Acts 27:40
And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves to the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoisted up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.
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(40) And when they had taken up the anchors.—Better, And when they had cleared away (or, cut off) the anchors, they let them go into the sea. It is obvious that nothing would have been gained at such a juncture by encumbering the ship, which they were anxious to lighten as much as possible, with the weight of the four anchors. The meaning given above is accordingly more in harmony with the facts of the case as well as with the Greek, which does not warrant the insertion of the pronoun in “they committed themselves.

Loosed the rudder bands.—This was the necessary sequel to the previous operation. While the ship was anchored the two large paddle-like rudders with which ancient ships were furnished, were lifted up out of the water and lashed with ropes to the ship’s side. When the ship was got under way again, and the rudders were wanted, the bands had to be loosed, and the rudders fell into the water.

And hoised up the mainsail to the wind.—The Greek term so rendered (artemôn) is still found in Italian (artimone) and French for the largest sail of a ship. In the structure of ancient ships, however, this was the foresail, not, as with us, the mainsail. The word for wind is strictly the participle, the (breeze) that was blowing. The change of word seems to imply that there was a lull in the fury of the gale.

Made toward shore.—More accurately, were making for the beach, that which had been described in Acts 27:39.

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.Had taken up the anchors - The four anchors with which they had moored the ship, Acts 27:29. See the margin. The expression may mean that they slipped or cut their cables, and that thus they left the anchors in the sea. This is the most probable interpretation.

And loosed the rudder bands - The rudder, in navigation, is that by which a ship is steered. It is that part of the helm which consists of a piece of timber, broad at the bottom, which enters the water, and is attached by hinges to the stern-post on which it turns (Webster). But what was the precise form of the rudder among the ancients is not certainly known. Sometimes a vessel might be steered by oars. Most ships appear to have had a rudder at the prow as well as at the stern. In some instances, also, they had them on the sides. The word used here in the Greek is in the plural τῶν πηδαλίον tōn pēdalion, and it is evident that they had in this ship more than one rudder. The bands mentioned here were probably the cords or fastenings by which the rudder could be made secure to the sides of the ship, or could be raised up out of the water in a violent storm, to prevent its being carried away. And as, in the tempest, the rudders had become useless Acts 27:15, Acts 27:17, they were probably either raised out of the water, or made fast. Now that the storm was past, and they could be used again, they were loosed, and they endeavored to direct the vessel into port.

The mainsail - ἀρτέμωνα artemōna. There have been various explanations of this word. Luther translates it as "the mast." Erasmus: "the yards." Grotius, who supposes that the mainmast had been cast away Acts 27:17, thinks that this must mean "the foremast" or "the bowsprit." The word usually means the "mainsail." The Syriac and Arabic understand it of a "small sail," that was hoisted for a temporary purpose. Mr. Smith, in his work on this voyage of Paul, supposes that it was "the foresail." Others translate it "a jib." "The mainsail (foresail) being hoisted showed good judgment, though the distance was so small, as it would not only enable them to steer more correctly than without it, but would press the ship farther on upon the land, and thus enable them the more easily to get to the shore" (Penrose).

40. taken up the anchors, they committed themselves to the sea—The Margin is here evidently right, "cut the anchors (away), they left them in the sea."

loosed the rudder bands—Ancient ships were steered by two large paddles, one on each quarter. When anchored by the stern in a gale, it would be necessary to lift them out of the water and secure them by lashings or rudder bands, and to loose these when the ship was again got under way [Smith].

hoised up the mainsail—her, "the foresail," the best possible sail that be set in the circumstances. How necessary must the crew have been to execute all these movements, and how obvious the foresight which made their stay indispensable to the safety of all on board (see on [2135]Ac 27:31)!

Loosed the rudder bands; rudders is in the plural number put for the singular: or rather, in those times they having two rudders, (as by several passages amongst the ancients do appear), they were both loosed, that now they might use them to direct the ship to the best advantage in making the shore, they having been tied whilst they were adrift, or at anchor.

