Acts 27:21
But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the middle of them, and said, Sirs, you should have listened to me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
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(21) After long abstinence . . .—We find from Acts 27:35-38 that there was still a fair supply of food on board, but. as they could not tell how long it might be before they reached a harbour, the crew, amounting, with passengers, to two hundred and seventy-six men (Acts 27:37), had been naturally put on reduced rations, and the storm, and the sacrifice which they had been obliged to make of all their goods that could be spared probably made cooking all but impossible.

Paul stood forth in the midst of them.—The narrative implies that while others had burst into the wailing cries of despair, calling, we may believe, like the sailors in Jonah 1:5, “every man unto his god,” the Apostle had passed his hours of darkness in silent communing with God, and now came forward with the assurance that his prayers were heard. With the feeling natural to one whose counsel had been slighted, he reminds them that if they had followed it they would have been spared the harm and loss (the same words are used in the Greek as in Acts 27:10) to which they were now exposed. “Sirs,” as in Acts 14:15; Acts 19:25, answers to the Greek for “men.”

And to have gained this harm and loss.—Better, to have been spared. The English reads as if the words were ironical, but parallel passages from other Greek writers show that to “gain” a harm and loss meant to escape them—to get, as it were, a profit out of them by avoiding them. This, St. Paul says, they would have done had they listened to his advice. The Geneva version adds an explanatory note, “that is, ye should have saved the losse by avoyding the danger.” Tyndale and Cranmer take the words as the English reader, for the most part, takes them now, “and have brought unto us this harm and loss.”

27:21-29 They did not hearken to the apostle when he warned them of their danger; yet if they acknowledge their folly, and repent of it, he will speak comfort and relief to them when in danger. Most people bring themselves into trouble, because they do not know when they are well off; they come to harm and loss by aiming to mend their condition, often against advice. Observe the solemn profession Paul made of relation to God. No storms or tempests can hinder God's favour to his people, for he is a Help always at hand. It is a comfort to the faithful servants of God when in difficulties, that as long as the Lord has any work for them to do, their lives shall be prolonged. If Paul had thrust himself needlessly into bad company, he might justly have been cast away with them; but God calling him into it, they are preserved with him. They are given thee; there is no greater satisfaction to a good man than to know he is a public blessing. He comforts them with the same comforts wherewith he himself was comforted. God is ever faithful, therefore let all who have an interest in his promises be ever cheerful. As, with God, saying and doing are not two things, believing and enjoying should not be so with us. Hope is an anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast, entering into that within the veil. Let those who are in spiritual darkness hold fast by that, and think not of putting to sea again, but abide by Christ, and wait till the day break, and the shadows flee away.But after long abstinence - By the violence of the storm, by their long continued labor, and by their apprehension of danger, they had a long time abstained from food.

And to have gained this harm - To have procured this harm, or have subjected yourselves to it. Had you remained there you would have been safe. It seems to be bad English to speak of gaining a loss, but it is a correct translation of the original κερδῆσαί kerdēsai, which expresses the idea of acquiring or procuring, whether good or evil. See Acts 27:9-10.

21-26. But after long abstinence—(See on [2131]Ac 27:33). "The hardships which the crew endured during a gale of such continuance, and their exhaustion from laboring at the pumps and hunger, may be imagined, but are not described" [Smith].

Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened to me, &c.—not meaning to reflect on them for the past, but to claim their confidence for what he was now to say:

After long abstinence: these did not abstain from their meals for any want; for they had sufficient provision, as appears, Acts 27:38; nor because the storm or tempest tossing the ship, and them in it, took away their stomach, for the sea men, at least, were not so long troubled with that sea sickness: but:

1. Their continually being employed, working for their lives. Or:

2. Their fear of perisiting, and sense of a future state, might take up their thoughts so effectually, that they minded nothing else.

Hence it hath been said, that whosoever cannot pray should go to sea, and there he would learn it; for in their affliction they will seek me early, saith the Lord, Hosea 5:15.

Ye should have hearkened unto me; being Paul had foretold this that now befell them, as Acts 27:10, they were bound to have believed him; which they not doing, are now deservedly punished.

