VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Band. See on Mark xv. 16.
Courteously (filanqrwpwv). Only here in New Testament. Lit., in a man-loving way; humanely; kindly. Rev., kindly, better than courteously. Courteous, from court, expresses rather polish of manners than real kindness.
To refresh himself (epimeleiav tucein). Lit., to receive care or attention.
Scarce (moliv). Incorrect. Render, as Rev., with difficulty. See, also, hardly, in verse 8. The meaning is not that they had scarcely reached Cnidus when the wind became contrary, nor that they had come only as far as Cnidus in many days; but that they were retarded by contrary winds between Myra and Cnidus, a distance of about one hundred and thirty miles, which, with a favorable wind, they might have accomplished in a day. Such a contrary wind would have been the northwesterly, which prevails during the summer months in that part of the Archipelago.
Hurt (ubrewv). The word literally means insolence, injury, and is used here metaphorically: insolence of the winds and waves, "like our 'sport' or 'riot' of the elements" (Hackett). Some take it literally, with presumption, as indicating the folly of undertaking a voyage at that season; but the use of the word in verse 21 is decisive against this.
Damage (zhmiav). Better, as Rev., loss. Hurt and damage (A.V.) is tautological. See on the kindred verb, notes on lose, Matt. xvi. 26, and cast away, Luke ix. 25.
Lieth toward the southwest and northwest (bleponta kata Liba kai kata Cwron). Instead of lieth, Rev., literally and correctly, renders looking. The difference between the Rev. and A.V., as to the points of the compass, turns on the rendering of the preposition kata The words southwest and northwest mean, literally, the southwest and northwest winds. According to the A.V., kata means toward, and has reference to the quarter from which these winds blow. According to the Rev., kata means down: "looking down the southwest and northwest winds," i.e., in the direction toward which they blow, viz., northeast and southeast. This latter view assumes that Phenice and Lutro are the same, which is uncertain. For full discussion of the point, see Smith, "Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul;" Hackett, "Commentary on Acts;" Conybeare and Howson, "Life and Epistles of St. Paul."
Others, the ship. It is objected that the pronoun aujthv, it, is feminine, while the feminine noun for ship (nauv) is not commonly used by Luke, but rather the neuter, ploion. I do not think this objection entitled to much weight. Luke is the only New Testament writer who uses nauv (see verse 41), though he uses it but once; and, as Hackett remarks, "it would be quite accidental which of the terms would shape the pronoun at this moment, as they were both so familiar." A third explanation refers the pronoun to the island of Crete, and renders, "there beat down from it." This is grammatical, and according to a well-known usage of the preposition. The verb ballw is also used intransitively in the sense of to fall; thus Homer ("Iliad," xi., 722), of a river falling into the sea. Compare Mark iv. 37: "the waves beat (epeballen) into the ship; "and Luke xv. 12: "the portion of goods that falleth (epiballon) to me." The rendering of the Rev. is, therefore, well supported, and, on the whole, preferable: there beat down from it. It is also according to the analogy of the expression in Luke viii. 23, there came down a storm. See note there, and on Matthew viii. 24.
A tempestuous wind (anemov tufwnikov). Lit., a typhonic wind. The word tufwn means a typhoon, and the adjective formed from it means of the character of a typhoon.
Euroclydon (Eurokludwn). The best texts read Eujrakulwn, Euraquilo: i.e., between Eurus, "the E.S.E. wind," and Aquilo, "the north-wind, or, strictly, N. 1/3 E." Hence, E. N. E.
We let her drive (epidontev eferomeqa). Lit., having given up to it, we were born along.
Undergirding (upozwnnuntev). In modern nautical language, frapping: passing cables or chains round the ship's hull in order to support her in a storm. Mr. Smith ("Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul") cites the following from the account of the voyage of Captain George Back from the arctic regions in 1837: "A length of the stream chain-cable was passed under the bottom of the ship four feet before the mizzen-mast, hove tight by the capstan, and finally immovably fixed to six ringbolts on the quarter-deck. The effect was at once manifest by a great diminution in the working of the parts already mentioned; and, in a less agreeable way, by impeding her rate of sailing."
Quicksands (thn surtin). The rendering of the A.V. is too general. The word is a proper name, and has the article. There were two shoals of this name - the "Greater Syrtis" (Syrtis Major), and the "Smaller Syrtis" (Syrtis Minor). It was the former upon which they were in danger of being driven; a shallow on the African coast, between Tripoli and Barca, southwest of the island of Crete.
Strake sail (calasantev to skeuov). Lit., as Rev., lowered the gear. See on goods, Matt. xii. 29. It is uncertain what is referred to here. To strike sail, it is urged, would be a sore way of running upon the Syrtis, which they were trying to avoid. It is probably better to understand it generally of the gear connected with the fair-weather sails. "Every ship situated as this one was, when preparing for a storm, sends down upon deck the 'top-hamper,' or gear connected with the fair-weather sails, such as the topsails. A modern ship sends down top-gallant masts and yards; a cutter strikes her topmast when preparing for a gale" (Smith, "Voyage," etc.). The stormsails were probably set.
Loosed (anagesqai). Rev., set sail. See on Luke viii. 22.
Harm (ubrin). See on ver. 10.
Of God (tou Qeou). Rev., correctly, supplies the article: "the God," added because Paul was addressing heathen, who would have understood by angel a messenger of the gods.
Deemed (upenooun). Better, as Rev., suspected or surmised.
That they drew near to some country. Lit., that some land is drawing near to them.
Cast (ekteinein). Lit., to stretch out. The meaning is, to carry out an anchor to a distance from the prow by means of the small boat. Rev., lay out.
Shore (aigialon). See on Matt. xiii. 2. Better, as Rev., beach.
They were minded (ebouleusanto). Better, as Rev., took counsel. See on Matt. i. 19.
Committed themselves (eiwn). Wrong. The reference is to the anchors. Rev., correctly, left them in the sea.
Rudder bands (zeukthriav twn phdaliwn). Lit., the bands of the rudders. The larger ships had two rudders, like broad oars or paddles, joined together by a pole, and managed by one steersman. They could be pulled up and fastened with hands to the ship; as was done in this case, probably to avoid fouling the anchors when they were cast out of the stern. The bands were now loosened, in order that the ship might be driven forward.
Mainsail (artemwna). Only here in New Testament. Probably the foresail. So Rev.
Made toward (kateicon). Lit., held; bore down for.