Acts 27:27
But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) When the fourteenth night was come.—The time is apparently reckoned from their leaving the Fair Havens. (Comp. Acts 27:18-19; Acts 27:33.)

As we were driven up and down in Adria.——The name was used as including more than the Gulf of Venice, to which the name Adriatic has been confined by more recent geographers. So Ptolemy (iii. 16) speaks of the Adria as washing the south coast of the Peloponnesus and the east coast of Sicily (iii. 4). So Josephus (Life, c. 3), narrating his shipwreck, just two years after St. Paul’s, on his voyage from Judæa to Puteoli, states that he was picked up by another ship sailing from Cyrene to the same port, “in the middle of Adria.” The intersection of the lines of the two vessels would fall, as a glance at the map will show, within the region now mentioned by St. Luke under the same name.

The shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country.—Literally, they suspected, or surmised, that a certain country was approaching them. The sound of breakers, probably the white lines of foam seen through the darkness, gave rise, we may believe, to this impression. The country which they were nearing could hardly be any other than the head-land known as the Point of Koura, at the east extremity of St. Paul’s, Bay, in Malta. To the Apostle the sight and the sound would alike witness that his prediction was on the point of fulfilment.

Acts 27:27-32. But when the fourteenth night — Since they left Crete; was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria — That is, in the Adriatic sea: as the ancients called all that part of the Mediterranean sea which lay south of Italy. About midnight, the shipmen deemed (apprehended) that they drew near to some country — Or shore; which confirmed what Paul had told them, that they must be driven upon some island: and, to try whether it was so or not, they sounded — In order to ascertain the depth of the water, which would be less as they drew nearer to the shore. And by the first experiment, they found it twenty fathoms, and by the next only fifteen — Which decrease of their sounding convinced them that their apprehension was just. Then, fearing lest they should have fallen upon rocks — Of which there were very many in those seas, especially about the islands, where there might not be depth of water sufficient to keep the vessel from striking; they cast four anchors out of the stern — This shows how great the tempest was, in that they needed so many anchors; and wished for day — That they might the better discern their situation. And, as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship — Perceiving the danger to be extreme, and endeavouring to provide for their own safety, by making to the shore; and when — To compass their design; they let down the boat into the sea — Supposing it would go more safely over the shallows; and were just going into it, under colour as though they would have cast anchors — From the ship’s head, to make the vessel more secure; thus dissembling the true reason of their going into the boat, which was to make their escape. Paul — Who knew it was the will of God that all proper endeavours should be used for their preservation, in a dependance on the promise he had given them, perceiving the design they had in view; said to the centurion and to the soldiers — Who had power to hinder their accomplishing their design; Except these mariners abide in the ship — Without whom ye know not how to manage it; ye cannot be saved — He does not say, We. That they would not have regarded. The soldiers were not careful for the lives of the prisoners: nor was Paul careful for his own. We may learn hence, to use the most proper means for security and success, even while we depend on Divine Providence, and wait for the accomplishment of God’s own promise. He never designed any promise should encourage rational creatures to act in an irrational manner; or to remain inactive, when he has given them natural capacities of doing something, at least, for their own benefit. To expect the accomplishment of any promise without exerting these, is at best vain and dangerous presumption, if all pretence of relying upon it be not profane hypocrisy. Then the soldiers — Who had learned from their commander to pay a deference to what Paul said, that the success of this intended fraud might be effectually prevented; cut off the ropes of the boat — By which it was fastened to the side of the ship; and let it fall off into the sea — Before any of the mariners got into it.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.The fourteenth night - From the time when the tempest commenced.

In Adria - In the Adriatic Sea. This sea is situated between Italy and Dalmatia, now called the Adriatic Gulf. But among the ancients the name was given not only to that gulf, but to the whole sea lying between Greece, Italy, and Africa, including the Sicilian and Ionian Sea. It is evident from the narrative that they were not in the Adriatic Gulf, but in the vicinity of Malta.

Deemed - Judged. Probably by the appearance of the sea.

27-29. when the fourteenth night was come—from the time they left Fair Havens.

as we were driven—drifting

up and down in Adria—the Adriatic, that sea which lies between Greece and Italy.

about midnight the shipmen deemed—no doubt from the peculiar sound of the breakers.

that they drew near some country—"that some land was approaching them." This nautical language gives a graphic character to the narrative.