Hoised up the mainsail, which they had let down, or struck, Acts 27:17, and now, that they might make some use of the winds, to get nigher to the shore, they hoisted up. As God doth instruct the ploughman, Isaiah 28:26, so he teacheth the mariner, and every one in their calling. And when they had taken up the anchors,.... The four anchors they cast out of the stern, Acts 27:29 or "when they had cut the anchors", as the Syriac and Arabic versions render it; that is, had cut the cables to which the anchors were fastened:

they committed themselves unto the sea; or left them, the anchors, in the sea; or committed the ship to the sea, and themselves in it, endeavouring to steer its course to the place they had in view:

and loosed the rudder bands; by which the rudder was fastened to the ship.---The rudder, in navigation, is a piece of timber turning on hinges in the stern of a ship, and which opposing sometimes one side to the water, and sometimes another, turns or directs the vessel this way or that. The rudder of a ship is a piece of timber hung on the stern posts, by four or five iron hooks, called "pintles", serving as it were for the bridle of a ship, to turn her about at the pleasure of the steersman.---The rudder being perpendicular, and without side the ship, another piece of timber is fitted into it at right angles, which comes into the ship, by which the rudder is managed and directed: this latter is properly called the "helm" or "tiller", and sometimes, though improperly, the rudder itself.---A narrow rudder is best for a ship's sailing, provided she can feel it; that is, be guided and turned by it, for a broad rudder will hold much water when the helm is put over to any side; yet if a ship has a fat quarter, so that the water cannot come quick and strong to her rudder, she will require a broad rudder.---The aftmost part of the rudder is called the "rake" of the rudder. This is the account of a rudder with the moderns (z): with the ancients, the parts of the rudder were these, the "clavus" or "helm", by which the rudder was governed; the pole of it; the wings or the two breadths of it, which were as wings, and the handle: some ships had but one rudder, most had two, and some three, and some four; those that had but one, seemed to have it in the middle of the stern; and those that had two had them on the sides, not far from the middle; and there were some ships which had them not only in the stern, but also in the prow or head of the ship (a): that the ancients had sometimes more rudders than one in a ship, has been abundantly proved by Bochartus and Scheherus; take only an instance or two. The Carthaginians, as (b) Aelianus reports, decreed two governors to every ship saying it was absurd that it should have , "two rudders", and that he who was most useful to the sailors, and had the government of the ship, should be alone, and without successor and companion; and so Apuleius (c) says, the ship in which we were carried was shook by various storms and tempests, "utroque regimine amisso", and having lost both its rudders, sunk at the precipice. Some of the Indian ships have three rudders; that of Philopator's had four rudders: how many this ship had, in which the apostle was, cannot be said: but this is certain, that it had more than one; for the words are, "and loosed the bands of the rudders"; and since it is a clear case, that the ships of the ancients had more rudders than one to each, there is no need to suppose a figure in the text, and that the plural number is used for the singular, as Beza thinks: and "the bands" of them were those by which they were fastened; and they were "loosed", as Schefferus conjectures, because when the anchors were cast out, they fastened the rudders higher, that they might not be broken by the dashing of the waves, especially as they were in a storm; but now having taken up the anchors, they loosed these bands: and certain it is, that not only oars but rudders were fastened with cords or ropes to the ship (d): according to the notion of modern navigation, the rudder band might be thought to be the rope which is turned round the tiller, and made fast to the ship's side, and as the tiller is moved, "surges" round the end of the tiller; and very likely might be made fast, when the ship was at anchor, on one side, to keep the ship from breaking her sheer; but now being loosed, and the helm "a midship", and the mainsail hoisted, the ship ran to the shore before the wind.

And hoised up the main sail to the wind: which they had before struck or let down, Acts 27:17. The main sail is that which is upon the main mast. The Ethiopic version renders it, "the great sail". The great sail was that which is called "acatius", which is another word than is here used: so Isidore (e) says "acatius" is the greatest sail, and is placed in the middle of the ship; "epidromos" is the next in size, and is placed at the stern; and "dolon" is the least sail, and is fixed at the head: and both the Syriac and Arabic versions here render it, "the little sail"; and which sailors put up when they are afraid to use large sails, which would carry too much wind; but the word here used is "artemo", which the above writer says is commended rather for the sake of directing the ship, than for swiftness. And this seems to be the use that was now made of it, namely, to guide the ship into the creek or bay.

