Acts 27:41
And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmovable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.
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(41) And falling into a place where two seas met.—Better, But falling, as in contrast with the attempt described in the previous verse. At the west end of St. Paul’s Bay lies the island of Salmonetta. From their place of anchorage the crew could not have seen that it was an island, and in trying to run the ship on the beach they grounded on a mud-bank between the small island and the coast. The waves swept round the island and met on the bank, and the position of the ship was accordingly one of extreme danger, the prow imbedded in the mud, the stern exposed to the billows.

The hinder part was broken.—Better, was being broken up, the tense expressing continuous action.

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.And falling - Being carried by the wind and waves.

Into a place where two seas met - Greek: into a place of a double sea - διθάλασσον dithalasson. That is, a place which was washed on both sides by the sea. It refers properly to an isthmus, tongue of land, or a sand-bar stretching out from the mainland, and which was washed on both sides by the waves. It is evident that this was not properly an isthmus that was above the waves, but was probably a long sand-bank that stretched far out into the sea, and which they did not perceive. In endeavoring to make the harbor, they ran into this bar (sand-bank).

They ran the ship aground - Not designedly, but in endeavoring to reach the harbor, Acts 27:39.The hinder part was broken - The stern was broken or staved in. By this means the company was furnished with boards, etc., on which they were safely conveyed to shore, Acts 27:44.

41. falling into a place where two seas met—Smith thinks this refers to the channel, not more than one hundred yards broad, which separates the small island of Salmone from Malta, forming a communication between the sea inside the bay and that outside.

the fore part stuck fast, and remained immovable—"The rocks of Malta disintegrate into extremely minute particles of sand and clay, which, when acted upon by the currents or surface agitation, form a deposit of tenacious clay; but, in still waters, where these causes do not act, mud is formed; but it is only in creeks, where there are no currents, and at such a depth as to be undisturbed by the waves, that the mud occurs. A ship, therefore, impelled by the force of a gale, into a creek, with such a bottom, would strike a bottom of mud, graduating into tenacious clay, into which the fore part would fix itself, and be held fast, while the stern was exposed to the force of the waves" [Smith].

hinder part was broken—The continued action denoted by the tense here is to be noted—"was fast breaking," going to pieces.

A place where two seas met; a shoal, sand or isthmus, where the sea was on both sides of it. They were now in the greatest extremity; and God suffers them to fall into it before he sends them deliverance, that he might have the more glory by it. And falling into a place where two seas met,.... An "isthmus", on each side of which the sea ran; and which the inhabitants of Malta, as Beza says, show to this day, and call it, "la Cala de San Paulo", or the Descent of Saint Paul. The meeting of these two seas might occasion a great rippling in the sea like to a large eddy, or counter tide; and here might be a sand on which

they ran the ship aground; for this place where the two seas met, as the same annotator observes, could not be the shore itself; for otherwise, to what purpose should they cast themselves into the sea, as they afterwards did, if the head of the ship struck upon the shore, and stuck fast there? but must rather mean a shelf of sand, opposite, or near the entrance into the bay, and where the shipwreck was.

And the fore part stuck fast, and remained unmovable; so that there was no getting her off:

but the hinder part was broken by the violence of the waves; that is, the stern; by which means there were boards and broken pieces for the company to get ashore upon.

And falling into a place where {i} two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.

(i) So is an isthmus called, because the Sea touches it on both sides.

Acts 27:41. But when they had struck upon a promontory. As to περιπ., comp. on Luke 10:30.

It is altogether arbitrary to abandon the literal import of διθάλασσος, forming two seas, or having the sea on both sides, bimaris (see the passages in Wetstein), and to understand by τόπος διθάλ. a sandbank or a reef (situated after the manner of an island before the entrance of the bay). This view is supposed to be necessary on account of Acts 27:43 f., and it is asked: “quorsum enim isti in mare se projicerent, si in ipsum litus navis impegerat prora?” Calovius; compare Kuinoel. But the promontory, as is very frequently the case, jutted out with its point under the surface of the water, and was covered to so great an extent by the sea, that the ship stranding on the point was yet separated from the projecting dry part of the isthmus by a considerable surface of water; hence those stranded could only reach the dry land by swimming. Even in Dio Chrys. v. p. 83, by which the signification of reef is sought to be made good, because there τραχέα κ. διθάλαττα κ. ταινίαι (sandbanks) are placed together, διθάλ. is not to be taken otherwise than τόπος διθάλ. here.