In Adria; not in the Adriatic Bay, or Gulf of Venice, which divides Italy and Dalmatia, though that be also so called; but this name is sometimes extended to those parts of the Mediterranean Sea which border on Sicily, and Ionia in Greece, and must be passed over by such as go from Crete, or Candia, to Melita, or Malta. But when the fourteenth night was come,.... From their setting out from the Fair Havens in Crete, or from the beginning of the storm:

as they were driven up and down in Adria: or "in the Adriatic sea", as the Syriac version renders it: the Adriatic sea is now called by the Turks the gulf of Venice, and the straits of Venice, and sometimes the Venetian sea (i); but formerly the Adriatic sea included more than the Venetian gulf; it took in the Ionian and Sicilian seas, and had its name from the city Adria, a colony of the Tuscans (k). It is called by Ptolomy (l) Hadria, and reckoned a city of the Picenes. Pliny (m) places it near the river Padus, and calls it Atriae, a town of the Tuscans, which had a famous port, from whence the sea was before called Atriatic, which is now Adriatic. Adria, Justin (n) says, which is near to the Illyrian sea, and gave name to the Adriatic sea, is a Grecian city; and from this place the ancestors of Adrian, the Roman emperor, originally came; and all the sea between Illyricum and Italy is called the Adriatic; and from the beginning of it, which is at the city of Venice, unto Garganus, a mountain in Italy, and Dyrrachium, a city of Macedonia, it is 600 miles in length, and its largest breadth is 200, and the least 150, and the mouth of it 60. The other part of the sea, which washes Macedonia and Epirus, is called the Ionian sea. Moreover, this whole sea is called the superior sea, with respect to the Tyrrhenian, which dashes the other shore of Italy, and is called the inferior (o). In this same sea, Josephus (p), the historian, was shipwrecked as he was on a voyage to Rome: his account is this;

"I came to Rome, having gone through many dangers by sea, for our ship being sunk in the middle of Adria, being in number about six hundred, we swam all night; and about break of day, by the providence of God, a ship of Cyrene appeared to us, in which I, and some others, in all eighty, getting before the rest, were received into it, and so got safe to Dicearchia, which the Italians call Puteoli;''

a place afterwards mentioned, where the apostle also arrived. And the sea itself is often, by the poets (q) called Adria, as here, and is represented as a very troublesome sea; and here Paul, and the ship's company, were driven to and fro by the storm,

when about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country: about the middle of the night the mariners thought, by some observations they made, that they were nigh land; or, as it is in the Greek text, "that some country drew near to them"; which well agrees with the language and sense of seafaring persons, to whose sight the land seems to draw near them, or depart from them, when they draw near, or depart from that: the Ethiopic version is, "they thought they should have seen a city"; they had a notion of some city near; and the Arabic version, "they thought to know in what country, or place" they were; and therefore did as follows.

(i) Hyde not. in Peritzol. Itinera Mundi, p. 53, 54. (k) Alex. ab. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 28. (l) Geograph. l. 3. c. 1.((m) Nat. Hist. l. 3. c. 16. (n) Hist ex Trogo, l. 20. c. 1.((o) Pausanias, Eliac. 1. sive, l. 5. p. 337. (p) In Vita sua, sect. 3. p. 905. (q) Horat. Carnin. l. 1. ode 3. & l. 3. ode. 3. 9. Ovid. Trist, l. 1, eleg. 11.

{7} But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in {e} Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed {f} that they drew near to some country;

(7) We attain and come to the promised and sure salvation through the midst of tempests and death itself.

(e) For Ptolemy writes that the Adriatic Sea beats upon the east shore of Cecilia.

(f) Or, some country drew near to them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 27:27-29. But after the commencement of the fourteenth night (namely, after the departure from Fair Havens, comp. Acts 27:18-19), while we were driven up and down (διαφερ., see the passages in Wetstein and Kypke, II. p. 141, and Philo, de migr. Abr. p. 410 E) in the Adriatic sea, about midnight the sailors descried, etc. The article was not required before the ordinal number (Poppo, ad Thuc. ii. 70:5), as a special demonstrative stress (Ameis on Hom. Od. xiv. 241) is not contemplated, but only the simple statement of time. On νὺξ ἐπεγένετο (see the critical remarks), the night set in, comp. Herod, viii. 70; Thuc. iv. 25; Polyb. i. 11. 15, ii. 25. 5.

ὁ Ἀδρίας] here and frequently, not in the narrower sense (Plin. 3:16. 20) of the Golfo di Venetia, but in the wider sense of the sea between Italy and Greece, extending southward as far as, and inclusive of, Sicily. See Forbiger, Geogr. II. p. 16 ff. “Hadriae arbiter notus.”[174] Horat. Od. i. 3. 15.

