Acts 27:39
And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.
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(39) They knew not the land.—It was, of course, probable enough that some at least of the sailors had been at Malta before; but St. Paul’s Bay, which we assume to be the point they had now reached, was remote from the Great Harbour, now that of Valetta, into which ships commonly sailed, and may therefore well have remained unknown to them.

A certain creek with a shore.—Better, having a beach, the English word failing to describe why it was that the creek attracted them. The earlier versions have “bank.” In Homer and other Greek writers the word is commonly used for a flat, sandy beach.

To thrust in the ship.—The word was a quasi-technical one, answering to our “to run the ship aground.”

Acts 27:39-41. And when it was day — And they had the shore before them; they knew not the land — And therefore were still at a loss what course to take; but they discovered a certain creek — A bay or bosom of the sea, having land on each side, where they judged it most likely for them to get on shore; using, however, still all proper means for their safety. And when they had taken up — Or, as it is now termed, weighed; the anchors, they committed themselves — Or, rather, the ship; unto the sea — And tried to stand in for the creek. But the original expressions here, τας αγκυρας περιελοντες; ειων εις την θαλασσαν, may be rendered, having cut the anchors, they left them in the sea. And loosed the rudder- bands — Their ships had frequently two rudders, one on each side. These were fastened while they let the ship drive; but were now loosened, when they had need of them to steer her into the creek. And hoisted up the mainsail to the wind — Which seemed to set right for their purpose. Although our translators here render the word, αρτεμονα, mainsail, Grotius (who supposes that σκευος, rendered sail, Acts 27:17, signifies the main-mast, and consequently, that the mainsail was now gone, Acts 27:19) supposes it was a sail near the fore part of the ship, answering to what we call the foremast, or the bowsprit. And falling into a place where two seas met — Probably by reason of a sand-bank running parallel with the shore, such was the violence of the current, that they ran the ship aground, so that the fore part stuck fast upon the sand. but the hinder part was broken to pieces by the violence of the waves — So that they suffered shipwreck with the shore in view, and almost in the harbour, teaching us never to be secure.27:39-44 The ship that had weathered the storm in the open sea, where it had room, is dashed to pieces when it sticks fast. Thus, if the heart fixes in the world in affection, and cleaving to it, it is lost. Satan's temptations beat against it, and it is gone; but as long as it keeps above the world, though tossed with cares and tumults, there is hope for it. They had the shore in view, yet suffered shipwreck in the harbour; thus we are taught never to be secure. Though there is great difficulty in the way of the promised salvation, it shall, without fail, be brought to pass. It will come to pass that whatever the trials and dangers may be, in due time all believers will get safely to heaven. Lord Jesus, thou hast assured us that none of thine shall perish. Thou wilt bring them all safe to the heavenly shore. And what a pleasing landing will that be! Thou wilt present them to thy Father, and give thy Holy Spirit full possession of them for ever.They knew not the land - They had been driven with a tempest, without being able to make any observation, and it is probable that they were entire strangers to the coast and to the whole island,

A certain creek with a shore - Greek: a certain bosom κόλπος kolpos or bay. By its having a shore is probably meant that it had a level shore, or one that was convenient for landing. It was not a high bluff of rocks, but was accessible. Kuinoel thinks that the passage should be construed, "they found a certain shore, having a bay," etc.

Were minded - Were resolved.

39. when it was day they knew not the land—This has been thought surprising in sailors accustomed to that sea. But the scene of the wreck is remote from the great harbor, and possesses no marked features by which it could be recognized, even by a native if he came unexpectedly upon it [Smith], not to speak of the rain pouring in torrents (Ac 28:2), which would throw a haze over the coast even after day broke. Immediately on landing they knew where they were (Ac 28:1).

discovered a creek with a shore—Every creek of course, must have a shore; but the meaning is, a practicable shore, in a nautical sense, that is, one with a smooth beach, in contradistinction to a rocky coast (as Ac 27:41 shows).

into which they were minded, if … possible, to thrust the ship—This was their one chance of safety.

