|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 6. - For, for into, A.V. He put us therein; ἐνεβίβασεν, only here in the New Testament, and once in the LXX. (Proverbs 4:11). It is a nautical term for embarking men on board ship (Thucydides, Xenophon, Lucian, etc.), and is also used by medical writers for "placing patients in a bath." The corn-vessel (naris frumentaria) from Alexandria to Italy may very probably have been driven out of its direct course by the same contrary winds which forced St. Paul to sail under Cyprus (see Howson, vol. it. p. 325, note 5), or commercial objects may have brought it to Lycia, to carry Asiatic merchandize to Rome, in addition to its cargo of Egyptian wheat - possibly "timber from the woody mountains of Lycia" (Lewin, vol. it. p. 188, note).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria,.... Alexandria was the chief city in Egypt, built by Alexander the great, from whom it took its name; it was situated near the sea, and had a famous haven or port, which R. Benjamin (n) calls , "the port of Alexandria"; from hence ships were sent into several parts for trade and commerce, and one of these Julius found at Myra: the top sail was a distinguishing sign of a ship of Alexandria, for none might spread their top sails but ships of Alexandria (o); these were not obliged to strike sail when they came into a port: the Jewish writers make frequent mention of , "a ship of Alexandria" (p); by which they intend a ship of a large bulk, which had a cistern in it for fresh water for a long voyage; and by this they distinguish ships of bulk from those small ones, that were used about their coasts; a ship of Alexandria with them was a ship that went from the land of Israel to Alexandria; whereas here it seems to design one that belonged to Alexandria, and went from thence to other parts: and this ship was
sailing into Italy; and it was usual for ships to go from Alexandria to Puteoli in Italy, and from thence to Alexandria upon trade and business (q).
and he put us therein; the centurion removed Paul and his companions, and the rest of the prisoners, with whatsoever soldiers were under his care, out of the ship of Adramyttium, into the ship of Alexandria; that is, he ordered them to remove out of one into the other.
(n) Itinerar. p. 121. (o) Senec. Ephesians 77. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 4. c. 2.((p) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 35. 1. & Erubin, fol. 14. 2. & Gloss. in ib. Misn. Ohalot, c. 8. sect. 1. & Celim, c. 15. sect. 1. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (q) Senec. Ephesians 77. Philo in Flaccum, p. 968, 969.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. there … found a ship of Alexandria, sailing into Italy, and he put us therein—(See on Ac 27:2). As Egypt was the granary of Italy, and this vessel was laden with wheat (Ac 27:35), we need not wonder it was large enough to carry two hundred seventy-six souls, passengers and crew together (Ac 27:37). Besides, the Egyptian merchantmen, among the largest in the Mediterranean, were equal to the largest merchantmen in our day. It may seem strange that on their passage from Alexandria to Italy they should be found at a Lycian port. But even still it is not unusual to stand to the north towards Asia Minor, for the sake of the current.
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