Acts 27:9
Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
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(9) Because the fast was now already past.—The Fast was the Jewish Day of Atonement, which fell on the tenth of Tisri (in that year, September 24th), the seventh month of the Jewish ecclesiastical year. The sailing season with the Jews was reckoned from the Feast of Pentecost to that of Tabernacles, which fell five days after the Fast. Roman reckoning gave a somewhat wider range, sc., from the sixth day of the Ides of March to the third of the Ides of November. The manner in which St. Luke names the Fast, and not the Feast of Tabernacles, makes it probable that the time to which we are now come was between September 24th and October 1st, when the Etesian winds, which are always of the nature of equinoctial gales, would naturally be most violent. Probably, also, the date may have been fixed on St. Luke’s memory by St. Paul’s observance of the Fast. He was not likely to leave so memorable a day unregarded, however little he might care to impose its observance upon others. To keep the Feast of Tabernacles on board the ship was, of course, impossible.

Acts 27:9-12. Now when much time was spent — In making this little way, and the season of the year was so far advanced, that sailing was now dangerous — On account of the tempestuous weather usual at that season: for the fast — Of the seventh month, or anniversary expiation; was now past — And consequently winter was coming on apace. It may be proper to observe, that the fast here spoken of was the day of atonement, which was ordered to be kept on the 10th day of the 7th month, called Tisri by the Jews, and consequently must have been about the 25th of our September. Philo, in several passages quoted by Dr. Whitby in his note here, speaks of this as an ill time for sailing, as Aratus also does; and it would naturally be so, not only on account of winter approaching, but also because of the flows that are still well known in the Mediterranean. Paul admonished them — Not to leave Crete. “Even in external things,” says Bengelius, “faith exerts itself with the greatest presence of mind, and readiness of advice.” And said unto them — Namely, to the centurion and other officers; I perceive that this voyage — If it be pursued according to the present scheme you have in view; will be with hurt and much damage — Paul seems to have given them this warning, not so much because of the time of the year, and the tempests usually attending it, as by a prophetical spirit. God, intending to preserve and honour Paul in this tedious and difficult voyage, endues him with the gift of prophecy; which, when they saw it verified, could not but beget in them a great respect for him, and was probably the means of salvation to many that were in the ship with him; not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives — So it would have been; their lives would have been lost, as well as the ship and goods, had not God given the lives of all in the ship unto Paul, and saved them for his sake. See Acts 27:24. Nevertheless, the centurion believed the master — Whom he thought most experienced and best skilled in an affair of that kind. And, indeed, it is a general rule, Believe an artificer in his own art. But Paul had an extraordinary qualification, with which the centurion was not acquainted: he had supernatural light from God. And because the haven — Notwithstanding its promising name; was not commodious Ανευθετου, was unfit, and probably judged unsafe; to winter in, the more part — Of the ship’s company; advised to depart Αναχθηναι, to set sail thence; if by any means they might obtain to Phenice — A port in Crete, and not the Phenicia in Syria; and lieth toward the south-west and north-west — That is, having a double opening to these two parts.

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.When much time was spent - In sailing along the coast of Asia; in contending with the contrary winds. It is evident that when they started they had hoped to reach Italy before the dangerous time of navigating the Mediterranean should arrive. But they had been detained and embarrassed contrary to their expectation, so that they were now sailing in the most dangerous and tempestuous time of the year.

Because the fast was now already past - By the "fast" here is evidently intended the fast which occurred among the Jews on the great day of atonement. That was on the tenth of the month Tisri, which answers to a part of September and part of October. It was, therefore, the time of the autumnal equinox, and when the navigation of the Mediterranean was esteemed to be particularly dangerous, from the storms which usually occurred about that time. The ancients regarded this as a dangerous time to navigate the Mediterranean. See the proofs in Kuinoel on this place.

Paul admonished them - Paul exhorted, entreated, or persuaded them. He was somewhat accustomed to the navigation of that sea, and endeavored to persuade them not to risk the danger of sailing at that season of the year.

9, 10. when much time was spent—since leaving Cæsarea. But for unforeseen delays they might have reached the Italian coast before the stormy season.

and when sailing—the navigation of the open sea.

was now dangerous, because the fast was now … past—that of the day of atonement, answering to the end of September and beginning of October, about which time the navigation is pronounced unsafe by writers of authority. Since all hope of completing the voyage during that season was abandoned, the question next was, whether they should winter at Fair Havens, or move to Port Phenice, a harbor about forty miles to the westward. Paul assisted at the consultation and strongly urged them to winter where they were.

