Acts 20:13
And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.
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(13) And sailed unto Assos.—The port of Assos. lay about twenty-four miles to the south of Troas. We can only conjecture St. Paul’s motives for going thither himself by land while his companions went by sea. In Acts 16:8 we find that he had avoided Mysia to press on to Troas; but he may well have extended his labours thither during his two years’ sojourn in Asia, and have wished, before he started for Jerusalem, in the full belief that he was never to return to those regions (Acts 20:25), to say a few words of parting counsel. Possibly, also, after the exciting scene at Troas, he may have been glad to have even a couple of days of comparative solitude for meditation and prayer as to the great work that lay before him, before embarking on the ship, with all its motley crew of passengers and sailors.

Acts 20:13-16. And we went before to ship — Namely, those that were to go with Paul; and sailed unto Assos — A city to the south of Troas; there intending to take in Paul — Who went thither on foot — The place being much nearer by land than by sea; and in order that, being alone for a while, he might employ himself in meditation and prayer, his public work allowing him little time for retirement and private devotion: or, perhaps, he might intend to call on some friends by the way. And when he met us — At Assos, according to his own appointment; we took him in, and came to Mitylene — The chief city of the island of Lesbos, about seven miles distant from the Asiatic coast; and came the next day over against Chios — The island so famous for producing some of the best Grecian wines. The day following they touched at Samos, and, making a short stay at Trogyllium, came the next day to Miletus — A city of Caria, south of Trogyllium. For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus — Which lay on the other side of the bay, without calling there; because he would not spend the time in Asia — Having now no time to spare; for he hasted to be at Jerusalem, by the day of pentecost — Knowing that a great concourse of people from all parts of Judea, and from distant provinces, would be there, as usual, (Acts 2:1-5,) to celebrate that festival, and that he should thus have an opportunity of testifying the gospel of the grace of God to many, both Jews and proselytes, and of thereby enlarging the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. Besides, the feast of pentecost had been rendered particularly famous among the Christians, by the extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit at that time.

20:13-16 Paul hastened to Jerusalem, but tried to do good by the way, when going from place to place, as every good man should do. In doing God's work, our own wills and those of our friends must often be crossed; we must not spend time with them when duty calls us another way.Sailed unto Assos - There were several cities of this name. One was in Lycia; one in the territory of Eolis; one in Mysia; one in Lydia; and another in Epirus. The latter is the one intended here. It was between Troas and Mitylene. The distance to it from Troas by land was about 20 miles, while the voyage round Cape Lecture was nearly twice as far, and accordingly Paul chose to go to it on foot.

Minding himself - Choosing or preferring to go on foot. Most of his journeys were probably performed in this way.

Ac 20:13-38. Continuing His Route to Jerusalem He Reaches Miletus, Whence He Sends for the Elders of Ephesus—His Farewell Address to Them.

13, 14. we … sailed—from Troas.

unto Assos; there … to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot—"to go by land." (See on [2075]Mr 6:33). In sailing southward from Troas to Assos, one has to round Cape Lecture, and keeping due east to run along the northern shore of the Gulf of Adramyttium, on which it lies. This is a sail of nearly forty miles; whereas by land, cutting right across, in a southeasterly direction, from sea to sea, by that excellent Roman road which then existed, the distance was scarcely more than half. The one way Paul wished his companions to take, while he himself, longing perhaps to enjoy a period of solitude, took the other, joining the ship, by appointment, at Assos.

Assos; a city in Mysia, called also Apollonia, not far from Troas either by water or land.

Minding himself to go afoot; Paul’s going on foot might be the rather, that so he might have the better opportunity to scatter the seed of the gospel as he went, going through towns and villages, and conversing still with some or other, more than in sea journeys can be expected. So greedy of winning souls to Christ was this holy man, that he ordered every step, as near as he could, towards it. But St. Paul might desire to go alone thus on foot, that he might enjoy more free and full communion with God, having only God and his own soul to converse with.