Have gained this harm and loss; harm and loss, misery and calamity, is all that disobedience unto God gets at last, whatsoever it may promise us to tempt us with. But after long abstinence,.... From food, not for want of it, as appears from what follows, Acts 27:36 nor in a religious way, in order to obtain the favour of God; but either for want of appetite, and a nauseousness and loathing of food, through the tossing of the ship, fright at the storm, and fears of death; and chiefly for want of time, being employed for the security of themselves and the ship.

Paul stood forth in the midst of them; that all might hear him:

and said, sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me: it would have been better for them to have taken his advice, and stayed at the Fair Havens,

and not have loosed from Crete; or sailed from thence:

and to have gained this harm and loss; whereby they would have shunned the injuries of the weather, the storm and tempest which they had endured, to the prejudice of their health, and the terrifying of their minds, and have prevented the loss of the goods and merchandise of the ship, and its tackling, utensils, instruments, and arms; the former of these is expressed by "harm" or injury, and the latter by "loss". The apostle addresses them in a very courteous manner, and does not use sharp reproofs, severe language, or upbraid and insult them, only reminds them of the counsel he had given, which had it been taken, would have been to their advantage; and the rather he mentions this, that since what he had foretold was in part already come to pass, they might give the more heed to what he was about to say to them.

{5} But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.

(5) God spares the wicked for a time, for the sake of his elect and chosen.

Acts 27:21-22. The perplexity had now risen in the ship to despair. But, as the situation was further aggravated by the fact that there prevailed in a high degree (πολλῆς) that abstinence from food which anguish and despair naturally bring with them, Paul came forward in the midst of those on board (ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν), in the first instance with gentle censure, and afterwards with confident encouragement and promise.

On ἀσιτία, jejunatio (Vulg.), comp. Herod. iii. 52; Eur. Suppl. 1105; Arist. Eth. x. 9; Joseph. Antt. xii. 7. 1.

τότε] then, in this state of matters, as in Acts 28:1. So also in the classics after participles, Xen. Cyr. i. 5. 6; Dem. 33. 5, 60. 18.

σταθεὶς κ.τ.λ.] has here, as in Acts 17:22, Acts 2:14, something solemn.

αὐτῶν] not ἡμῶν; for the censure as well as also primarily the encouragement was intended to apply to the sailors.

ἔδει μέν] it was necessary indeed. This μέν does not stand in relation to the following καί, but the contrast (possibly: but it has not been done) is suppressed. See Kühner, § 733, note, p. 430; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 163. Comp. on Acts 28:22. Bengel well remarks: “καί modestiam habet.”

κερδῆσαι κ.τ.λ.] and to have spared us this insolence (see on Acts 27:10) and the loss (suffered). ταὐτην points to the whole present position of danger in which the ὕβρις, wherewith the warnings of the apostle were despised and the voyage ventured, presented itself in a way to be keenly felt as such. κερδαίνειν, of that gain, which is made by omission or avoidance. See examples in Bengel, and Kypke, II. p. 139 f. The evil in question is conceived as the object, the non-occurrence of which goes to the benefit of the person acting, as the negative object of gain. Analogous to this is the Latin lucrifacere, see Grotius. On the form κερδῆσαι, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 740 f.

ἀποβολή γὰρ ψυχῆς κ.τ.λ.] for there shall be no loss of a soul from the midst of you, except (loss) of the ship, i.e. no loss of life, but only the loss of the ship. An inaccuracy of expression, which continues with πλήν, as if before there had simply been used the words ἀποβ. γὰρ οὐδ. ἔσται. Comp. Winer, p. 587 [E. T. 789].

