Acts 16:11
Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
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(11) We came with a straight course to Samothracia.—Their course lay to the north-west, and, probably, after the manner of the navigation of the time, they put into harbour each night; and the historian, with his characteristic love of geographical detail (see Introduction to St. Luke’s Gospel), notes the main facts of the voyage. The “straight course” implies that they had the wind in their favour. The current, which sets to the south after leaving the Hellespont, and to the east between Samothrace and the mainland, would, of course, be against them. In Acts 20:6, the voyage from Philippi to Troas takes five, days. The name of Samothrace points, probably, to its having been a colony from Samos. In early Greek history it had been one of the chief seats of the worship of the Pelasgic race, and, besides the mysteries of Demeter and Persephone, which it had in common with the rest of Greece, was celebrated for the local cultus of the Cabiri, a name of uncertain origin, and applied to the twelve great gods.

The next day to Neapolis.—The name (=new town) was naturally common wherever Greek was spoken. It survives in two conspicuous instances—in Naples, and in Nablous as the modern name of Sychem. The town now before us was in Thrace, about twelve miles from Philippi, which was the frontier town of Macedonia. It has been identified, on adequate grounds, with the modern Kavalla, where a Roman aqueduct, columns, and Greek and Latin inscriptions remain to attest the former importance of the city. Ten or twelve miles to the west are the traces of another harbour at Eski Kavalla, which was probably the Palæopolis (= old town) that had been superseded by the new port.

Acts 16:11-12. Therefore, loosing from Troas, we came to Samothracia — An island in these seas, famous for being the seat of certain religious mysteries, in equal estimation with those called Eleusinian. But it does not appear that they went ashore there, for they landed the next day at Neapolis — A seaport town of Macedonia. Nor did they make any stay even there, but went straight to Philippi; because it was the chief city of that part of Macedonia — And a Roman colony. Thus Paul, having preached first at Damascus, next at Jerusalem, after that throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles in Syria, Cilicia, and most of the countries of the Lesser Asia, went at length, by the particular commandment of Christ, among the Greek nations, to whom it was proper that the glad tidings of salvation should now be given. For, seeing the gospel was a revelation from the true God, and was supported by great and undeniable miracles, it was fit that it should, in due course, be proposed to those nations who were best qualified to judge of its nature and evidences; because if, upon an accurate examination, great numbers of men embraced the gospel, whose minds were improved by science, and every kind of culture, their conversion would render it indubitable, in after times, that the gospel was supported by those great and undeniable miracles, which the Christian records affirm were performed in every country, by the preachers of the gospel. Besides, God, in his infinite wisdom, was determined that the reigning idolatry should be utterly overthrown in those countries of Europe where it had the greatest support, from the ability and learning of its abetters; that no person might suspect, or affirm, in after times, that idolatry was destroyed, and Christianity established, merely through the ignorance and simplicity of the people among whom it was first preached.

16:6-15 The removals of ministers, and the dispensing the means of grace by them, are in particular under Divine conduct and direction. We must follow Providence: and whatever we seek to do, if that suffer us not, we ought to submit and believe to be for the best. People greatly need help for their souls, it is their duty to look out for it, and to invite those among them who can help them. And God's calls must be complied with readily. A solemn assembly the worshippers of God must have, if possible, upon the sabbath day. If we have not synagogues, we must be thankful for more private places, and resort to them; not forsaking the assembling together, as our opportunities are. Among the hearers of Paul was a woman, named Lydia. She had an honest calling, which the historian notices to her praise. Yet though she had a calling to mind, she found time to improve advantages for her soul. It will not excuse us from religious duties, to say, We have a trade to mind; for have not we also a God to serve, and souls to look after? Religion does not call us from our business in the world, but directs us in it. Pride, prejudice, and sin shut out the truths of God, till his grace makes way for them into the understanding and affections; and the Lord alone can open the heart to receive and believe his word. We must believe in Jesus Christ; there is no coming to God as a Father, but by the Son as Mediator.Loosing from Troas - Setting sail from this place.

