Acts 27:20
And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
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(20) When neither sun nor stars in many days appeared.—We have to remember that before the invention of the compass the sun and stars were the only guides of sailors who were out of sight of land. Now the sky was over-cast and this guidance failed. The ship was driving, but whither they knew not.

All hope that we should be saved was then taken away.—Better, finally, or at last. The failure of all hope implies some other cause of fear in addition to the mere violence of the gale, and the successive attempts to lighten the ship make it all but certain that she had sprung a leak, which their efforts were powerless to stop. The want of proper food (see next verse), and the exhaustion of protracted labour, naturally aggravated the feeling of despair.

Acts 27:20-22. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared — The direction of which could be the less spared before the compass was found out; and no small tempest lay on us — Still the wind was boisterous, and the sea ran high; all hope that we should be saved — That is, delivered from the danger we were in; was then taken away — The whole ship’s company expected nothing but that the ship would certainly be lost, and we should all perish with it. But after long abstinence — For all this time they had had no heart to think of taking any regular refreshment, and probably several of them took little or none; Paul stood forth in the midst of them — Authorized by God to give them encouragement; and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me — Paul having foreseen and foretold what had befallen them, and warned them not to set sail from Crete, they ought to have believed his prediction, and taken his advice, especially as Luke and Aristarchus, if not some others on board the ship, Paul’s companions, could have borne, and probably did bear, witness to the spirit of prophecy and the miraculous powers with which he was endowed: and for their not hearkening to him they were now deservedly punished. And to have gained — That is, to have brought upon yourselves and upon us all, as well as upon the owner of the ship, this harm and loss — Which is now before your eyes. The words, υβριν και ζημιαν, rendered harm and loss, are used Acts 27:10, and have here evidently a reference to what the apostle had there predicted. And — Or nevertheless; now I exhort you — Bad as the situation of affairs may appear; to be of good cheer — For though you conclude you must inevitably perish, I assure you there shall be no loss of any man’s life — Among you, that is, provided they would do as he directed them, see Acts 27:31. In God’s promises there is generally implied a tacit condition, which, from the nature of the thing, is to be understood, as in the promise made to Eli, 1 Samuel 2:30. Paul here foretels their preservation so particularly, that, when it was effected, more credit might be given to the gospel which he preached, and more glory might redound to the God he worshipped.

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.Neither sun nor stars ... - As they could see neither san nor stars, they could make no observations; and as they had no compass, they would be totally ignorant of their situation, and they gave up all as lost. 20. neither sun nor stars appeared in many—"several"

days—probably most of the fourteen days mentioned in Ac 27:27. This continued thickness of the atmosphere prevented their making the necessary observations of the heavenly bodies by day or by night; so that they could not tell where they were.

all hope that we should be saved was taken away—"Their exertions to subdue the leak had been unavailing; they could not tell which way to make for the nearest land, in order to run their ship ashore, the only resource for a sinking ship: but unless they did make the land, they must founder at sea. Their apprehensions, therefore, were not so much caused by the fury of the tempest, as by the state of the ship" [Smith]. From the inferiority of ancient to modern naval architecture, leaks were sprung much more easily, and the means of repairing them were fewer than now. Hence the far greater number of shipwrecks from this cause.

Neither sun nor stars in many days appeared; which shows the greatness of their misery, which had not the ordinary refreshments from the sight of the sun to relieve it. For what the sun does cheer, is one reason why our Saviour is called the Sun of righteousness, Malachi 4:2.

All hope that we should be saved was then taken away; there remained no hope in the eye of reason, or reckoning upon second causes, or natural events.

And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared,.... The Syriac version adds, "nor moon"; which is an usual description of dark, cloudy, and tempestuous seasons; and which was not only uncomfortable to them, because they could not see these luminaries, and enjoy their beneficial light and influence; but because they had them not to guide and direct them; for the sun, moon, and stars, are useful to sailors, to steer their course by; especially they were to the ancients, before the invention and use of the loadstone; besides, by these they conjectured what weather it would be, as mariners still do; they observed the rising and setting of the sun, whether it shone with equal rays or not, and whether it was red and fiery, or pale; and the like observations they made upon the moon, both as to its colour and size; and especially the constellations and stars were of singular use unto them; and above all, the two Bears, the greater and the lesser; the Greeks observed the former, and the Phoenicians the latter; and who are said by Pliny to have first found out the use of the constellations in navigation; particularly this is ascribed to the famous philosopher Thales, who is said to be a Phoenician; and from other constellations, as Arcturus, Orion, Hyades, &c. they foresaw rains, storms, and tempests: and now what made the case of the apostle and the ship's company the more distressing was, that it was not only dark and cloudy, but very tempestuous, as follows;

and no small tempest lay on us; and all this continued many days: so Virgil (f) represents Aeneas and his company in a like condition at sea, as not able by the heavens to distinguish day from night, nor to direct their course, neither sun nor stars appearing, and so wandered about in the sea three days without the sun, and as many nights without a star; and Homer (g) describes Ulysses in a violent storm at sea, and for the space of nine days tossed about, when on the tenth day he got to land; and Sosia, in Terence (h), is brought in saying, that he had been thirty days in a ship, expecting death every moment, so boisterous was the storm he was in; and so it was in this case, the winds blew hard upon them, and the rains fell with great violence, and everything was discouraging and distressing; insomuch that

all hope that we should be saved was then taken away; neither the master and owner of the ship, nor the mariners, nor the soldiers, nor prisoners, nor the apostle's companions, had any hope of being saved, but all expected to be lost. The apostle himself knew indeed, that though the ship would be lost, every man's life would be saved; and yet he could have no hope of this, as to the outward appearance of things, but on account of the revelation which the Lord had made to him, and he believed; otherwise, as to all human helps and means, there was no probability of an escape.