This fast was not any necessitated abstinence, but a religious fast, as the word here used does most commonly signify; and the article being put to it, it may well denote some eminent and known fast. We read, that amongst the Jews several fasts were observed; as the fast of the fourth month, of the fifth month, of the seventh, and of the tenth month, Zechariah 8:19. But that of the seventh month did far exceed them all, it being the day in which the priest was to make an atonement for the people; and they were strictly commanded to afflict their souls in it, Leviticus 16:29 23:27. (Thus when we look up to him whom by our sins we have pierced, we must mourn, Zechariah 12:10) Now this fast was to be observed on the tenth day of Tisri, or their seventh month (which is made up of part of September and part of October); and then this day, which might well be called the fast, fell about the beginning of October; after which time, until March, they did not usually venture on the seas, especially their ships not being so able to bear a storm as ours are, and the art of navigation being not yet in any reasonable degree found out amongst them.

Now when much time was spent,.... In sailing against the wind, or by staying at the Fair Havens; for so the Syriac version renders it, "where we stayed a long time"; and the Ethiopic version, "and there we remained many days": it follows,

and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past; the Syriac version reads, "the fast of the Jews"; this was the day of atonement, which was the grand fast of the Jews, on which day they afflicted their souls, Leviticus 23:27 in memory of the worshipping of the golden calf; on that day they neither eat nor drink, nor do any work, neither do they wash, nor are they anointed, nor do they bind on their shoes, or make use of the marriage bed; nor do they read anything but sorrowful things, as the Lamentations of Jeremiah, until the setting of the sun, and the rising of the stars; and hence this day is called by them , "the day of fasting", and , "the great fast, and the day of the fast of atonement, and the fast of the atonement" (k): now this day was on the 10th of the month Tisri, which answers to the latter part of our September, and the former part of October; so that it was now Michaelmas time, when winter was coming on, and sailing began to be dangerous; about this time of the year the Pleiades set, which brings on tempestuous weather, and unfit for sailing:

Paul admonished them, or gave them some advice to continue where they were.

(k) Vid. Schindler. Lex. Pentaglott. p. 890. & Maimon. Shebitat Ashur, c. 1. sect. 1, 4, 5, 6. & Misa. Yoma, c. 8. sect. 1.

{2} Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the {b} fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,

(2) God's providence does not take away the causes which God uses as means, but rather orders and disposes their right use, even when he reveals an extraordinary issue.

(b) This refers to the Jews fast which they kept in the feast of expiation, as we read in Le 23:17, which fell in the seventh month which we call October, and is not good for navigating or sailing.

Acts 27:9. Ἱκανοῦ δὲ χρ. διαγ.] namely, since the beginning of our voyage.

πλοός] See on this late form, instead of πλοῦ, Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 453, Paralip. p. 173.

διὰ τὸ καὶ τ. νηστείαν ἤδη παρελ.] because also (even) the fasting was already past.[170] The νηστεία (κατʼ ἐξοχήν) is the fasting of the great day of atonement, which occurred on the 10th of Tisri (Leviticus 16:29 ff; Leviticus 23:26 ff.). It was thus already after the autumnal equinox, when navigation, which now became dangerous (ἐπισφαλ.), was usually closed. See Wetstein.

παρῄνει ὁ Π.] he had experience enough for such a counsel (2 Corinthians 11:25).

[170] According to Bleek and de Wette, this Jewish definition of time, as well as that contained in Acts 20:6, betrays a Jewish-Christian author. But the definitions of the Jewish calendar were generally, and very naturally, adopted in the apostolic church. Comp. Schneckenburger, p. 18.

Acts 27:9. ἱκανοῦ δὲ χρ. γεν.: not since the commencement of the voyage (as Meyer), but since they lay weather-bound. Wendt (1899) agrees with Meyer as against Weiss and Ramsay, on the ground that there is no ἐκεῖ, so Hackett.—ἐπισ. τοῦ πλοός: “terminus proprie nauticus,” Klostermann, Vindiciæ Lucanæ, J. Smith, p. 84, who refers to Jul. Pollux, i., 105, although the adjective was not distinctively so. It is only used by St. Luke, and although it is frequently employed by medical writers, it is found also in Plato, Polybius, Plutarch (cf. also Wis 9:14, and for the adverb Acts 4:4). τοῦ πλοός: “the voyage,” R.V., but perhaps “sailing,” A.V., is best, so Ramsay—the dangerous season for sailing had commenced; in the next verse = “voyage,” i.e., to Rome (Alford); only in Luke, cf. Luke 21:7, on the form of the genitive see Winer-Schmiedel, p. 84, cf. 1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:19, 2 Thessalonians 2:2. The dangerous season was reckoned from 14th September to 11th November, and from 11th November to 5th March all navigation was discontinued; see Blass, in loco, and Ramsay, Saint Paul, p. 322; according to Hesiod, Works and Days, 619, navigation ceased after the setting of the Pleiades about 20th October. The Jewish period for navigation ended 28th September.—διὰ τὸ καὶ τὴν νηστείαν ἤδη παρεληλυθέναι: the mention of the fact that the Fast, i.e., the Great Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16:29, Jos., Ant., xiv., 16, 4, was over, Tisri the 10th, made the danger more apparent. According to Mr. Turner, “Chronology,” Hastings’ B.D., the great Fast on Tisri 10 in 58 A.D. fell circa 15th September, so that the dangerous sailing season would have just commenced. In A.D. 59, the date preferred by Ramsay, the Fast would be on 5th October. Starting from the view that a considerably later point of time than Tisri 10 is implied, cf. Acts 28:11, various attempts have been made to interpret νηστεία differently, and it has been referred to the Athenian festival of the Thesmophoria, the third day of which was so called; or to some nautical mode of expression not elsewhere employed equivalent to extremum autumni, but all such attempts are based upon no authority (Zöckler, in loco), and there can be no doubt that the expression “the Fast” κατʼ ἐξοχήν refers to the Jewish Fast as above. St. Paul usually reckoned after the Jewish calendar, 1 Corinthians 16:8, and as Wendt observes there is nothing strange in the fact that his travel-companion should also so reckon, cf. Acts 20:6 above, even if he was a Gentile Christian, an observation to be noted in face of Schmiedel’s recent arguments against the Lucan authorship, Encycl. Biblica, p. 44, 1899. The indication that St. Paul kept the Jewish Fast Day is significant.—παρήνει: “admonished,” R. and A.V., in N.T. only here, and in Acts 27:22, see note. The Apostle had sufficient experience to justify him, 2 Corinthians 11:25 (Weiss), his interposition is all an indication of the respect which he had secured: “the event Justified St. Paul’s advice,” J. Smith.

