Acts 27:4
And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
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(4) We sailed under Cyprus . . .—Had the wind been favourable, the ship would naturally have taken the direct course from Sidon to Mysia, leaving Cyprus on the right, as in his previous voyage St. Paul had sailed from Patara to Tyre (Acts 21:1). As it was, the wind probably being from the north-west, they made for the channel between Cyprus and Cilicia, and, sailing close under the lee of the long, projecting east coast of the island from Salamis to the promontory of Dinaretium (Capo Andrea), were thus sheltered.

27:1-11 It was determined by the counsel of God, before it was determined by the counsel of Festus, that Paul should go to Rome; for God had work for him to do there. The course they steered, and the places they touched at, are here set down. And God here encourages those who suffer for him, to trust in him; for he can put it into the hearts of those to befriend them, from whom they least expect it. Sailors must make the best of the wind: and so must we all in our passage over the ocean of this world. When the winds are contrary, yet we must be getting forward as well as we can. Many who are not driven backward by cross providences, do not get forward by favourable providences. And many real Christians complain as to the concerns of their souls, that they have much ado to keep their ground. Every fair haven is not a safe haven. Many show respect to good ministers, who will not take their advice. But the event will convince sinners of the vanity of their hopes, and the folly of their conduct.We sailed under Cyprus - For an account of Cyprus, see the notes on Acts 4:36. By sailing "under Cyprus" is meant that they sailed along its coasts; they kept near to it; they thus endeavored to break off the violent winds. Instead of steering a direct course in the open sea, which would have exposed them to violent opposing winds, they kept near this large island, so that it was between them and the westerly winds. The force of the wind was thus broken, and the voyage was rendered less difficult and dangerous. They went between Cyprus and Asia Minor, leaving Cyprus to the left. A sailor would express the idea by saying that they sailed under the lee of Cyprus. Had it not been for the strong western winds, they would have left it on the right.

The winds were contrary - Were from the west, or southwest, which thus prevented their pursuing a direct course.

4. when we had launched—"set sail."

from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary—The wind blowing from the westward, probably with a touch of the north, which was adverse, they sailed under the lee of Cyprus, keeping it on their left, and steering between it and the mainland of Phœnicia.

Launched; or put to sea.

Cyprus; a noted island in the Mediterranean Sea, of which we read, Acts 11:19 13:4. Their nearest way from Sidon to Myra had been to have left Cyprus on the right hand, but by reason of the winds they were forced to go almost round about the island, leaving it on the left hand.

And when we had launched from thence,.... From Sidon:

we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary; that is, they sailed below the island of Cyprus; of which see Acts 4:36 whereas if the wind had been right for them, they would have sailed above the island; leaving it on the right hand, in a straight course to Myra; but now they were obliged to go below it, leaving it on the left hand, going in part about it, through the seas of Cilicia and Pamphylia to Lycia, as follows.

And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
Acts 27:4-5. Ὑπεπλεύσ. τ. Κύπρον] We sailed under Cyprus, so that we remained near the shore (elevated above the level of the sea), because the (shifting) winds were contrary, and therefore made a withdrawal to a distance from the (northern) shore not advisable.

κατὰ τ. Κιλίκ.] along. Just so Acts 27:7, κατὰ Σαλμώνην; comp. Acts 27:2.

Μύρα] or, as Lachmann, following B, reads, Μύῤῥα (it is neuter, yet the feminine form was also used, see Steph. Byz. s.v.), was a seaport of Lycia, only twenty stadia from the coast (Strabo, xiv. p. 981). Forbig. Geogr. II. p. 256. The readings Λύστρα, or Λύστραν (A א, Copt. Vulg. Fathers), and Σμύρναν (31, Beda), are explained from want of acquaintance with that name of a town.

Acts 27:4. ὑπεπλεύσαμεν τὴν Κ.: “we sailed under the lee of Cyprus,” R.V. So Wetstein with whom James Smith is in agreement, i.e., to the east of the island, as was usual for ships westward bound, to avoid the prevalent west winds. Otherwise the direct course would have been to make for Patara in Lycia across the open sea to the south-west of Cyprus (cf. Acts 21:1-3, where Paul makes a direct run from Patara to the Syrian coast (Ramsay, Goerne)).

4. And when we had launched from thence] R. V. “And putting to sea from thence.” “Launch” has become a little restricted in meaning in modern English, but compare, for the sense, Christ’s words to Peter (Luke 5:4), “Launch out into the deep.”

we sailed under Cyprus] i.e. between Cyprus and the mainland, so as to have the shelter of the island on their left to protect them from the contrary winds. R. V. “under the lee of Cyprus.”

Acts 27:4. Ὑπεπλεύσαμεν, we sailed under) They were wishing to pass by the southern part of Cyprus: they passed the eastern part at no great distance. The ὑπο here has the same force in the compound as in Acts 27:7; Acts 27:16.

Verse 4. - Putting to sea (ἀνάχθεντες, see ver. 3, note) for when we had launched, A.V.; under the lee of for under, A.V. We sailed under the lee of; ὑπεπλεύσαμεν, only here and ver. 7. A nautical term, very rarely met with. The winds were contrary. The wind apparently was westerly, the prevalent wind at that season of the year. Smith ('Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul') quotes Admiral De Saumarez as writing from near Cyprus, "The westerly winds invariably prevail at this season;" and M. De Page, a French navigator, as saying, "The winds from the west which prevail in these places (Cyprus) forced us to run to the north." This is exactly what the ship in which Paul sailed did. Instead of going in a westerly direction, and leaving Cyprus on her right, she turned due north, having Cyprus on her left. It was now late in August (Farrar, p. 363). Acts 27:4We sailed under (ὑπεπλεύσαμεν)

Rev., correctly, under the lee of: under the protection of the land.

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