προσάγειν] that it approaches to them. “Lucas optice loquitur nautarum more,” Kypke. See Cic. Quaest. acad. iv. 25. The opposite is ἀναχωρεῖν, recedere. See Smith and the passages in Kuinoel. The conjecture of the sailors (ὑπενόουν) had doubtless its foundation in the noise of the surf (Smith), such as is usual in the vicinity of land.

On βολίζειυ, to cast the sounding lead (βολίς, in Herodotus καταπειρατηρία), see the passages from Eustathius in Wetstein; and on ὀργυιά (concerning the accent, Göttling, p. 138), a measure of length of six feet, like our fathom, see Herod. ii. 169; Boeckh, metrol. Unters. p. 210 ff.

διαστήσαντες] note the active: having made a short interval, i.e. having removed the ship a little way farther. Comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 41 [E. T. 47].

δεκαπέντε] With this decrease of depth the danger increased of their falling on reefs (κατὰ τραχεῖς τόπους), such as are frequent in the vicinity of small islands.

τέσσαρας] Comp. Caes. Bell. civ. i. 25 : “Naves quatenis ancoris destinabat, ne fluctibus moverentur.” For the different expressions for casting anchor, see Poll i. 103.

[174] Comp. Scherzer, statistisch commercielle Ergebnisse, p. 51: “During the European winter a sailing vessel may be often forced to lose fourteen days or more by a persistent south-east wind in the Adriatic Gulf.”Acts 27:27. τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτη νύξ, i.e., since their departure from Fair Havens, cf. Acts 27:18-19, see also the reckonings of mileage in Breusing, p. 189, and Goerne, who reckons from the departure from Cauda.—διαφερομένων ἡμῶν: “as we were driven to and fro,” R.V., so Ramsay; “huc illuc ferri,” Blass, cf. for a similar meaning of the verb Philo, De Migr. Abr., 27, Strabo, 3, p. 144, and other instances as in Plutarch, see Wetstein, Grimm-Thayer, sub v. But J. Smith (so Breusing, Goerne, Rendall) takes the word as signifying that they were driven through the waters of the Adria uniformly in the same direction, i.e., right across from Cauda to Malta, and not as moving up and down, or to and fro. Ramsay (so Farrar) holds that St. Luke writes as a landsman who supposes that they drifted to and fro, whilst a sailor would have known that they drifted in a uniform direction (an explanation which Page describes as easy but unsatisfactory, but he thinks that the Greek word cannot be used as J. Smith believes); Rendall however maintains that throughout the Acts the habitual force of διά in composition, e.g., διέρχεσθαι, διαπλεῖν, διαφεύγειν, διαπερᾷν, διοδεύειν, whether governing an accusative or used absolutely is to express continuous movement onwards over an intervening space.—ἐν τῷ Ἀδρίᾳ: “in the sea of Adria,” R.V. (on the form of the word see Hastings’ B.D., more properly “Adrias”); not in the narrower sense of the Adriatic, the Gulf of Venice, or as we now speak of “the Adriatic,” but as including the whole sea which lay between Malta, Italy, Greece and Crete; St. Luke probably used the term as it was colloquially used by the sailors in this wider sense. For Mommsen’s objection to the term here see above, Introd., p. 8. The passage in Strabo, ii., 123 (cf. vii. 187), where the Ionian sea is spoken of as a part of what is now called Adria plainly justifies a wider use of the term in St. Paul’s day than had been originally attached to it, cf. Ptolemy, Geogr, iii., 4, 14, 15, 16, who applies it to the sea extending from Sicily to Crete, and thus represents, although living some sixty or seventy years after him, what was no doubt the current usage in St. Luke’s day; so J. Smith, Breusing, Goerne, Vars, Ramsay, Renan, Blass, etc. Josephus, Vita, 3, speaks of being taken up in the middle of Adria, κατὰ μέσον τὸν Ἀδρίαν, when his ship foundered, by a vessel sailing from Cyrene to Puteoli. See further “Adria,” Hastings’ B.D., where a full criticism of the attempt made by W. Falconer (and others), Dissertation on St. Paul’s Voyage, 1817, republished with additions in 1870, to limit the term to the branch of the sea between Italy and Illyria, and to identify Melita with an island off its Illyrian shore, will be found; see further on Acts 28:1, and C. and H., small edition, p. 660 ff., for other references to the meaning of the term “Adria,” and Renan, Saint Paul, p. 552, J. Smith, p. 280 ff., 4th edit, (editor’s note), and Encycl. Bibl., i., 72, 1899.—κατὰ μέσον τῆς ν., cf. Acts 16:25 for a similar expression, only in Luke.—ὑπενόουν: only in Luke; “surmised,” R.V., less decided than “deemed,” A.V., see on Acts 13:25 (cf. 1 Timothy 6:4).—προσάγειν τινὰ αὐτοῖς χ.: “that some land was approaching them,” R.V., so Breusing and Ramsay; intransitive in LXX, Joshua 3:9, 1 Samuel 9:18, Jeremiah 26(46):3, etc., “Lucas optice loquitur, nautarum more,” Kypke; the opposite verb would be ἀναχωρεῖν, recedere, see Wetstein and Blass for illustrations. J. Smith thinks that probably they heard the breakers on the shore, but Breusing and Goerne (so Blass) think that the anchor or whatever weight was dragged behind the ship appeared to strike the ground, see above on Acts 27:17, cf. critical note for προσαχεῖν, Doric for προσηχεῖν.—χώραν: the point of Koura, east of St. Paul’s Bay, J. Smith; the ship would pass within a quarter of a mile of it, and while the land is too low to be seen when the night is stormy, the breakers can be heard for a considerable distance; cf. the description of the wreck of the Lively in 1810, Smith, p. 123, 4th edition.27. the fourteenth night] i.e. from the time of their sailing away from Fair Havens. Since that time they had been constantly driven to and fro.