To what Paul had said in Acts 27:10, his present announcement stands related as a correction. He has now by special revelation learned the contrary of what he had then feared, as respected the apprehended loss of life.Acts 27:21. δέ: if we read τε, see critical note, the word closely connects what follows as the result of the hopelessness.—πολλῆς δὲ (τε) ἀσιτίας ὑπαρχ.: “and when they had been long without food,” R.V.; “abstinence” A.V. and Tyndale, “fasting” in Wycl., Rhem., imply rather a voluntary refraining which is not in the Greek; disinclination for food may have resulted from their anxiety (Humphry), and to the same effect Breusing, Goerne, “and little heart being left for food,” Rendall. But the storm may also have prevented the preparation of food (so Smith, Ramsay, Page, Farrar); the former gives instances to show that ἀσιτία was one of the most frequent concomitants of heavy gales, owing to the impossibility of cooking food, and to the destruction of provisions by leakage. ἀσιτίας, see below, Acts 27:33, for the adjective: both noun and adjective peculiar to St. Luke, and much employed in medical language, both so noted by Hobart and Zahn, the noun often meaning “want of appetite,” see instances in Hobart, p. 276, Hipp., Galen, Aret. The word was no doubt similarly used in classical Greek, so in Jos., but cf. the striking parallel in Acts 27:33 in medical phraseology. For the genitive absolute cf. locutiones Lucanæ (Klostermann, p. 53), Acts 15:7, Acts 19:40, Acts 21:40. Acts 23:10. Felten, Zöckler, Bethge (and so Wendt, 1888, but cf. p. 410 (1899)), rightly refuse to regard Acts 27:21-26 or Acts 27:10 as interpolations in the “We” section, or a “vaticinium post eventum,” and no one has contended more forcibly than Weizsäcker that the narrative is to be taken as an indivisible whole, and that it is impossible to disentangle the mere history of travel from it, or to strip away the miraculous additions, see especially Apostolic Age ii., pp. 126, 127, E.T.—τότε: in this state of things, at this juncture,—hungry, and thirsty, and their soul fainting in them; cf. Acts 28:1, so also in classical Greek.—σταθεὶς ὁ Π. ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν, cf. Acts 1:15, Acts 2:14, Acts 17:22; vividness and solemnity of the scene (αὐτῶν, not ἡμῶν), characteristically marked by Luke; Mr. Page well says that it is impossible not to recall Horace, Od., iii., 3, 1, “vir justus et propositi tenax,” unmoved amidst the storms “inquieti Adriæ”.—ἔδει μὲν: antithesis, not strictly expressed.… καὶ τὰ νῦν, Acts 27:22, “modestiam habet,” Bengel. For μέν answered not by δέ, but occasionally by other particles, as here by καί, cf. Luke 22:22, Acts 4:16; see Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 168, and for τὰ νῦν, see Acts 4:29, Acts 5:38, Acts 17:30, Acts 20:32, and note on p. 135. On the imperfect ἔδει cf. Burton, p. 14; Winer-Moulton, xli., 2.—ὦ ἄνδρες: “gentlemen,” “viri quos decet virtus,” Bengel, the word may thus mark St. Paul’s courtesy, and also his firmness; in counsel, Acts 27:10, he had been prudent and confident; in danger he was equally so; cf. especially Weizsäcker, u. s.πειθαρχ.: only in Acts in N.T., Acts 5:29; Acts 5:32, except once again as used by St. Paul, Titus 3:1.—ἀνάγ., see above, Acts 13:13, and Blass, in loco, on the tense.—κερδῆσαι: “and have gotten this injury and loss,” R.V., carrying on μή; Page on the other hand prefers the combination ἔδει τε κερδῆσαι (“hoc non pendet a μή,” Bengel), i.e., you ought not to have put to sea, and (you ought by so not putting to sea) to have gained this loss, i.e., not suffered it; with nouns signifying loss, injury, the verb κερδαίνειν is used of the gain arising from shunning or escaping from the evil, Grimm-Thayer, sub v., see Eur., Cycl., 312, with ζημίαν, to escape a loss, and cf. Jos., Ant., ii., 3, 2, and the Latin lucrifacere, Pliny, N.H., vii., 40, “lucri fecit injuriam”. The Genevan Version adds an explanatory note, “that is, ye should have saved the losse by avoyding the danger”; see also Acts 27:10. κερδῆσαι = κερδῶναι, -δῆναι; almost always in N.T., cf. Winer-Schmiedel, p. 110.21. But after long abstinence] As this sentence stands in A. V. it seems to indicate that the Apostle had been observing this long abstinence before he spake to his companions. The Gk. means that everybody on board had been without food for a long time. Read (with R. V.) “when they had been long without food.” This was in consequence of the excitement which made it impossible to eat, as well as the condition of the vessel which made the preparation of food very difficult. They had been living on anything that happened to be attainable, and that had been very little.

and not have loosed [R. V. set sail] from Crete] His exhortation had been that they should stay at Fair Havens, even though it was not so very commodious as a harbour.

