Acts 27:15
And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) And could not bear up into the wind.—The Greek verb is literally, “to look into the wind’s eye,” to face the wind. The figure is a sufficiently natural one in all languages; but it perhaps received additional vividness from the fact that a large eye was commonly painted on the prow of Greek vessels. The practice is still not unusual in Mediterranean boats. Assuming the direction of the gale to have been as stated in the previous Note the ship was now driven in a south-west direction, scudding before the wind.

27:12-20 Those who launch forth on the ocean of this world, with a fair gale, know not what storms they may meet with; and therefore must not easily take it for granted that they have obtained their purpose. Let us never expect to be quite safe till we enter heaven. They saw neither sun nor stars for many days. Thus melancholy sometimes is the condition of the people of God as to their spiritual matters; they walk in darkness, and have no light. See what the wealth of this world is: though coveted as a blessing, the time may come when it will be a burden; not only too heavy to be carried safely, but heavy enough to sink him that has it. The children of this world can be prodigal of their goods for the saving their lives, yet are sparing of them in works of piety and charity, and in suffering for Christ. Any man will rather make shipwreck of his goods than of his life; but many rather make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, than of their goods. The means the sailors used did not succeed; but when sinners give up all hope of saving themselves, they are prepared to understand God's word, and to trust in his mercy through Jesus Christ.The ship was caught - By the wind. It came suddenly upon them as a tempest.

Could not bear up ... - Could not resist its violence, or the helmsman could not direct the ship. It was seized by the wind, and driven with such violence, that it became unmanageable.

We let her drive - We suffered the ship to be borne along by the wind without attempting to control it.

15. could not bear up into—"face"

the wind, we let her drift—before the gale.

The ship was caught; being forced from Crete, and no longer at the command of the mariners, but in the sole power of the winds.

And could not bear up into the wind; the ship could not keep her course, the winds being contrary, so that her prow or head (part whereof was called the eye of the ship, and on which its name was formerly, as now at the stern, inscribed) could not bear up according as their course did require; whence that expression, antofyalmein tw anemw, which is here used.

Sic quo non voluit, sed quo rapit impetus undae. And when the ship was caught,.... By the wind, snatched up by it, and forcibly carried away:

and could not bear up into the wind; and against it, or look it in the face, as the word signifies; could not ply to windward, the wind being so high and the sea so strong:

we let her drive; about the sea, at pleasure, it being in vain to attempt to get her forward against the wind, or to direct her course.

And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 27:15. Συναρπασθ.] but when the ship was hurried along with (the whirlwind).

On ἀντοφθαλμεῖν, to look in the face, then to withstand, see Schweigh. Lex. Polyb. p. 57. Comp. Sir 19:6; Wis 12:14.

ἐπιδόντες] may either, with the Vulgate (data nave flatibus ferebamur), Luther, Elsner, and many others, be referred to τὸ πλοῖον, or be taken in a reflexive sense (Raphel, Wolf, Bengel, Kypke): we gave ourselves up and were driven. Comp. Lobeck, ad Aj. 250. The former is simpler, because τ. πλοίου precedes.Acts 27:15. συναρπασθέντος δὲ τοῦ πλοίου: “and when the ship was caught by it” (Ramsay), a graphic word as if the ship was seized in the grasp of the wind; only in Luke, cf. Luke 8:29, Acts 6:12; Acts 19:29; in LXX. cf. Proverbs 6:25, 2Ma 3:27; 2Ma 4:41, 4Ma 5:4; so in classical Greek, e.g., Soph., Electr., 1150.—ἀντοφθαλμεῖν: “and could not face the wind,” R.V., “look at the wind eye to eye”: eyes were painted on the prows of vessels, but Alford thinks that the word was not originally a nautical term derived from this practice, but that more probably the expression was transferred to a ship from its usage in common life; it is used in Polybius of facing an enemy, Polyb., i., 17, 3, of resisting temptation, Acts 28:17-18, with δύνασθαι as here, and also with δύνασθαι in Wis 12:14, cf. Acts 6:11, [415] text. For the fit application of the word to a ship see Breusing, p. 168.—ἐπιδόντες ἐφερόμεθα: “we gave way to it (to the wind), and were driven,” or τὸ πλοῖον may be regarded as the object, “we gave up the ship to the winds,” “data nave fluctibus ferebamur,” Vulgate, so Holtzmann, Zöckler, Hackett, Wordsworth, and J. Smith, p. 106. The instances in Wetstein justify either rendering, see also references in Blass, in loco. ἐφερόμεθα: “and let the ship drive,” Ramsay and A.V., others render as passive, so Grimm-Thayer, sub v.; in classical Greek it is often used passively for being borne along by wind, or storm, or wave, cf. Hom., Odys., v., 343 (Page); Diod. Sic., xx., 16.

[415] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.15. and could not bear up into the wind] (R. V. “face the wind”). This comes nearer to the original, which is literally “to look the wind in the eye.”

we let her drive] (R. V. “we gave way to it, and were driven.) The literal rendering is “having given way we were driven.” The general usage of the verb in the sense of “yielding to superior force” makes it most probable that the meaning is “we yielded to the wind.” The. A. V. makes the sense “we yielded the vessel up.”Verse 15. - Face the wind for bear up into the wind, A.V.; gave way to it, and were driven for let her drive, A.V. Was caught; συναρπασθέντος, only here in this sense of being caught and carried away by the gale, but used in three other places by St. Luke (and only by him), viz. Luke 8:29; Acts 6:12; Acts 19:29. It is found more than once in the LXX., and is common in classical Greek. Sophocles uses it of a storm which carries everything away, Πάντα ξυναρπάσας θύελλ ὅπως ('Elect.,' 1150). Face; ἀντοφθαλμεῖν, only here in the New Testament; but in Polybius and elsewhere it is said or' looking any one in the face with defiance. And so Wisd. 12:14; Ecclus. 19:5 (Complut. Edit.), ἀντοφθαλμῶν ἡδονᾶις, "resisteth pleasures," A.V. Compare the phrase, "looked one another in the face" (2 Kings 14:8, 11, ὤφθησαν προσώποις). Hence here it means simply "resist," or "stand against," or, as well rendered in the R.V., "face." Gave way to it, etc.; ἐπιδόντες ἐφερόμεθα, a rather obscure phrase, but best explained "giving her" (the ship) to the wind, "we were carried" rapidly before it. Ἑπιδίδωμι, is to give, to give up, to give into any one's hand (Luke 4:17; Acts 15:30). ἐπιδόντες is opposed to ἀντοφθαλμεῖν, giving up to, abandoning her to, as opposed to resisting. Ἐφερόμεθα, we were hurried along before the wind, without will or choice of our own (as ver. 17). Common in Homer and other classical writers, for being borne along by wind, or waves, or storm, etc. (For the application of φέρομαι in the middle voice to a wind, see Acts 2:2.) Bear up (ἀντοφθαλμεῖν)

Only here in New Testament. From ἀντί, opposite, and ὀφθαλμός, the eye. Lit., to look the wind in the eye. The ancient ships often had an eye painted on each side of the bow. To sail "into the eye of the wind" is a modern nautical phrase.

We let her drive (ἐπιδόντες ἐφερόμεθα)

Lit., having given up to it, we were borne along.

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