To Samothracia - This was an island in the Aegean Sea not far from Thrace. It was populated by inhabitants from Samos and from Thrace, and hence called Samothracia. It was about 20 miles in circumference, and was an asylum for fugitives and criminals.

And the next day to Nepalese - This was a maritime city of Macedonia, near the borders of Thrace. It was about 10 miles from Philippi.

11, 12. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came—literally, "ran."

with a straight course—that is, "ran before the wind."

to Samothracia—a lofty island on the Thracian coast, north from Troas, with an inclination westward. The wind must have set in strong from the south or south-southeast to bring them there so soon, as the current is strong in the opposite direction, and they afterwards took five days to what they now did in two (Ac 20:6) [Howson].

next day to Neapolis—on the Macedonian, or rather Thracian, coast, about sixty-five miles from Samothracia, and ten from Philippi, of which it is the harbor.

Samothracia; an island so called, because the inhabitants came partly out of Thrace, and partly from Samos. This

Neapolis was a city in the confines of Thrace and Macedonia.

Therefore loosing from Troas,.... Or setting sail from thence, which, as before observed, was the Hellespont; which was a narrow sea that divided Asia from Europe, now called Stretto di Gallipoii, or Bracci di St. Georgio: and so Pliny (q) speaking of Troas says, it lies near the Hellespont; and Jerom (r) calls it a maritime city of Asia; and it further appears to be on the sea coast, by what is said in Acts 20:6, for from Philippi hither, the apostle and his company sailed in five days, and from hence they sailed to Assos, Acts 20:6

we came with a straight course to Samothracia; which was an island in the Aegean sea, or Archipelago: it was formerly called Dardania (s), from Dardanus the, son of Jupiter by Electra, who fled hither from Italy, upon killing his brother Jasius; it had its name of Samothracia, from Thracia, near to which it was, and from the Samians who inhabited it; and it was called Samothracia to distinguish it from the island Samos in the Ionian sea; it is now called Samandrachi: Jerom (t) calls it an island in the gulf of Pagasa; of this island of Samothracia, Pliny says (u), that it was free before Hebrus, was thirty two miles from Imbrus, twenty two and a half from Lemnus, thirty eight, from the shore of Thracia, and in circumference thirty two--and that it is fullest of good havens of any in those parts; and adds, that Callimachus calls it by its ancient name Dardania; it seems it was also called Leucosia, or Leucadia, because to spectators at a distance it looked white: according to (w) Herodotus the Pelasgi first inhabited Samothracia, who with the Athenians dwelt there, and from them the Samothracians received their sacred rites and mysteries; for this island was famous for the worship of the Cabiri, or chief deities of the Gentiles, particularly Ceres, Proserpina, Pluto, Mercury, and the two brothers Castor and Pollux, Neptune, and all the sea gods; insomuch that it was called "the holy island" (x), and persons of other nations, and even of the greatest figure, were initiated into the mysteries of the Samothracians, which Pliny (y) calls the most holy; for speaking of Venus, Potho, and Phaeton, adds, who are worshipped with the most holy ceremonies of Samothracia. The apostle did not stay to preach the Gospel in this place, nor do we read of its being preached here by him at any other time, or by any other, nor of any church in this place in after ages in ecclesiastical history. The apostle and his companions are said to come hither, "with a straight course"; not only because they might have a fair gale, which brought them at once hither; but because when they were over the Hellespont, this island lay directly in their way, in a straight line to Macedonia:

and the next day to Neapolis; the Alexandrian copy reads, "the new city", as the word signifies; hence the Ethiopic version by way of interpretation renders it, "the next day we came to the new city, the name of which is Neapolis": according to Ptolomy, it was a sea port of Edonis, a part of Macedonia, and was upon the borders of Thrace; it is now called Christopoli; and was not Neapolis in Campania, nor Sychem in Samaria, which is so called, but was at a great distance from either of these. Pliny places it in Thracia, as he also does Edonis, and even Philippi (z). Jerom calls (a) it a city of Caria, but wrongly: and though we have no account of the apostles preaching in this place, and of making converts, neither now nor at any other time; yet it appears even in after ages that here was a church in this place: in the "sixth" century the bishop of it was sent to the fifth Roman synod; and in the "seventh" century one Andreas was bishop of this place, who was in the sixth synod at Constantinople (b).