in Adria] [R. V. in the sea of Adria]. That part of the Mediterranean which lies between Greece, Italy and Africa is so called. The name embraced a much wider extent of sea than the present Gulf of Venice, which is called “the Adriatic.” Cf. Strabo, ii. 123.

the shipmen deemed] [R. V. surmised]. Their knowledge of the sea would enable them to form an opinion from things which others would hardly notice, some alteration in the currents or the different character and sounds of the waves, dashed as they would be against the land.Acts 27:27. Τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτη, the fourteenth) after having left Crete: Acts 27:18-19.—αὐτοῖς χώραν, that land drew near to them) To persons who are being carried along, the lands seem to be in motion.Verse 27. - To and fro for up and down, A.V.; the sea of Adria for Adria, A.V.; sailors for shipmen, A.V.; surmised for deemed, A.V.; were drawing for drew, A.V. The fourteenth night, reckoned from their leaving Fair Havens (so vers. 18, 19). Driven to and fro (διαφερομένων); it is rather carried across, or along, from one end to the other. Sea of Adria. Adria, as in the A.V., is scarcely correct, as a translation of the Greek (though the Latins did call it Adria), because the nominative case in Greek is ὁ Ἀδρίας, sc. κόλπος, Adrias, the Adriatic Gulf. Ἀδρία is the name of the town near the mouth of the Po, which gave its name to the Adriatic. As regards the use of term ὁ Ἀδρίας, the Adriatic, it is used in two ways: sometimes strictly of the Gulf of Venice, the Adriatic; sometimes, chiefly in latter writers, in a much wider sense, of the whole sea between Greece and Italy, including Sicily. This last is its use here. So, too, Josephus says that he was wrecked κατὰ μέσον τὸν Ἀδρίαν, in the midst of the Adriatic, on his voyage from Caesarea to Puteoli, and was picked up by a ship from Cyrene. This implies that he used the word "Adria" in the same sense as St. Luke does (see further the appendix 5. and 6. in Smith's 'Voyage,' etc.; Conybeare and Howson, p. 343, note, and p. 350; Lewin, vol. 2. p. 198, note; Farrar, vol. 2. p. 377, note; Renan, ' St. Paul,' p. 552). Surmised that they were drawing near. Probably from hearing the waves breaking upon the Point of Koura, east of St. Paul's Bay. Υπονορω is only found in the Acts (Acts 13:25; Acts 25:18; and here); but it is used three or four times in the LXX. (Daniel, Job, Judith, Sirach), and is common in classical Greek in the sense of to "suspect, conjecture," "guess at" anything (see ὑπονοία, 1 Timothy 6:4). Were drawing near, etc.; literally, that some country (or, land) was drawing near to them. In like manner, the land is said ἀναχωρεῖν, to recede, as the vessel gets out to sea. Adria

The Adriatic Sea: embracing all that part of the Mediterranean lying south of Italy, east of Sicily, and west of Greece.

Deemed (ὑπενόουν)

Better, as Rev., suspected or surmised.

That they drew near to some country

Lit., that some land is drawing near to them.

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