And made toward the shore; which was in the creek, or to the haven in it.

(z) Chambers's Cyclopaedia in the word "rudder". (a) Scheffer. de Militia Navali Vetorum, l. 2. c. 5. p. 145, 146. (b) Var Hist. l. 9. c. 40. (c) Metamorphos. l. 2. p. 24. (d) Vegetus apud Scheffer. de Militia Navali Veterum, l. 2. c. 5. p. 139. (e) Originum, l. 19. c. 3. p. 163.

And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.
Acts 27:40. A vivid description of the stirring activity now put forth in making every effort to reach the shore. 1. They cut the (four) anchors round about (περιελόντες), and let them fall into the sea, in order neither to lose time nor to burden the ship with their weight. 2. At the same time they loosened the bands, with which they had fastened the rudders to the ship in order to secure them while the ship lay at anchor from the violence of the waves, for the purpose of now using them in moving on. 3. They spread the top-sail before the wind, and thus took their course (κατεῖχον) for the beach (εἰς τὸν αἰγιαλόν).

εἴων] is to be referred to the ἀγκύρας, which they let go by cutting, so that they fell into the sea. Arbitrarily, following the Vulgate (committebant se), Luther, Beza, Grotius take it as “εἴων τὸ πλοῖον ἰέναι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν.”

That τῶν πηδαλίων is not to be taken for the singular, but that larger ships had two rudders (Aelian, V. H. ix. 40) managed by one steersman, see Smith, p. 9, also Scheffer, de milit. nav. ii. 5; Boeckh, Urkunden, p. 125.

ὁ ἀρτέμων] not elsewhere occurring in Greek writers as part of a ship, is most probably explained of the top-gallant-sail placed high on the mast. See especially Scheffer, de milit. nav. ii. 5; Forcellini, Thes. I. p. 231. Labeo in Jabolen. Dig. lib. 1. tit. 16, leg. 242, points to this view: “Malum navis esse partem, artemonem autem non esse, Labeo ait,” in which words he objects to the confounding of the artemon with the mast: the mast constituted an integral part of the ship, but the artemon did not, because it was fastened to the mast. Luther’s translation: “mast” [Segelbaum], is therefore certainly incorrect. Grotius, Heumann, Rosenmüller, and others, including Smith, explain it of “the small sail at the prow of the ship.” In this they assume that the mast had already been lowered; but this is entirely arbitrary, as Luke, although he relates every particular so expressly, has never mentioned this (comp. on Acts 27:17). Besides, we cannot see why this sail should not have been called by its technical name δόλων, Polyb. xvi. 15. 2; Diod. xx. 61; Pollux, i. 91; Liv. xxxvi. 44, xxxvii. 30; Isidor. Orig. Acts 19:3; Procop. Bell. Vandal. i. 17. Hadrianus, Junius, Alberti, Wolf, and de Wette understand the mizzen-sail at the stern, which indeed bears that name in the present day (Italian, artimone; French, voile d’artimon; see Baysius, de re nav. p. 121), but for this ἐπίδρομου, Pollux i. 91, is well known to be the old technical name.