(q) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 30. (r) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 96. K. (s) Pausanias Achaica, sive, l. 7. p. 403. Ptolom. Geograph. l. 3. c. 11. (t) Ib. fol. 96. I.((u) Nat. Hist. l. 4. c. 12. (w) Euterpe, c. 51. (x) L. Attilius in Liv. Hist. l. 45. c. 5. (y) Nat. Hist. l. 36. c. 5. (z) Ib. l. 4. c. 11, (a) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 96. F. (b) Magdeburg. Hist. Eccl cent. 6. c. 2. p. 7. cent. 7. c. 10. p. 258.

Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
Acts 16:11. Εὐθυδρομ.] having sailed from Troas, we ran by a straight course (Acts 21:1). The word is not preserved in Greek writers, who have, however, εὐθυδρόμος, and as a verb, εὐθυπλοέω.

Samothrace, a well-known island off the coast of Thrace, in the Aegean Sea.

τῇ ἐπιούσῃ] die postero, used by Greek writers both with (Acts 7:26) and without ἡμέρᾳ. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 464 In the N.T. it occurs only in Acts.

Neapolis, at an earlier period Datos (Strabo, vii. p. 330), a seaport on the Strymonian Gulf, opposite the island of Thasos, at that time belonging to Thrace, but after Vespasian to Macedonia (Sueton. Vesp. 8; Dio Cass. xlvii. 35; Ptol. iii. 13. 9).

On Philippi, formerly Krenides, named from the Macedonian Philip, who enlarged and fortified it, see the Introd. to Philipp. § 1.

πρώτη τῆς μερίδος Μακεδ. κολωνία πόλις] As in that district of Macedonia, divided by Aemilius Paulus into four parts (Liv. xlv. 29), Amphipolis was the capital, and πρώτη πόλις cannot therefore in a strict sense mean capital;[50] all difficulty is removed simply by connecting, and not, as is usually done,[51] separating, πόλις κολωνία: which is the first (in rank) colony-town of the part (concerned) of Macedonia. Comp. also Baumgarten.[52] Thus it is unnecessary, with Kuinoel, Hug, and others (see also Credner, Einl. II. p. 418 f.; Mynster, kl. theol. Schr. p. 170), who separate πόλις from κολωνία, to take πρώτη πόλις in the sense of a city endowed with privileges (Bertholdt compares the French use of bonne ville), inscriptions on coins being appealed to, in which the formal epithet πρώτη is given to Greek cities which were not capitals. See Eckhel, doctr. vet. num. I. 4. 282; Boeckh, Corpus inscript. I. 2, No. 335. In the case of Philippi itself no special privileges are known, except the general colonial rights of the jus Italicum; nor is the title πρώτη found on the coins of Philippi, it is met with only in the case of cities in Asia Minor (see Rettig, Quaest. Philipp. p. 5 f.). Others take πρώτη of local situation, so that they too separate πόλις from κολωνία: “Philippi was the first city of Macedonia at which Paul touched in his line of travel.” So Olshausen and Wieseler, following Erasmus (who, however, appears to join πόλις κολ.), Cornelius a Lapide, Calovius, Raphel, Wolf, Bengel, Eckermann, Heinrichs. In this case we have not to consider Neapolis as the mere port of Philippi (Olshausen), but with Rettig, van Hengel, ad Phil. p. 4 ff., and De Wette, to lay stress on the fact that Neapolis at that time belonged to Thrace, and to take ἐστί (Luke did not write ἦν) as an expression of the admitted state of things, that Philippi from that side is the first city (consequently the most easterly, see Wieseler, p. 37 f.). But what reason could Luke have to make such an exact geographical specification, especially with regard to such a well-known city as Philippi? It is quite at variance with his manner elsewhere. And that too with the argumentatively (quippe quae) emphatic ἥτις? This applies also in opposition to Grotius, who takes πόλις κολωνία together (the first colonial-city), but understands πρώτη also of the geographical situation. According to our view, there is conveyed in ἥτις an explanation of the motive for their going to Philippi in particular, seeing that it is, namely, the most noteworthy colonial-city of the district, so that the gospel might at once acquire a very considerable and extensive sphere of action in Macedonia. If in itself ἀξίωμά ἐστι πόλεως ἡ κολώνεια (Chrysostom), this is yet more heightened by πρώτη.

