|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
27:1-11 It was determined by the counsel of God, before it was determined by the counsel of Festus, that Paul should go to Rome; for God had work for him to do there. The course they steered, and the places they touched at, are here set down. And God here encourages those who suffer for him, to trust in him; for he can put it into the hearts of those to befriend them, from whom they least expect it. Sailors must make the best of the wind: and so must we all in our passage over the ocean of this world. When the winds are contrary, yet we must be getting forward as well as we can. Many who are not driven backward by cross providences, do not get forward by favourable providences. And many real Christians complain as to the concerns of their souls, that they have much ado to keep their ground. Every fair haven is not a safe haven. Many show respect to good ministers, who will not take their advice. But the event will convince sinners of the vanity of their hopes, and the folly of their conduct.
Verse 1. - For, for into, A.V.; to a centurion named Julius of the Augustan band for unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus band, A.V. That we should sail. Observe the "we," denoting that Luke was of the party. Connecting it with the "we" of Acts 21:17, the inference is obvious that Luke was with Paul through the whole of these two eventful years, and that it is to this presence that we owe the detailed circumstantial narrative of Acts 21. - 28, as well as, perhaps, the composition of St. Luke's Gospel, for which the two years at Caesarea afforded an admirable opportunity. The Augustan band; or, cohort (σπεῖρα); as Acts 10:1 (where see note). This σπεῖρα Σεβαστή, cohors Augusta, was probably one of the five cohorts stationed at Caesarea, consisting of auxiliary troops (though Alford does not think so). Its name "Augustan" was given, after the analogy of the Augustan legion, just as there was an "Italian band" as well as two or three "Italian legions." It has been conjectured (Kuinoel, in loc.), indeed, that the name may rather be taken flora Sebaste, Samaria, as consisting of Samaritans, seeing that Josephus ('Bell. Jud.,' 2. 12:5) actually mentions a troop of cavalry (καλουμένην Σεβαστηνῶν) called the troop of Sebaste. But the Greek name is Σεβαστηνῶν, not Σεβαστή, which latter designation is not supported by any similar example (Meyer).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy,.... The chief city of which was Rome, the metropolis of the empire, where Caesar had his palace, to whom the apostle had appealed; and his voyage thither was determined by Festus, with the advice of Agrippa and his council, pursuant to the apostle's appeal, and which was founded on the will of God; all which concurred in this affair: it was the decree and will of God that the apostle should go to Rome, which was made known to him; and it was his resolution upon that, to go thither, wherefore he appealed to Caesar; and it was the determination of the Roman governor, not only as to his going there, but as to the time of it, which was now fixed: the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read "he", instead of "we"; and the Ethiopic version reads expressly "Paul"; but the Greek copies read we: by whom are meant the apostle, and his companions; as Luke the writer of this history, and Aristarchus the Macedonian mentioned in the next verse, and Trophimus the Ephesian, who was afterwards left at Miletus sick, 2 Timothy 4:20 and who else cannot be said; these were to sail with him to Italy, not as prisoners, but as companions: this resolution being taken,
they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners; who very likely had also appealed to Caesar, or at least the governor thought fit to send them to Rome, to have their cases heard and determined there; and these by the order of Festus were delivered by the centurions, or jailers, in whose custody they had been,
unto one called Julius; in the Alexandrian copy of the third verse, he is called Julianus; he was either one of the Julian family, or rather was one that had been made free by some of that family, and so took the name:
a centurion of Augustus' band; of a Roman band of soldiers, which belonged to that legion which was called "Augusta"; for it seems there was a legion that bore that name, as Lipsius observes, and it may be from Augustus Caesar.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ac 27:1-44. The Voyage to Italy—The Shipwreck and Safe Landing at Malta.
1. we should sail, &c.—The "we" here reintroduces the historian as one of the company. Not that he had left the apostle from the time when he last included himself (Ac 21:18), but the apostle was parted from him by his arrest and imprisonment, until now, when they met in the ship.
delivered Paul and certain other prisoners—State prisoners going to be tried at Rome; of which several instances are on record.
Julius—who treats the apostle throughout with such marked courtesy (Ac 27:3, 43; Ac 28:16), that it has been thought [Bengel] he was present when Paul made his defense before Agrippa (see Ac 25:23), and was impressed with his lofty bearing.
a centurion of Augustus' band—the Augustan cohort, an honorary title given to more than one legion of the Roman army, implying, perhaps, that they acted as a bodyguard to the emperor or procurator, as occasion required.
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