi (blowing). It is not clear what "sail" is meant by "\artemōna." No other example in Greek is known, though the scholiast to Juvenal XII. 68 explains velo prora suo by "artemone solo". Hence "foresail" is probably correct.
{They made for the beach} (kateichon eis ton aigialon). Imperfect active of katechō, to hold down, perhaps inchoative. "They began to hold the ship steadily for the beach."

27:41 {But lighting upon} (peripesontes de). Second aorist active participle of peripiptō, old verb to fall into and so be encompassed by as in Lu 10:30; Jas 1:2. There is a current on one side of St. Paul's Bay between a little island (Salmonetta) and Malta which makes a sand bank between the two currents. Unexpectedly the ship stuck in this sandbar.
{Where two seas met} (dithalasson). Used in Strabo and Dio Chrysostom for divided seas (dis, thalassa).
{They ran the vessel aground} (epekeilan tēn naun). First aorist active indicative of old verb epikellō, to run a ship ashore. Only here in N.T. Here also we have the only N.T. use of naus for ship (from naō, neō, to swim) so common in ancient Greek. Our word navy is from this word through the Latin.
{Struck} (ereisasa). First aorist active participle of ereidō, old verb to fix firmly. Only here in N.T. {Unmoveable} (asaleutos). From a privative and saleuō to shake. Old word. In N.T. only here and Heb 12:28.
{Began to break up} (elueto). Inchoative imperfect passive of the old verb luō, to loosen. The prow was stuck in the sand-bar, and the stern was breaking to pieces by the opposing waves lashing on both sides. It was a critical moment.

27:42 {Counsel was to kill} (boulē egeneto hina--apokteinōsin). The soldiers did not relish the idea of the escape of the prisoners. Hence there came this "counsel" (boulē). Regular Greek idiom for purpose (hina and aorist active subjunctive of apokteinō, to kill). Soldiers were responsible for the lives of prisoners (Ac 12:19).
{Swim out} (ekkolumbēsas). First aorist active participle of ekkolumbaō, old verb to swim out and so away.
{Escape} (diaphugēi). Second aorist (effective) active subjunctive of diapheugō, to make a clean (dia) escape.

27:43 {To save Paul} (diasōsai ton Paulon). Effective first aorist active infinitive of diasōzō. And no wonder for the centurion knew now how much they all owed to Paul.
{Stayed them from their purpose} (ekōleusen autous tou boulēmatos.) Ablative case of boulēma after ekōleusen (from kōleuō, to hinder, common verb).
{And get first to land} (prōtous eis tēn gēn exienai). This classic verb exeimi occurs four times in Acts (13:42; 17:15; 20:7; 27:32) and nowhere else in the N.T. It was a wise command.

27:44 {Some on planks} (hous men epi sanisin). Common Greek idiom (hous men--hous de) for "some--some." The only N.T. instance of the old Greek word sanis for board or plank. The breaking of the ship gave scraps of timber which some used.
{They all escaped safe} (pantas diasōthēnai). First aorist passive infinitive of diasōzō (the very word used for the desire of the centurion about Paul) with accusative of general reference, the clause being subject of egeneto. So Luke in this marvellous narrative, worthy of any historian in any age, shows how Paul's promise was fulfilled (verse 24). Paul the prisoner is the hero of the voyage and shipwreck, a wonderful example of God's providential care.


[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Acts: Chapter 27)



Home
| About LW | Site Map | LW Publications | Search
Developed by © Levend Water All rights reserved