(f) Aeneid. l. 3.((g) Odyss. 9. (h) Hecyra, Acts 3. Scen. 4.

And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
Acts 27:20. Μήτε δὲ ἡλίου κ.τ.λ.] For descriptions of storms from Greek and Roman writers, which further embellish this trait (Virg. Aen. i. 85 ff, iii. 195 ff.; Ach. Tat. iii. 2, p. 234, al.), see Grotius and Wetstein.

ἐπικεῖσθαι] spoken of the incessantly assailing storm, see Alberti, Obss. 279; Wolf, Cur.

λοιπόν] ceterum in reference to time, i.e. henceforth. See Vigerus, p. 22, and Hermann thereon, p. 706; Kühner, ad Anab. ii. 2. 5.

ἡμᾶς] not ἡμῖν, which would not have been suitable to Paul (Acts 23:11), nor yet probably to his Christian companions.

Acts 27:20. μήτε δὲ ἡλίου μήτε ἄστρων: the omission of the article here intensifies the meaning, Blass, Gram., p. 143, “weder etwas von Sonne”.—ἐπιφαινόντων, cf. Luke 1:79; only in Luke and Paul, Titus 2:11; Titus 3:4; “shone upon us,” R.V., thus their only guidance, humanly speaking (for, of course, they had no compass), was taken from them, cf. Æneid, i., 88; iii., 195; Horace, Epod., x., 9, and for the phrase, Polyb., v., 6, 6.—ἐπὶ πλείονας: often in Luke ἐπί with acc. of time, cf. Acts 28:6, and for instances in Luke and other parts of Acts of the same usage as predominant (though not exclusive) in Luke see Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ, p. 152; Klostermann, Vindiciæ Lucanæ, p. 53; Luke 10:35; Luke 18:4, Acts 3:1; Acts 4:5; Acts 13:31; Acts 16:18; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:20; Acts 19:8; Acts 19:10; Acts 19:34.—οὐκ ὀλίγου: only in Luke, eight times in Acts; see above on Acts 27:14.—ἐπικειμ., cf. 1 Corinthians 9:16, Hebrews 9:10, Luke 5:1; Luke 23:23 (John 11:38; John 21:9, literal sense), and for its use here, Plut., Timol., 28, τέλος δὲ τοῦ χειμῶνος ἐπικειμένου. In LXX, Job 19:3, Wis 17:21 , 1Ma 6:57, 3Ma 1:22, etc.—λοιπὸν (cf. Matthew 26:45), “now,” R.V., jam, Blass; often = ἤδη, L. and .; others render it: for the future (2 Timothy 4:8), finally, at last.—περιῃρεῖτο: “was gradually taken away,” Ramsay, “imperf. quod in dies magis,” Blass; Page renders “was being gradually stripped from us,” a very vivid word, cf. 2 Corinthians 3:16, Hebrews 10:11 (Acts 27:40, see below), and its use in LXX and Psalms of Solomon, Acts 2:22; cf. Westcott’s note on Heb., l.c., but on the other hand Blass, in loco, regards the force of περί as lost in the word in N.T. J. Smith (so Breusing) sees in the expression more than the hopelessness arising from the force of the storm—we have also to consider the fact that they could not see their course, and the increasing leakage of the vessel.

20. in many days appeared] [R. V. shone upon us for many days]. This does not imply a continuous darkness like night, but that the mist and spray made the whole sky obscure both by day and night. In such a state of things we can understand how hopeless seemed the case of the Apostle and his fellows. They were at the mercy of the storm, and could neither know the direction in which they were carried, nor see if they were nearing any danger.

Acts 27:20. Μήτε ἡλίου, μέτε ἄστρων, neither the sun, nor the stars) which the ancients could the less do without before the discovery of the mariner’s compass.

Verse 20. - Shone upon us for many days for in many days appeared, A.V.; now for then, A.V. Neither sun nor stars, etc. This is mentioned, not only as a feature of the severity and length of the easterly gale (for the wind had shifted two or three points to the east), but specially because in the navigation of that time, before the invention of the compass, the sun, moon, and stars were the only things they had to steer by, or by which they could know the direction in which they were drifting. Shone upon us (ἐπιφαινόντων); showed themselves; i.e. "appeared," as in the A.V., which is the best rendering (romp. ἐπιφανεία, the appearance, or Epiphany). Now. Λοιπόν τὸ λοιπόν, and τοῦ λοιποῦ are used adverbially both in the New Testament and in classical Greek. It is sometimes rendered "now," i.e. for the time that remains; and sometimes "henceforth;" sometimes "finally" (Mark 14:41; 2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Corinthians 13:11, etc.). It seems that sometimes χρόνον ισ to be understood, and sometimes that it means "as for what remaineth" to be said or done (romp. the French du reste or au reste). Acts 27:20
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