On the combination of two substantives like πόλις κολωνία, comp. Lobeck, Paralip. p. 344. Instead of κολωνία, the Greek uses ἀποικία or ἐποικία; instead of πόλις κολωνία, πόλις ἀποικίς.

Philippi was colonized by Octavianus through the removal thither of the partisans of Antonius, and had also the jus Italicum conferred on it. See Dio Cass. li. 4; Plin. H. N. iv. 11; Digest. Leg. xv. 6.

[50] Without any reason, Wetstein imagined that after the battle at Philippi this city was raised to be the capital. From the erroneous interpretation capital arose the reading ἥτις ἐστὶν κεφαλὴ τῆς Μακ., πόλις κολωνία, which Bornemann regards as original.

[51] Thus also Ewald, p. 485, according to whom Philippi, on account of its flourishing condition at that time, is assumed to he named “the first city of the province of Macedonia.” But μερίς does not mean province (ἐπαρχία, Acts 23:34, Acts 25:1).

[52] Who elaborately explains μερίδος, as if τῆς οἰκουμένης stood alongside of it, so that τῆς Μακεδ. would be in apposition to τ. μερίδος.

Acts 16:11. ἀναχθέντες, see on Acts 13:13.—εὐθυδρομήσαμεν: only in Acts here and in Acts 21:1, nowhere else in N.T., not in LXX or Apocrypha but used by Philo, cf. St. Luke’s true Greek feeling for the sea, Ramsay, p. 205. Strabo used εὐθύδρομος, p. 45, and elsewhere St. Luke’s language may point to the influence of the great geographer; see Plumptre’s Introduction to St. Luke’s Gospel.—Σαμοθρᾴκην: an island of the Ægean sea on the Thracian coast about half-way between Troas and Neapolis, but with adverse winds or calms the voyage from Philippi to Troas takes five days, Acts 20:6. Samothracia, with the exception of Mount Athos, was the highest point in this part of the Ægean, and would have been a familiar landmark for every Greek sailor, see C. and H., pp. 220, 221.—Νεάπολιν: modern Cavallo, the harbour of Philippi, lying some miles further north: Thracian, but after Vespasian reckoned as Macedonian; opposite Thasos, C. and H., p. 221; Renan, Saint Paul, p. 139.—τῇ τε ἐπιούσῃ, sc., ἡμέρᾳ, cf. Acts 20:15, Acts 21:18, with ἡμέρᾳ added, Acts 7:26, Acts 23:11, so too in classical Greek, Polyb., Jos.; in N.T., phrase only found in Acts: mark the exact note of time.

11. Samothracia] This island lies in the north of the Aegean Sea, opposite to that part of the Thracian coast at which the river Hebrus empties itself.

Neapolis] The port of Philippi. This place is generally identified with the modern Kavalla. On the discussion about its identity, see Dictionary of the Bible (s. v.)

Acts 16:11. Εὐθυδρομήσαμεν, we came with a straight course) The favourable voyage increased their confidence. But even to this day Europe saith, All hail to you (the first preachers of the Gospel in Europe).

Verse 11. - Setting sail therefore for therefore loosing, A.V.; made for came with, A.V. (εὐθυδρόμεω, elsewhere only in Acts 21:1); Samothrace for Samothracia, A.V.; day following for next day, A.V. In the New Testament this latter phrase only occurs in the Acts. Acts 16:11Came with a straight course (εὐθυδρομήσαμεν)

Lit., we ran a straight course. A nautical term for sailing before the wind.

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