9. Now when much time was spent] Waiting for a change of wind, and in debate on what course should next be taken.

and when sailing (R. V. and the voyage) was now dangerous] It had come to be dangerous by the late season of the year. In St Paul’s day navigation both among the Jews and other nations was only attempted for a limited portion of the year.

because the fast was now already past] The fast here meant is that on the great Day of Atonement, which falls on the tenth day of Tishri, the seventh month of the Jewish year. This corresponds to a part of September and October of our calendar. So that a stormy season was to be expected.

Acts 27:9. Ἤδη, now) by reason of the time of year. The ancients were more afraid of winter in their voyages than men of our days are.—τὴν νηστείαν, the fast) The time of the year is denoted, by Metonymy [see Append.], from the fast of the seventh month, Leviticus 16:29. [The feast of atonement, of which this was the fast, answers to that portion of time which immediately precedes our vintage.—V. g.]—παρῄνει, advised) that they should not leave Crete: Acts 27:21.—ὁ Παῦλος, Paul) Paul furnishes a noble example of faith in the case even of things altogether external, accompanied with great presence of mind and dexterity of counsel putting itself forth, and stirring up others.

Verse 9. - And for now, A.V.; the voyage for when sailing, A.V.; gone by for past, A.V. Much time (ἱκανοῦ χρόνου διαγενομένου). The word ἱκανός is very frequently used by St. Luke, both in the Gospel and the Acts, for "much," "many," or "long," but the exact quantity of time, or words, or people, etc., indicated is of course relative to what might reasonably be expected in each case. Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37) drew "much" people after him; the Jews at Damascus conspired to kill Saul after "many" days were fulfilled (Acts 9:23); Paul and Barnabas abode "long time" at Iconium (Acts 14:3); Paul talked a "long" while at Tress (Acts 20:3); and they sailed slowly off the coast of Asia "many" days (ver. 7); the length, i.e. the "sufficiency" (ἱκανότης) must depend in each case upon the standard by which it is measured. Here "much time," measured by the common experience of sailing-vessels waiting for a favorable wind, may mean one or two weeks. It is more natural to apply the phrase to the time of their detention at Fair Havens, than, as Meyer and others do, to the time that elapsed since they sailed from Caesarea. The voyage was now dangerous (τοῦ πλοός, a late form for the older πλοῦ). Dangerous; ἐπισφαλοῦς, only here in the New Testament, and in Wisd. 9:14; also occasionally in classical authors, but very frequently in medical writers. The Fast. The great Jewish fast on the Day of Atonement, in the month Tisri, which fell this year on September 24 (Lewin and Farrar), probably while they were at Fair Havens. The Jews considered navigation unsafe between the Feast of Tabernacles (five days after the Day of Atonement) and the Feast of Pentecost (Lewin, vol. it. p. 192, note). It became, therefore, a very serious question what they were to do. Fair Havens was an inconvenient anchorage for the winter, and not near any large town. On the other hand, if they passed beyond the shelter of Cape Matala, which lay a few miles to the east, and where the coast of Crete suddenly trends due north, they would be exposed to the violence of the Eterian westerly wind. They called St. Paul into their counsels. Admonished them; παρήνει, only here and ver. 22. In classical Greek used especially of advice given by a speaker in a public speech. In medical writers it expresses the advice given by a physician to his patient. Acts 27:9The Fast

The great day of atonement, called "the Fast" by way of eminence. It occurred about the end of September. Navigation was considered unsafe from the beginning of November until the middle of March.

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