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1. Sail (apoplein). Lit., sail away.
Band. See on Mark xv. 16.
2. Meaning to sail (mellontev plein). This refers the intention to the voyagers; but the best texts read mellonti, agreeing with ploiw, ship; so that the correct rendering is, as Rev., a ship - which was about to sail.
3. Touched (kathcqhmen). From kata, down, and agw, to lead or bring. To bring the ship down from deep water to the land. Opposed to ajnhxqhmen, put to sea (ver. 2); which is to bring the vessel up (ana) from the land to deep water. See on Luke viii. 22. Touched is an inferential rendering. Landed would be quite as good. From Caesarea to Sidon, the distance was about seventy miles.
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.
6. A ship of Alexandria. Employed in the immense corn trade between Italy and Egypt. See verse 38. The size of the vessel may be inferred from verse 37.
7. Many (ikanaiv). See on Luke vii. 6.
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.
9. The Fast. The great day of atonement, called "the Fast" by way of eminence. It occurred about the end of September. Navigation was considered unsafe from the beginning of November until the middle of March.
10. I perceive (qewrw). As the result of careful observation. See on Luke x. 18.
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.
11. Master (kubernhth). Only here and Apoc. xiii. 17. Lit., the steersman.
12. Not commodious (aneuqetou). Lit., not well situated.
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."
13. Loosing thence (arantev). Lit., having taken up. It is the nautical phrase for weighing anchor. So Rev. 14. There arose against it (ebale kat authv). Against what? Some say, the island of Crete; in which case they would have been driven against the island, whereas we are told that they were driven away from it.
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.
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.
15. Bear up (antofqalmein). Only here in New Testament. From ajnti opposite, and ojfqalmov, the eye. Lit, to look the wind: in the eye. The ancient ships often had an eye painted on each side of the bow. To sail "into the eye of the wind" is a modern nautical phrase.
We let her drive (epidontev eferomeqa). Lit., having given up to it, we were born along.
16. We had much work to come by the boat (moliv iscusamen perikrateiv genesqai thv skafhv). Lit., we were with difficulty able to become masters of the boat: i.e., to secure on deck the small boat which, in calm weather, was attached by a rope to the vessel's stern. Rev., we were able with difficulty to secure the boat. On with difficulty, see note on scarce, ver. 7.
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.
18. Lightened (ekbolhn epoiounto). Lit., made a casting out. Rev., 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 (ver. 38).
19. Tackling (skeuhn). 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.
21. Hearkened (peiqarchsantav). See on obey, ch. v. 29.
Loosed (anagesqai). Rev., set sail. See on Luke viii. 22.
Harm (ubrin). See on ver. 10.
23. The angel. Rev., correctly, an angel. There is no article.
27. Adria. The Adriatic Sea: embracing all that part of the Mediterranean lying south of Italy, east of Sicily, and west of Greece.
Deemed (upenooun). Better, as Rev., suspected or surmised.
30. Under color (profasei). Lit., on pretense.
39. Bay (kolpon). See on bosom, Luke vi. 38.
40. Taken up (perielontev). Wrong. The word means to remove, and refers here to cutting the anchor-cables, or casting off, as Rev. 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.