ἐπώκειλαν] ἐποκέλλειν may be either transitive: to thrust the ship on, to cause it to strand (Herod. vi. 16, viii. 182; Thuc. iv. 26. 5), or intransitive: to strand, to be wrecked. So Thuc. viii. 102. 3; Polyb. i. 20. 15, iv. 41. 2, and see Loesner, p. 240. As τὴν ναῦν is here added (which in the intransitive view would be the accusative of more precise definition, but quite superfluous), the transitive view is that suggested by the text: they thrust the ship upon, they made it strand. Lachmann and Tischendorf, following A B* C, have ἐπέκιελαν, from ἐπικέλλω, to push to the land, navem appellere. But neither does this meaning suit, as here it is the ship going to wreck that is spoken of; nor can proof be adduced from the aorist form ἐπέκειλα (Hom. Od. ix. 138, 148, xiii. 114: ἐπέκελσα), see Bornemann. In Polyb. iv. 31. 2, ἐπικέλλοντες has been introduced by copyists’ mistake for ἐποκέλλοντες.

ἐρείσασα] having fixed itself. On ἐ̓ρείδειν, used also by the Greeks in an intransitive sense, comp. Proverbs 4:4.

ἡ δὲ πρύμνα ἐλύετο κ.τ.λ.] for the promontory had naturally the deeper water above it the farther it ran seawards, so that the stern was shattered by the power of the waves. This shipwreck was at least the fourth (2 Corinthians 11:25) which Paul suffered.Acts 27:41. περιπ. δὲ εἰς τ. διθ.: Luke 10:30, Jam 1:2, with the dative, as generally, but Arrian, περιπίπτειν εἰς τόπους πετρώδεις (Wetstein), 2Ma 6:13; 2Ma 10:4, Polyb., i., 37, i. εἰς τόπον διθ.: a bank or a ridge between two seas, which has sea on both sides; cf. Dio Chrys., 5, p. 83, where reference is made to the dangers of the sea: βραχέα καὶ διθάλαττα καὶ ταινίαι μακραὶἄπορονπαρέχουσι τὸ πέλαγος (Wetstein and Blass). Breusing, Vars and Goerne (so Blass) take the words εἰς τ. δ. to refer to a hidden ridge beneath the water, and the aorist περιπ. in contrast to the imperfect κατεῖχον seems to favour this, as expressing that they came upon a τόπ. διθ. unexpectedly, cf. Page’s note and Ramsay’s translation, “chancing on a bank between two seas”. But the latter writer adds that the περιπ. does not imply want of purpose, as ἐπώκειλαν shows, and the meaning is that while at anchor they could not see the exact character of the spot (see also C. and H.), but as they approached they found that they had lighted on the channel not more than a hundred yards in breadth between the island of Salmonetta and the mainland; this might very properly be called “a place where two seas meet,” A. and R.V., as it formed a communication between the sea within the bay and the sea outside. The adjective διθ. is as applicable to water uniting two seas, e.g., the Bosphorus, cf. Strabo, ii., 5, 12 (quoted by Smith), as to land like the Isthmus of Corinth; see J. Smith, pp. 142, 178, 4th edit., Hackett, C. and H., Lumby, Rendall, and note in Speaker’s Commentary. Breusing, p. 204, Goerne, Wendt (1899) take it of St. Paul’s Bank which lies just in front of St. Paul’s Bay, so too Vars, p; 258, for the same view and its support.—ἐπώκειλαν τὴν ναῦν: “they ran the vessel aground” (cf. J. Smith, p. 143, 4th edit.), see critical note. ἐποκέλλω and ἐπικέλλω are both used in classical Greek, but the latter is “altogether poetical” (Blass), and more usually intransitive. In Homer, Odys., ix., 148, however, we have νῆαςἐπικέλσαι, and 546, νῆα ἐκέλσαμεν (cf. adpcllere navem). Blass, Philology of the Gospels, p. 186, sees in this sudden introduction of the phrase ἐπώκειλαν τὴν ναῦν an indication that St. Luke had read his Homer, since in no other passage in the N.T. do we find the obsolete word ἡ ναῦς, the commoner expression τὸ πλοῖον occurring in this chapter no less than thirteen times. R.V. renders τὴν ναῦν “the vessel.” all other E.V[423] “the ship,” and it has been thought that the word is so changed here because that which had hitherto been a πλοῖον capable of sailing was now reduced to a mere hulk (Wordsworth, Humphry).—καὶ ἡ μὲν πρώρα ἐρείσασα: “and the prow struck,” R.V., Ramsay, this is accounted for by the peculiar nature of the bottom in St. Paul’s Bay, see J. Smith, Ramsay, Hackett, Alford, “a bottom of mud graduating into tenacious clay, into which the fore part would fix itself, and be held fast while the stern was exposed to the force of the waves”. For the verb in intransitive sense as here cf. Proverbs 4:4, cf. Æneid, v., 206 (Wetstein).—ἀσάλ.: only in Hebrews 12:8 in N.T., but σαλεύειν several times in Luke, in Gospel and Acts; in classical Greek and LXX; adverb -τως, Polyb., ix., 9, 8, cf. also Sir 29:18.—ἡ δὲ πρύμνα ἐλύετο ὑπὸ τῆς βίας: “but the stern began to break up,” R.V., marking the imperfect as distinguished from aorist ἔμεινεν, Blass, Gram., p. 186; Æn., x., 303, Cic., Att., xv., 11 (Wetstein).—βίας τῶν κυμ., see critical note, βία: four times in Acts, see on Acts 5:26, nowhere else in N.T., but frequent in LXX, Vulgate, “a vi maris,” which Breusing, p. 203, strongly endorses.