And we went before to ship,.... That is, Luke, the writer of this history, and the rest of the apostle's company, went before him to a ship, which lay at Troas, and went aboard it:

and sailed unto Assos; a city of Aeolia, or Mysia; and is said by Pliny to be the same with Apollonia; and which he places on the sea shore, where it is evident this Assos was. His words are (m),

"on the shore Antandros, formerly called Edonis, then Cimmeris and Assos, the same with Apollonia.''

And in another place (n) he calls it Assos of Troas; and says of it, that about Assos of Troas a stone grows, by which all bodies are consumed, and is called "sarcophagus", (a flesh devourer,) of which he also makes mention elsewhere (o), and observes, that in Assos of Troas the stone sarcophagus is cut in the pits, in which the bodies of the dead being put, are consumed within forty days, excepting their teeth: and with him Jerom (p) agrees, as to the name and situation of this place, who says that Assos is a maritime city of Asia, the same that is called Apollonia. It is represented by Strabo (q) as a place very much fortified by art, and very difficult of ascent on that part which lies to the sea; unless another Assos in Lycia is designed by him: if this was the situation of the Assos in the text, it seems to furnish us with a reason, from the nature of the place, why the apostle chose to go on foot thither. Pausanias (r) speaks of it as in Troas, and near Mount Ida. Sodamos of Assos in Troas, which lies near Ida, was the first of the Aeolians, who conquered in the Olympic race of the boys. In this place was born the famous philosopher Cleanthes, a disciple and successor of Zeno; hence he is called Cleanthes the Assian (s). No mention is made of the Gospel being preached here, or of any church until the eighth century, when John, bishop of Assos, is said to be in the Nicene council (t). Some exemplars read Thassos, as the Syriac and Arabic versions seem to have done:

there intending to take in Paul; who stayed behind, willing to have a little more Christian conversation with the saints at Troas.

For so had he appointed; that these should go before hand to Assos, and meet him there, and take him in:

minding himself to go afoot; from Troas to Assos, which were not very far off from one another; hence Assos is, by Pliny, called Assos of Troas; and by Pausanias, Assos, which is in Troas; that is, in the country of Troas, as before observed: what was his reason for going by foot thither, is not very evident; whether that he might have the opportunity of conversing with the disciples of Troas, who might accompany him thither; or whether that he might be alone, and have leisure for private meditation, and free converse with God.

(m) Nat. Hist, l. 5. c. 30. (n) Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 96. (o) Ib. l. 36. c. 17. (p) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 95. K. (q) Geograph. l. 13. (r) Eliac. 2. sive l. 6. p. 351. (s) Laert. Vit. Philosoph. l. 7. p. 541. (t) Magdeburg. Hist. Eccl. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 5.

And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.
Acts 20:13. Ἡμεῖς] without Paul.

Ἄσσος, a seaport in Mysia, south of Troas, opposite Lesbos, ἐφʼ ὑψηλοῦ κ. ὀξέος κ. δυσανόδου τόπου, Steph. Byz.

ἦν διατεταγμ.] middle (Winer, p. 246 [E. T. 328]), for he had so arranged, namely, that they should from thence (ἐκεῖθεν) receive him on board (ἀναλαμβ.).

αὐτός] He for his part chose the route by land, probably because he had a particular official object in view. More arbitrary are the suggestions of Calvin, that it took place valetudinis causa; of Michaelis and Stolz, that he wished to escape the snares of the Jews; of Lange, that he acted thus in order to withdraw himself from the circle of his too careful protectors; and of Ewald, that he did so in order to be solitary.