They knew not the land; in so long and violent a tempest, thinking every moment to be swallowed up, they could keep no reckoning of the ship’s running or way; neither were charts or maps so usual (if they had any at all) in those times.

A certain creek; a bay, or bosom of the sea, having land on each side, where they judged it most likely for them to get on shore; using still all means for their safety. And when it was day they knew not the land,.... What place it was, or the name of it:

but they discovered a certain creek with a shore; a gulf or bay, with a shore near it; the Ethiopic version explains it,

an arm of the sea, where was a port, where they thought they could secure themselves, or get ashore:

into which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship; whither they had a mind, and consulted to run the ship, if it could be done by any means, believing it was the most likely method of saving themselves, and that; for notwithstanding the assurance they had that no man's life should be lost, they made use of all proper means for their safety and security.

{11} And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain {h} creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.

(11) Then are tempests most of all to be feared and looked for, when the port or haven is nearest.

(h) A creek is a sea within land, as the Adriatic Sea, and the Persian Sea.

Acts 27:39. Τὴν γῆν οὐκ ἐπεγίνωσκ.] i.e. when it became day, they recognised not what land it was; the land lying before them (τὴν γῆν) was one unknown to them.

κόλπον δέ τινα κατενόουν ἔχοντα αἰγιαλόν ] Thus Luke writes quite faithfully and simply (I might say naively) what presented itself to the scrutinizing gaze of those on board: but they perceived a bay which had a beach. A bay and a beach belonging to it—so much they saw at the unknown land, and this sufficed for the resolution to land there, where it was possible. Observe that αἰγιαλός is a flat coast (Matthew 13:2; and see Nägelsbach on the Iliad, p. 254, ed. 3), thus suitable for landing, in distinction from the high and rugged ἀκτή (see Hom. Od. v. 405, x. 89; Pind. Pyth. iv. 64; Lucian, Tox. 4). Hence it is not even necessary, and is less simple, to connect, with Winer, εἰς ὃν κ.τ.λ. as modal definition of αἰγιαλ. closely with the latter: “a shore of such a nature, that,” etc.

εἰς ὄν] applies to αἰγιαλ. See Acts 27:40. For examples of ἐξωθεῖν, used of the thrusting a ship from the open sea on to the land (navem ejicere, expellere), see Wetstein. On St. Paul’s Bay, see the description and chart of Smith.Acts 27:39. τὴν γῆν οὐκ ἐπεγ.: “they did not recognise the land,” Ramsay; the sailors probably knew Malta, since, Acts 28:11, there was evidently nothing unusual in eastern ships touching at the island on their way to Rome. But they did not know St. Paul’s Bay, which is remote from the great harbour, and was not distinguished by any marked features to secure recognition, Ramsay, J. Smith; see also note on Acts 28:1. C. and H. lay stress on the imperfect, “they tried to recognise …, but could not”; but in Acts 28:1 we have the aorist indicating that the land was recognised immediately on landing.—κατενόουν: “perceived,” R.V., cf. Matthew 7:3, Luke 6:41; Luke 20:23.—κόλπον τινα: a sort of bay or creek, “a bay,” R.V., the word means a bay either small or large, and St. Paul’s Bay may be described as a small bay or creek (Rendall); ἔχοντα αἰγιαλόν “with a sandy beach,” Ramsay, with a beach, R.V., i.e., smooth and fit for a vessel’s landing-place, cf. Acts 21:5, Matthew 13:2; Matthew 13:48, John 21:4; cf. Xen., Anab., vi., 4, 4 (see Page’s note); in LXX, Jdg 5:17 A, Sir 24:14, al[421] J. Smith adds that St. Luke here again employs the correct hydrographical term, frequently used by Arrian in this sense. The traditional St. Paul’s Bay may certainly well have been the place meant (so Wendt, 1899, and Blass). On the smooth, sandy beach see Hackett, note, p. 334,) who has also visited the spot, and confirmed Smith’s view, although both admit that the former sandy beach has been worn away by the action of the sea; Smith, p. 247, 4th edition, and see also Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 341.—ἐξῶσαι τὸ πλοῖον: “to drive the ship upon it,” R.V., i.e., the beach, so Ramsay, Rendall, Breusing, Vars, Goerne, J. Smith (4th edit., p. 142); the object was not to save the ship from being destroyed, but the crew from perishing; under like circumstances the same would be done today (so Breusing, Vars), cf. Arrian, Peripl. Pont. Eux., 6. ἐξῶσαι: so in Thuc., ii., 90; viii., 104 (and see Wetstein); see also critical note on ἐκσῶσαι εἰ δύναιντο, and Burton, p. 106, and Grimm-Thayer, sub εἰ, i., 7, c., with optative, where the condition represents the mind and judgment of others …, as if the sailors had said amongst themselves ἐξώσομεν εἰ δυνάμεθα, cf. Acts 24:19.

