Acts 28:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.

New Living Translation
As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand.

English Standard Version
When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.

New American Standard Bible
But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.

King James Bible
And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
As Paul gathered a bundle of brushwood and put it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself to his hand.

International Standard Version
Paul gathered a bundle of sticks and put it on the fire. A poisonous snake was forced out by the heat and attached itself to Paul's hand.

NET Bible
When Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And Paulus took a bunch of sticks and set them on the fire and a viper came out of them from the heat of the fire, and it bit his hand.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Paul gathered a bundle of brushwood and put it on the fire. The heat forced a poisonous snake out of the brushwood. The snake bit Paul's hand and wouldn't let go.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out of the heat and fastened on his hand.

King James 2000 Bible
And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

American King James Version
And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

American Standard Version
But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out by reason of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when Paul had gathered together a bundle of sticks, and had laid them on the fire, a viper coming out of the heat, fastened on his hand.

Darby Bible Translation
And Paul having gathered a [certain] quantity of sticks together in a bundle and laid [it] on the fire, a viper coming out from the heat seized his hand.

English Revised Version
But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, a viper came out by reason of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

Webster's Bible Translation
And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

Weymouth New Testament
Now, when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and had thrown them on the fire, a viper, driven by the heat, came out and fastened itself on his hand.

World English Bible
But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

Young's Literal Translation
but Paul having gathered together a quantity of sticks, and having laid them upon the fire, a viper -- out of the heat having come -- did fasten on his hand.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

28:1-10 God can make strangers to be friends; friends in distress. Those who are despised for homely manners, are often more friendly than the more polished; and the conduct of heathens, or persons called barbarians, condemns many in civilized nations, professing to be Christians. The people thought that Paul was a murderer, and that the viper was sent by Divine justice, to be the avenger of blood. They knew that there is a God who governs the world, so that things do not come to pass by chance, no, not the smallest event, but all by Divine direction; and that evil pursues sinners; that there are good works which God will reward, and wicked works which he will punish. Also, that murder is a dreadful crime, one which shall not long go unpunished. But they thought all wicked people were punished in this life. Though some are made examples in this world, to prove that there is a God and a Providence, yet many are left unpunished, to prove that there is a judgment to come. They also thought all who were remarkably afflicted in this life were wicked people. Divine revelation sets this matter in a true light. Good men often are greatly afflicted in this life, for the trial and increase of their faith and patience. Observe Paul's deliverance from the danger. And thus in the strength of the grace of Christ, believers shake off the temptations of Satan, with holy resolution. When we despise the censures and reproaches of men, and look upon them with holy contempt, having the testimony of our consciences for us, then, like Paul, we shake off the viper into the fire. It does us no harm, except we are kept by it from our duty. God hereby made Paul remarkable among these people, and so made way for the receiving of the gospel. The Lord raises up friends for his people in every place whither he leads them, and makes them blessings to those in affliction.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 3. - But for and, A.V.; a viper came for there came a viper, A.V.; by reason of for out of, A.V. Had gathered; συστρέψαντος, only here and in the LXX. of Judges 11:3 and Judges 12:4, for "to collect," "gather together." But συστροφή (Acts 19:40; Acts 23:12) means "a concourse," "a conspiracy." In classical Greek συστρέφειν is "to twist up together," to "form into a compact body," and the like. A bundle of sticks; φρυγάνων πλῆθος. The word only occurs in the New Testament here; it means "dry sticks," "kindlers," any combustible material. In the LXX. it is used as the equi- valent of קַשׁ, straw or stubble (Isaiah 40:24; Isaiah 41:2, etc.), and for "nettles" (Job 30:7). Theophrastus seems to use it for plants smaller than a shrub ('Hist.,' Plant., 1:3, 1, quoted by Hobart). Lewin (vol. it. p. 208) writes as follows: - "When in Malta in 1853, I went to St. Paul's Bay at the same season of the year as when the wreck occurred .... We noticed eight or nine stacks of small faggots, they consisted of a kind of thorny heather, and had evidently been cut for firewood." This is a conclusive answer, if any were needed, to the objection to Melita being Malta, drawn from the absence of wood in the island. But besides this, it is not a fact that even now there is no wood at all (see Lewin). A viper came out. It is objected that there are no vipers in Malta. But it is obvious that the condition of Malta now, a very thickly inhabited island (one thousand two hundred people to the square mile, Lewin, p. 208), is very different from what it was with a sparse population in the days of St. Paul. Vipers may well have been destroyed during one thousand eight hundred and sixty years. Lewin mentions that his traveling companions in 1853 started what they thought was a viper, which escaped into one of the bundles of heather. Came out. Διεξελθοῦσα is the reading of Tischendorf, Alford, Meyer, eta., "came out through the sticks." It is a frequent medical term. The heat; τῆς θέρμης. This form of the word is only used here in the New Testament, instead of the more common θερμότης. It occurs, however, repeatedly in the LXX. (Job 6:17; Psalm 19:7; Ecclus. 38:34, etc.), and was the usual medical word for feverish heat. Fastened; κάθηψε, here only in the Bible; but not uncommon in classical Greek, and of general use among medical writers.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks,.... Had picked up some sticks, and put them in a bundle fit for the fire, as everyone was busy to assist in this extremity; nor did the apostle think such an action below him, who in all things was a man of great humility and condescension:

and laid them on the fire; to increase it:

there came a viper out of the heat: a viper is a kind of serpent, which brings forth its young living, to the number of twenty, only one in a day, which come forth wrapped up in thin skins, which break on the third day, and set them at liberty; and so is reckoned among viviparous animals, from whence it seems to have its name, whereas other serpents lay eggs and hatch them. It is said (k), that this remarkable reptile has the biggest and flattest head of all the serpent kind; its usual length is about half an ell, and its thickness an inch; its snout is not unlike that of a hog; it has sixteen small immovable teeth in each jaw, besides two other large, sharp, hooked, hollow, transparent, canine teeth, situate at each side of the upper jaw, which are those that do the mischief: these are flexible in their articulation, and are ordinarily laid flat along the jaw, the animal never raising them but when it would bite The roots or bases of these teeth, or fangs, are encompassed with a vesicle or bladder, containing the quantity of a large drop of a yellow insipid salivous juice.--It has only one row of teeth, whereas all other serpents have two; its body is not at all fetid, whereas the inner parts of the bodies of other serpents are intolerable.--It creeps very slowly, and never leaps like other serpents, though it is nimble enough to bite when provoked.--Its body is of two colours, ash coloured or yellow, and the ground speckled with longish brown spots; the scales under its belly are of the colour of well polished steel. Its bite is exceeding venomous, and its poison the most dangerous. Now when this viper here is said to come out of the heat, the meaning is, that it came out from the sticks, which were laid upon the fire, being forced from thence by the heat of it: and so the Syriac version renders it, "there came out of them" (the sticks) "a viper, because of the heat of the fire"; it lay quiet among the sticks, among which, and such like things, this creature often lies; but when the fire began to heat it, it sprung out:

and fastened on his hand; or wrapped itself about his hand: the Syriac and Arabic versions render it, "bit his hand"; but that does not seem so likely, since he felt no harm by it; the Ethiopic version, "hung upon his hand"; which agrees with what follows; nor is it inconsistent with its wrapping itself about his hand, which is the more proper signification of the word used.

(k) Chambers's Cyclopaedia in the word "Viper".

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3. when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks—"a quantity of dry sticks." The vigorous activity of Paul's character is observable in this comparatively trifling action [Webster and Wilkinson].

and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat—Having laid itself up among the sticks on the approach of the cold winter season, it had suddenly recovered from its torpor by the heat.

and fastened—its fangs.

on his hand—Vipers dart at their enemies sometimes several feet at a bound. They have now disappeared from Malta, owing to the change which cultivation has produced.

Acts 28:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
Paul at Malta
2The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all. 3But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, "Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live."…
Cross References
Mark 16:18
they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

Acts 28:2
The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

Acts 28:4
When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live."
Treasury of Scripture

And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

came.

Job 20:16 He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him.

Isaiah 30:6 The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and …

Isaiah 41:24 Behold, you are of nothing, and your work of nothing: an abomination …

Isaiah 59:5 They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that …

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, …

Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? …

Matthew 23:33 You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation …

fastened.

Acts 28:4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, …

Amos 5:19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into …

2 Corinthians 6:9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as …

2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors …

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