and to have gained [gotten R. V.] this harm [injury R. V.] and loss] “To gain a loss” is a Greek, though not an English expression, and signifies “to prevent the loss by avoiding the danger.” The negative of the previous clause must not therefore be taken with this clause too, but the whole read as meaning “ye would not have set sail from Crete, and so would have escaped (been the gainers in respect of) this harm and loss from which ye now suffer.”Acts 27:21. Πολλῆς) Their abstinence was much, frequent, and long-continued.—τότε, then) When the world exults with joy, Christians abstain; when all others are in alarm, Christians are of good courage, and cheer up the others: Acts 27:36.—ἔδει μὲν, ye ought indeed) It is not without cause that Paul thus begins: I had given you good counsel, I will give you good counsel again; now comply with it.—κερδῆσαι, to have gained) This does not depend on. μὴ. Κερδῆσαι, by a Euphemism, is equivalent to avoid. Josephus, b. ii. de Bello Jud. ch. xvi, τόγε τῆς ἣττης ὄνειδος κερδήσετε, ye will supersede (escape from) the disgrace of defeat. Add B. ii. Ant. Jud. ch. 3. Basilius of Seleucia, Or. 19, ἵνα, εἰ μὲν φθάσας ὁ λόγος ἐπιστρέψῃ τὴν ἔννοιαν, τὴν τιμωρίαν κερδάνωσιν. Casaubon on this passage compares Arist. ἠθ. μεγ. [153]. ii., ΚΑῚ ᾮ ΚΑΤᾺ ΛΌΓΟΝ ΖΗΜΊΑΝ ἯΝ ΛΑΒΕῖΝ, ΤῸΝ ΤῸ ΤΟΙΟῦΤΟΝ ΚΕΡΔΆΝΑΝΤΑ ΕὐΤΥΧῆ ΦΑΜΈΝ. So too the Latins use lucrifacere.—ταύτην, this) which is before our eyes.

[153] the Vatican MS., 1209: in Vat. Iibr., Rome: fourth cent.: O. and N. Test. def.Verse 21. - And when they had been long without food for but after long abstinence, A.V. and T.R.; then Paul for Paul, A.V.; set sail for loosed, A.V.; and gotten for to have gained, A.V.; injury for harm, A.V. Long without food (πολλῆς ἀσιτίας ὑπαρχούσης). Ἀσιτία is only found here in the Bible; but it was the common medical term for loss of the appetite, and such is the most natural rendering here. There is nothing about "long abstinence" in the text, nor does the verb ὑπαρχούσης admit of being translated "when they had been." It describes a present condition. The literal rendering is, when there was a great (or, general) loss of appetite among the crew. The terror, the discomfort, the sea-sickness, the constant pressure of danger and labor, the difficulty of cooking, the unpalatableness of the food, combined to take away relish of their food, and they were becoming weak for want of nourishment. Have gotten (κερδῆσαι). Schleusner, Bengel, Meyer, Alford, and the 'Speaker's Commentary' explain this as equivalent to "have avoided," or "have escaped," and quote Josephus ('Ant. Jud,' it. 3:2), Τὸ μιανθῆναι τὰς χεῖρας κερδαίνειν, "To avoid staining their hands;" and ' Bell. Jud.,' it. 16:4 (towards the close of Agrippa's speech), Τῆς ἥττης ὄνειδος κερδήσετε," You will gain (i.e. avoid) the disgrace of defeat," like the use in Latin of lucrifacere. But it is simpler on the whole to understand it in the sense of "getting" as the fruit of your own conduct. We should say in English, "What have yon gained by this? Nothing but loss and shame." Compare too the phrase Τὰ ὀψώνια τῆς ἀμαρτίας θάνατος (Romans 6:23). So Liddell and Scott give us one use of κερδαίνειν, to gain a loss, 1.e. reap disadvantage, and quote from Euripides, 'Hecuba,' 1. 518 (516, Scholefield), διπλᾶ δάκρυα κερδᾶναι, "to gain double weeping." Injury (ὕβριν); see ver. 10, note. In the A.V. "to have gained" observe the same idiom as in ver. 10, "and there to winter." Hearkened (πειθαρχήσαντας)

See on obey, Acts 5:29.

Loosed (ἀνάγεσθαι)

Rev., set sail. See on Luke 8:22.

Harm (ὕβριν)

See on Acts 27:10.

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