Acts 28:13
And from there we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:
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(13) From thence we fetched a compass.—The phrase, now somewhat obsolete, was formerly in common use for a circuitous route by land or sea from one point to another. (Comp. 2Samuel 5:23; 2Kings 3:9, and—

“For ‘tis his custom, like a creeping fool,

To fetch a compass of a mile about, “

in Heywood’s Fair Maid of the Exchange, ii. 3.) It is found in most of the English versions, but Wiclif gives “we sailed about,” and the Rhemish, “compassing by the shore.” The latter, however, hardly expresses the fact, which was that the wind being probably from the west, they were compelled to tack so as to stand out from the shore to catch the breeze, instead of coasting.

Came to Rhegium.—This town, now Reggio, was in Italy, on the southern opening of the Straits of Messina. Ships from Alexandria to Italy commonly touched there, and Suetonius relates that the Emperor Titus, taking the same course as St. Paul, put in there on his way from Judæa to Puteoli, and thence to Rome. Caligula began the construction of a harbour at Rhegium for the corn-ships of Egypt; but this work, which the Jewish historian notes as the one “great and kingly undertaking” of his reign, was left unfinished (Ant. xix. 2, § 5).

The south wind blew.—More accurately, when a breeze from, the south had sprung, the form of the Greek verb implying a change of wind. The south wind was, of course, directly in their favour, and they sailed without danger between the famous rocks of Scylla and the whirlpool of Charybdis.

We came the next day to Puteoli.—As the distance was about one hundred and eighty miles, the ship was clearly making good way before the wind. Puteoli (more anciently Dikæarchia, now Pozzuoli) lies in a sheltered recess, forming the northern part of the Bay of Naples. It was at this time the chief port of Rome, and was, in particular, the great emporium for the corn ships of Alexandria, upon which the people of Rome largely depended for their food, and the arrival of which was accordingly eagerly welcomed. A pier on twenty-five arches was thrown out into the sea for the protection of the harbour. It may be noted further that but a few months prior to St. Paul’s arrival it had been raised to the dignity of a colonia (Tac. Ann. xiv. 27). It is hardly necessary to describe the well-known beauties of the bay, but the reader may be reminded that as the ship entered it the eye of St. Paul must have rested on the point of Misenum, to the north, behind which was stationed the imperial fleet; on Vesuvius, to the south; on the town of Neapolis (= New-town), now Naples, which had taken the place of the old Parthenope; on the islands of Capreæ, Ischia, and Procida.

Acts 28:13-15. From thence we fetched a compass — Coasted round the eastern shore of Sicily; and came to Rhegium — A town on the Italian shore, opposite to Messina in Sicily; and after one day — Having a favourable gale, we pursued our voyage; and came to Puteoli — A great seaport town of Campania, not far from Naples. Here finding Christian brethren — To whom Paul was known, at least by his fame; we were desired to stay with them seven days — That they might have an opportunity of hearing Paul and conversing with him. And Julius was so good as to grant their request. After which he set out with the prisoners and soldiers for Rome, by land. And now the brethren in that city, to whom Paul was well known by his letter lately written to the Romans, hearing that he was on the road, came out to meet him — Not being ashamed of his bonds; and some of them came as far as the town of Appii Forum — Which was fifty-one miles from the city, and others to the Three Taverns, a town at the distance of thirty miles. This unlooked-for testimony of respect from the brethren at Rome, making a strong impression upon the apostle’s mind, he thanked God for it, and took courage — Finding Christ was at Rome also, and being greatly refreshed by the company and conversation of such affectionate friends. After which they all went forward to the city, where, it is supposed, they arrived in the February of A.D. 63. It is remarkable that there is no certain account by whom Christianity was planted at Rome. Probably some inhabitants of that city were at Jerusalem on the day of pentecost, (Acts 2:10,) and being then converted themselves, carried the gospel thither at their return.28:11-16 The common events of travelling are seldom worthy of being told; but the comfort of communion with the saints, and kindness shown by friends, deserve particular mention. The Christians at Rome were so far from being ashamed of Paul, or afraid of owning him, because he was a prisoner, that they were the more careful to show him respect. He had great comfort in this. And if our friends are kind to us, God puts it into their hearts, and we must give him the glory. When we see those even in strange places, who bear Christ's name, fear God, and serve him, we should lift up our hearts to heaven in thanksgiving. How many great men have made their entry into Rome, crowned and in triumph, who really were plagues to the world! But here a good man makes his entry into Rome, chained as a poor captive, who was a greater blessing to the world than any other merely a man. Is not this enough to put us for ever out of conceit with worldly favour? This may encourage God's prisoners, that he can give them favour in the eyes of those that carry them captives. When God does not soon deliver his people out of bondage, yet makes it easy to them, or them easy under it, they have reason to be thankful.We fetched a compass - We coasted about; or we sailed along the eastern side of Sicily.