[423] English Version.41. And falling into a place where two seas met] The conjunction should here be rendered adversatively “But.” The verse goes on to describe some circumstances which defeated the intention of the sailors. Read “But lighting upon a place, &c.” This is one of the features of the narrative by which the locality can almost certainly be identified. The little island of Salmonetta forms with the Maltese coast near St Paul’s Bay exactly such a position as is here described. From the sea at a little distance, it appears as though the land were all continuous, and the current between the island and the mainland is only discovered on a nearer approach. This current by its deposits has raised a mud-bank where its force is broken by the opposing sea, and into this bank, just at the place where the current meets the sea-waves, was the ship driven, the force of the water preventing the vessel from reaching the beach just beyond. So it came to pass that though they got much nearer to the shore than at first, yet after all they had to swim for their lives.

but the hinder part was broken] Read (as R. V.) “the stern began to break up.” The verb in the orginal expresses an incomplete and gradual process. When the foreship was immoveable, the stern would also be held fast, and so be acted on by the waves with great violence and begin to go to pieces.

with the violence of the waves] The best MSS. do not represent the last three words. Of course they are to be understood, if they be not there.Acts 27:41. Εἰς τόπον διθάλασσον, to a place where two seas met) Such a place, for instance, is an oblong mound composed of sand formed into a dense mass. It is called ταινία, a ridge, “pulvinus,” a sandbank.Verse 41. - But lighting upon for and falling taro, A.V.; vessel for ship, A.V.; fore-ship for forepart, A.V.; struck for stuck fast, A.V.; stern for hinder part, A.V.; began to break up for was broken with, A.V. Where two seas met; τόπον διθάλασσον, only here, and in Dion Chrysostomus. The explanation of this "place where two seas met" is as follows: - As the ship stood at anchor in the bay on the north-east side of the island, it would have the Koura Point (Ras el-Kaura) on its left, and on entering deeper into the bay westward, the little island of Salmonetta, or Selmoon, otherwise called Gzeier, would lie on its right, and would appear to be part of the island of Malta, from which it is separated by a narrow channel about a hundred yards in width. When, however, she was just coming upon the beach for which she was making, she would come opposite to this open channel, and the sea from the north would break upon her and meet the sea on the south side of the island, where the ship was. Here, then, they ran the vessel aground. Ἐπώκειλαν, or, according to the R.T., ἐπέκειλαν, is only found here in the Bible; but it is the regular word for running a ship aground, or ashore, in classical writers. Ἐπικέλλω has exactly the same meaning. The simple verbs κἑλλω and ὀκέλλω are also both in use for running a ship to land. The foreship struck; ἐρείσασα, here only in the Bible, but very common in classical Greek. Its meaning here is not very different from its frequent medical meaning of a disease "fixing itself" and "settling" in some particular part of the body. Remained unmovable. "A ship impelled by the force of a gale into a creek with a bottom such as that laid down in Admiral Smyth's chart of St. Paul's Bay, would strike a bottom of mud graduating into tenacious clay, into which the forepart would fix itself and be held fast, whilst the stern was exposed to the force of the waves" (Smith, p. 144). Unmovable; ἀσάλεῦτος, only here and Hebrews 12:28, in the Bible; but common in Greek writers in the sense of "firm," "unmovable." Began to break up (ἐλύετο, like solvo and dissolvo in Latin). The planks were loosened and disjoined. By the violence. The R.T. omits the words τῶν κυμάτων, and so has βία alone, somewhat like ὕβρις in ver. 21.
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