|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 9. - And for now, A.V.; the voyage for when sailing, A.V.; gone by for past, A.V. Much time (ἱκανοῦ χρόνου διαγενομένου). The word ἱκανός is very frequently used by St. Luke, both in the Gospel and the Acts, for "much," "many," or "long," but the exact quantity of time, or words, or people, etc., indicated is of course relative to what might reasonably be expected in each case. Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37) drew "much" people after him; the Jews at Damascus conspired to kill Saul after "many" days were fulfilled (Acts 9:23); Paul and Barnabas abode "long time" at Iconium (Acts 14:3); Paul talked a "long" while at Tress (Acts 20:3); and they sailed slowly off the coast of Asia "many" days (ver. 7); the length, i.e. the "sufficiency" (ἱκανότης) must depend in each case upon the standard by which it is measured. Here "much time," measured by the common experience of sailing-vessels waiting for a favorable wind, may mean one or two weeks. It is more natural to apply the phrase to the time of their detention at Fair Havens, than, as Meyer and others do, to the time that elapsed since they sailed from Caesarea. The voyage was now dangerous (τοῦ πλοός, a late form for the older πλοῦ). Dangerous; ἐπισφαλοῦς, only here in the New Testament, and in Wisd. 9:14; also occasionally in classical authors, but very frequently in medical writers. The Fast. The great Jewish fast on the Day of Atonement, in the month Tisri, which fell this year on September 24 (Lewin and Farrar), probably while they were at Fair Havens. The Jews considered navigation unsafe between the Feast of Tabernacles (five days after the Day of Atonement) and the Feast of Pentecost (Lewin, vol. it. p. 192, note). It became, therefore, a very serious question what they were to do. Fair Havens was an inconvenient anchorage for the winter, and not near any large town. On the other hand, if they passed beyond the shelter of Cape Matala, which lay a few miles to the east, and where the coast of Crete suddenly trends due north, they would be exposed to the violence of the Eterian westerly wind. They called St. Paul into their counsels. Admonished them; παρήνει, only here and ver. 22. In classical Greek used especially of advice given by a speaker in a public speech. In medical writers it expresses the advice given by a physician to his patient.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now when much time was spent,.... In sailing against the wind, or by staying at the Fair Havens; for so the Syriac version renders it, "where we stayed a long time"; and the Ethiopic version, "and there we remained many days": it follows,
and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past; the Syriac version reads, "the fast of the Jews"; this was the day of atonement, which was the grand fast of the Jews, on which day they afflicted their souls, Leviticus 23:27 in memory of the worshipping of the golden calf; on that day they neither eat nor drink, nor do any work, neither do they wash, nor are they anointed, nor do they bind on their shoes, or make use of the marriage bed; nor do they read anything but sorrowful things, as the Lamentations of Jeremiah, until the setting of the sun, and the rising of the stars; and hence this day is called by them , "the day of fasting", and , "the great fast, and the day of the fast of atonement, and the fast of the atonement" (k): now this day was on the 10th of the month Tisri, which answers to the latter part of our September, and the former part of October; so that it was now Michaelmas time, when winter was coming on, and sailing began to be dangerous; about this time of the year the Pleiades set, which brings on tempestuous weather, and unfit for sailing:
Paul admonished them, or gave them some advice to continue where they were.
(k) Vid. Schindler. Lex. Pentaglott. p. 890. & Maimon. Shebitat Ashur, c. 1. sect. 1, 4, 5, 6. & Misa. Yoma, c. 8. sect. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9, 10. when much time was spent—since leaving Cæsarea. But for unforeseen delays they might have reached the Italian coast before the stormy season.
and when sailing—the navigation of the open sea.
was now dangerous, because the fast was now … past—that of the day of atonement, answering to the end of September and beginning of October, about which time the navigation is pronounced unsafe by writers of authority. Since all hope of completing the voyage during that season was abandoned, the question next was, whether they should winter at Fair Havens, or move to Port Phenice, a harbor about forty miles to the westward. Paul assisted at the consultation and strongly urged them to winter where they were.
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