τῇ πνεούσῃ] sc. αὔρᾳ, has raised itself quite to the position of a substantive. See examples in Bos, Ell., ed. Schaefer, pp. 32, 40. The dative indicates the reference; they hoisted up the sail for the breeze, so that the wind now swelled it from behind. For examples of ἐπαίρειν, for hoisting up and thereby expanding the sail, and for κατέχειν, to steer towards, see Kypke, II. p. 144.Acts 27:40. καὶ τὰς ἀγκ. περιελόντες: “and casting off the anchors,” R.V., cf. Acts 27:20 for the same verb, so that the meaning cannot be as A.V., following Vulgate, “having taken up”; in fact it is the very reverse. The sailors loosed the cables of the anchors which were fastened within the ship, that they might fall off into the sea (Blass); Breusing and Vars compare Xen., Hell., xvi., 21, τὰς ἀγκύρας ἀποκόπτοντες = τὰ σχοινία τῶν ἀγκυρῶν.—εἴων εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν: “they left them (the anchors) in the sea,” R.V., relinquebant, Blass; so Breusing, Vars, Goerne, as against A.V., and Vulgate, committebant se, or Luther’s rendering (Beza and Grotius), εἴων τὸ πλοῖον ἰέναι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν. Grimm-Thayer renders “they let down into the sea,” i.e., abandoned, which gives better the force of εἰς than regarding it simply as = ἐν.—ἅμα: “at the same time,” R.V., “simul laxantes,” Vulgate, “loosing withal,” Rhem., but in no other E.V[422] (Speaker’s Commentary).—τὰς ζευκτ. τῶν πηδαλίων: the bands of the rudders, the fastenings of the rudders, i.e., the two paddle-rudders with which Greek and Roman ships were supplied, one on each quarter, C. and H. and J. Smith, p. 183, 4th edition, these rudders had been lifted from the water and lashed up while the ship was anchored by the stern (see Breusing’s description, p. 98, cf. Eur., Hel., 1536: πηδάλια ζεύγλαισι παρακαθίετο), but the rudders were wanted when the ship again got under weigh.—τῇ πνεούσῃ, sc. αὔρᾳ.—ἐπάραντες: technical word for spreading out the sail, opposite to ὑφίεσθαι.—κατεῖχον εἰς τὸν αἰγ.: “they made for the beach,” R.V., in order to land, cf. Xen., Hell., ii., 1, 29; others take it as meaning to check the ship’s headway, but better, to hold or head the ship, Herod., vii. 59, 188, so Grimm-Thayer, sub v., sc. τὴν ναῦν, whilst others take the verb intransitively as above in R.V.—τὸν ἀρτέμονα: “the foresail,” R.V., Ramsay, J. Smith. The word has been interpreted by various writers as meaning nearly every sail which a vessel carries. If the interpretation of Acts 27:17 is correct, it could not mean the mainsail as A.V. Others apply it to the stern-sail, which bears the name to-day (Italian, artimone; French, voile d’artimon), but to set this sail would have been the most foolish thing they could have done, so Vars, Breusing. The word is found only here for the foresail, and its meaning is fixed by the fact that no other sail could be so well used by sailors under the circumstances, see Breusing, p. 79, J. Smith, pp. 141 and 193 ff., 4th edit. In his edition, 1899, Wendt thinks it probable that the sail here meant is otherwise called δόλων, but see J. Smith, p. 200, 4th edit. In his former edition he preferred to interpret it of the topsail (Meyer, Weiss, Zöckler, Baumgarten), but Breusing, p. xii., points out that only in the sixteenth century were topsails introduced; see also Vars, p. 93.

[422] English Version.40. And when they had taken up the anchors] The verb in the original implies that they cast loose all the anchors round about the stern of the vessel where they had laid them out. So the R. V. rightly gives “And casting off the anchors.” When they had thrown overboard a load of corn, they would have no wish to encumber themselves with the weight of the anchors or to take the trouble of hauling them up.

they committed themselves unto the sea] The italics of the A. V. shew that “themselves” is unrepresented in the original. It is far better to refer the verb to the anchors already mentioned, and render (with R. V.) “they left them in the sea.”

and loosed the rudder bands] The original has an adverb which is feebly represented by the conjunction of the A. V. Read (as R. V.) “at the same time loosing,” &c. The rudders, of which the ancient ships had two, had been made fast, and raised out of the water, when the anchors were laid out in the stern. Now that an attempt is to be made to steer the ship toward the beach they are let down again into the water.

and hoised up the mainsail] The Gk. Word “artemon” here used, was in old times the name given to the “foresail” of the vessel, and so it should be rendered here. Cognate words are now employed for the larger sails of vessels in the Mediterranean, but the “foresail” was all they here had left.