[421] Alford’s Greek Testament.39. they knew not the land] We are not from this to suppose that none of the sailors were acquainted with the island of Malta, but that the point of the land close to which they were was unrecognised by them. When they were close in shore, and amid stormy weather, this could very well happen, as they were a long way distant from the usual harbour.

but they discovered a certain creek with a shore] Better (with R. V.) “they perceived a certain bay with a beach.” The word is used to signify such a sandy beach as might allow a ship to be run aground upon it without the danger of her immediately coming to pieces.

into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship] Better (with R. V.) “and they took counsel whether they could drive the ship upon it,” i.e. they saw that the beach was such that they had a chance of landing there, and they discussed the best way of doing so, in their present maimed condition.Acts 27:39. Τὴν γῆν, the land) which they had begun to see.—αἰγιαλὸν, the shore) which was smooth: Matthew 13:2, note [Hesychius defines αἰγιαλός as a smooth shore with sands].Verse 39. - Perceived for discovered, A.V.; bay with a beach for creek with a shore, A.V.; and they took counsel whether they could drive the ship upon it for into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship, A.V. They knew not the land. It was seven miles from the harbor of Valetta, and a part of the island not likely to have been visited by the sailors, and presenting no marked features by which they would recognize it. A certain bay with a beach; αἰγιαλόν, a level pebbly or sandy beach (Matthew 13:2; Acts 21:5; and ver. 40), as opposed to ἄκτη, a high rugged coast (τρηχεῖα ὑψηλή, etc., Homer). They took counsel whether they could drive, etc. The rendering of the A.V. is surely infinitely better than the R.V. The meaning of βουλεύομαι, both in the New Testament and in classical Greek, is frequently and properly "to determine," "to resolve" or "purpose" (see Acts 5:33; Acts 15:37, note; 2 Corinthians 1:17; and Liddell and Scott's 'Lexicon '); and the order of the words here suits the rendering of the A.V. much better than that of the R.V., which would require καὶ ἐβουλεύοντο, instead of εἰς ο}ν κ.τ.λ. The Revisionists seem to have been misled by the resemblance of Luke 14:31. Drive; ἐξῶσαι, the technical word for driving a ship ashore (Thucyd., 2:10, etc.). It only occurs in the New Testament here, and in a different sense in Acts 7:45. It is not uncommon in the LXX. as the rendering of דָּחָה and דּוּהַ (see Deuteronomy 13:3; 2 Samuel 14:13; Jeremiah 49. [LXX., 26.] 36, etc.). Bay (κόλπον)

See on bosom, Luke 6:38.

Shore (αἰγιαλὸν)

See on Matthew 13:2. Better, as Rev., beach.

They were minded (ἐβουλεύσαντο)

Better, as Rev., took counsel. See on Matthew 1:19.

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