Acts 20:13. ἡμεῖς, i.e., without Paul.—Ἄσσον: south of Troas in the Roman province of Asia, and some miles east of Cape Lectum. The opposite coast of Lesbos was about seven miles distant. Its harbour gave it a considerable importance in the coasting trade of former days. A Roman road connected it with Troas and the Troad coast. The sculptures from the Temple of Athena erected on the hill on which Assos itself was built form some of the most important remains of archaic Greek art: most of them are now in Paris. “Assos” (Ramsay), Hastings’ B.D., B.D.2. Steph. Byz. describes Assos as situated ἐφʼ ὑψηλοῦ καὶ ὀξέος καὶ δυσανόδου τόπου.—ἀναλαμβάνειν: assumere in navem; cf. Polyb., xxx., 9, 8. The only other instance at all parallel in N.T. is 2 Timothy 4:11, where we might render “to pick him up on the way,” Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, p. 437.—διατεταγ.: with middle significance, cf. Acts 7:44, Acts 24:23; Winer-Moulton, xxxix., 3.—πεζεύειν: “to go by land,” R.V. (margin, “on foot”): “de terrestri (non necessario pedestri) itinere,” Blass; a much shorter route than the sea voyage round Cape Lectum. The land journey was about twenty miles, Itin. Anton., B.D.2. Probably Paul took the journey in this way for ministerial purposes; others suggest that he did so for the sake of his health, others to avoid the snare of the Jews, or from a desire for solitude. But it may be questioned whether this somewhat lengthy foot journey would be accomplished without any attendant at all. It does not follow, as has been supposed, that the ship was hired by Paul himself, but that he used its putting in at Assos for his own purpose.

13–16. Paul goes on foot to Assos, then by sea to Miletus

13. And we went before to ship] The conjunction should be adversative. The writer is describing now what the rest, without St Paul, did. Read “But we,” i.e. St Luke and some of the other companions of the Apostle, “going before to the ship,” i.e. before St Paul’s departure from the congregation and those events by which it was attended.

and sailed unto Assos] Better “set sail for Assos.” The verb is only indicative of the putting-out to sea. Assos was in Mysia, on the north shore of the gulf of Adramyttium. Opposite and about seven miles out at sea lay the island of Lesbos. There was a Roman road from Troas passing through Assos. So while the ship went round the cape Lectum, the Apostle was able to come by land and be taken on board by his companions.

there intending … to go afoot] The last verb when opposed to a journey by sea, need not necessarily signify a pedestrian journey, but may mean only “by land.” This (as Rev. Ver.) seems the better rendering here, for although the distance between Troas and Assos is only 20 miles, yet after the labours and excitement of the past night, a walk of that length would scarcely have been contemplated by the Apostle, when his companions in the ship already had the start of him. Many reasons have been suggested why St Paul separated for a few hours from his friends: that he wished for solitude: that he would not be at sea one moment before he could help it: that there was some Christian duty which he could perform on the way: or for his health’s sake. The historian, who probably knew, has not told us, and conjectures in such a case are valueless.

Acts 20:13. Ἦν διατεταγμένος) In a middle signification. See Bud. comm. col. 898. So he had determined concerning himself.—πεζεύειν) he preferred to go on foot, although he had passed the night without sleep, and although Assos was a town of difficult and dangerous approach, as Eustathius observes.

Verse 13. - But for and, A.V.; going for went, A.V.; the ship for ship, A.V.; set sail for and sailed, A.V.; for for unto, A.V.; intending for minding, A.V.; by land for afoot, A.V. Assos. A seaport on the coast of Troas, twenty-four Roman miles from Troas. The town was built on a high and precipitous cliff. Luke does not tell us why on this occasion he was separated from Paul. Had he appointed. The passive διατεταγμένος ῆν is acre used in an active sense, as in Died. Sic. (quoted by Kuinoel) and other Greek writers (see Steph., 'Thesaur.'). But some consider it as the middle voice (Meyer). Acts 20:13To go afoot (πεζεύειν)

Only here in New Testament. There is no good reason for changing this to by land, as Rev. The A. V. preserves the etymology of the Greek verb. The distance was twenty miles; less than half the distance by sea.

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