toward shore] i.e. toward this beach, which seemed a suitable place where they might try to land.Acts 27:40. Εἴως, they committed, let go) viz. the ship, and themselves with it.—τὰς ζευκτηρίας τῶν πηδαλίων) “The rudders are attached to the ship by certain bands. When these are loosened, then the rudders go down much into the waters, and by their weight keep back the ship, so as not to be upset by the winds.”—Grotius.—τὸν ἀρτέμονα) “The artemon is that smaller sail which is wont to be attached to larger sails, whence also it takes its name” [Th. ἀρτάω, I hang to, fasten to].—Gyrald. de Navig., T. I. Op., f. 604, where he refutes many errors concerning the artemon.—τῇ πνεούσῃ) viz. αὔρᾳ. This is construed in the Ablative with the verb κατεῖχον, as the old Engl. Vers. [but authorised Engl. Vers., “They hoised up the mainsail to the wind”] and Heinsius. It was by the sail, not by the oars, that they were now aiming to reach the shore.Verse 40. - Casting off for when they had taken up, A.V.; they left them in the sea for they committed themselves unto the sea, A.V.; at the same time loosing the bands of the rudders for and loosed the rudder bands, A.V.; hoisting for hoised, A.V.; foresail for mainsail, A.V.; for the beach for toward shore, A.V. This verse, so obscure before, has been made intelligible by the masterly labors of Smith, of Jordan Hill. We will first explain the separate words. Casting off (περιελόντες). The verb περριαιρέω occurs in ver. 20; in 2 Corinthians 3:16; and in Hebrews 10:11; and in all those passages is rendered "taken away." So also in the LXX., where it is of frequent use, it means "take away," "put away," "remove," and the like. In classical Greek it means to "take away," "take off," "strip off." Here, then, applied to the anchors which were firmly embedded in the very strong clay at the bottom of the sea off Koura Point, περιελόντες τὰς ἀγκύρας means "putting away" or "casting off" the anchors by cutting the cables which fastened them to the ship, and, as it follows, leaving them in the sea, or, more literally, giving them up, dismissing them into the sea (εἴων εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν); comp. Acts 5:38. Loosing the bands of the rudders. "The ships of the Greeks and Romans, like those of the early Northmen were not steered by a single rudder, but by two paddle-rudders" (Howson, p. 310. See too an illustration from an ancient painting found at Herculaneum, in which the two paddle-rudders are very distinctly seen, at p. 346; and another illustration in Lewin, vol. it. p. 204, showing the two rudders and the foresail). These paddle-rudders had been hoisted up and lashed, lest they should foul the anchors at the stern. But now, when the free use of them was absolutely necessary to steer the ship toward the beach, they unloosed the lashings, i.e. "the bands of the rudders," and at the same time they hoisted up the foresail. The foresail; τὸν ἀρτέμονα, a word found only here in this sense, but used in Vitruvius for a "pulley," and so explained in Ducange. But artimon was till recently used in Venice and Genoa as the name of the large sail of a vessel. In the Middle Ages artimonium was the "foremast," mat de prone; but it was also used of the foresail," Velum naris breve, quod quia melius levari potest, in summo periculo extenditur" (Ducange). They hoisted the foresail both to give them sufficient way to run on to the beach, and to give precision to their steering. (For a further account of the ἀρτεμών, or foresail, see Smith, of Jordan Hill.) Taken up (περιελόντες)

Wrong. The word means to remove, and refers here to cutting the anchor-cables, or casting off, as Rev.

Committed themselves (εἴων)

Wrong. The reference is to the anchors. Rev., correctly, left them in the sea.

Rudder-bands (ζευκτηρίας τῶν πηδαλίων)

Lit., the bands of the rudders. The larger ships had two rudders, like broad oars or paddles, joined together by a pole, and managed by one steersman. They could be pulled up and fastened with bands to the ship; as was done in this ease, probably to avoid fouling the anchors when they were cast out of the stern. The bands were now loosened, in order that the ship might be driven forward.

Mainsail (ἀρτέμωνα)

Only here in New Testament. Probably the foresail. So Rev.

Made toward (κατεῖχον)

Lit., held; bore down for.

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