And came to Rhegium - This was a city of Italy, in the kingdom of Naples, on the coast near the southwest extremity of Italy. It was nearly opposite to Messina, in Sicily. It is now called "Reggio."

The south wind - A wind favorable for their voyage.

To Puteoli - The wells. This place was celebrated for its warm baths, and from these and its springs it is supposed to have derived its name of The Wells. It is now called "Pozzuoli," and is in the campania of Naples, on the north side of the bay, and about 8 miles northwest from Naples. The town contains at present (circa 1880's) about 10,000 inhabitants.

13. from thence we fetched a compass—that is, proceeded circuitously, or tacked, working to windward probably, and availing themselves of the sinuosities of the coast, the wind not being favorable [Smith]. What follows confirms this.

and came to Rhegium—now Reggio, a seaport on the southwest point of the Italian coast, opposite the northeast point of Sicily, and at the entrance of the narrow straits of Messina.

after one day the south wind blew—a south wind having sprung up; being now favored with a fair wind, for want of which they had been obliged first to stay three days at Syracuse, and then to tack and put in for a day at Rhegium.

the next day to Puteoli—now Pozzuoli, situated on the northern part of the magnificent bay of Naples about one hundred eighty miles north of Rhegium, a distance which they might make, running before their "south wind," in about twenty-six hours. The Alexandrian corn ships enjoyed a privilege peculiar to themselves, of not being obliged to strike their topsail on landing. By this they were easily recognized as they hove in sight by the crowds that we find gathered on the shore on such occasions [Howson].

Rhegium; a city in the kingdom of Naples, over against Messina in Sicily; so called because that Sicily was believed to be thereabouts rent and plucked from the main land, unto which they held it to have been formerly joined, until by a tempest it became an island.

Puteoli is a sea town not far from Naples. And from thence we fetched a compass,.... About the isle of Sicily, from Syracuse to Pachinus, the promontory of the island:

and came to Rhegium; a city in Calabria, called by Ptolomy (k) Regium Julium; it was built, as Solinus (l) says, by the Chalcidensians, and was formerly a city of the Brutians (m); it is now called Reggio: it is said (n) to have its name from its being broken off from the main continent, for it lies in the straits of Sicily; and formerly Sicily was joined to Italy, but was separated from it by the violence of the sea at this place:

and after one day the south wind blew; they stayed one day at Rhegium, and when they departed from thence, they had a south wind, which was favourable to them: whether the apostle preached here, or no, is not certain, since his stay was so short; some Popish writers tell some idle stories about the apostle's preaching; how that the fishes came to the shore to hear him; that the grasshoppers were commanded by him to be silent, and have never been seen in that place since; that a stone pillar was set on fire by the flame of a candle, by which miracle the inhabitants present were converted and baptized; and one Stephen, that was in company, was made by him their first bishop: but in ecclesiastical history we meet with no account of any church in this place, until the fifth century; when the bishop of it, with others, subscribed a letter of Leo the First, sent into the east; and about the year 440, there was a synod of thirteen bishops convened in this place, on account of a certain ordination; and in the "seventh" century, a bishop of the church at Rhegium was present in the sixth council at Constantinople; in the "eighth", Constantine, bishop of Rhegium, was in the Nicene synod (o):

and we came the next day to Puteoli; the Syriac version adds, "a city of Italy"; it was formerly called Dicearchia (p), from the strict justice used in the government of it: it had its name of Puteoli, either "a putore", from the rankness and ill smell of the waters of it, through the "sulphur" and "alum" in them; or "a puteis", from the wells about it, the waters of which, by Pausanias, are said (q) to be so hot, as in time to melt the leaden pipes through which they flow, who calls it a town of the Tyrrhenians; by Pliny (r) it is placed in Campania, and so Jerom (s) says, Puteoli a city, a colony of Campania, the same that is called Dicearchia. Josephus (t) also speaks of it as in the same country; for he says, that Herod and Herodias both came to Dicearchia, (or Puteoli), and found Caius (the emperor) at Baiai, which is a little town in Campania, about five furlongs from Dicearchia; and he also in another (u) place says, the Italians call Dicearchia, "Potioli"; which is the same word the apostle here uses, and which is the Latin "Puteoli" corrupted; it is said to be first built by the Samians: frequent mention is made by writers (w), of "pulvis Puteolanus", the dust of Puteoli; which being touched by the sea water, hardens into a stone; and was therefore used to bank the sea, break the waves, and repel the force of them: that it was a place by the sea side, may be learned from the sea being called after its name, "mare Puteolanum" (x), the sea of Puteoli; so Apollonius Tyaneus is said (y) to sail from this place to Rome, whither he came in three days; to this port the ships of Alexandria particularly used to come, and hither persons were wont to go to take shipping for Alexandria (z); it is now called by the Italians Pozzuolo, and lies about eight miles from Naples; and according to the following story of the Jews', must be an hundred and twenty miles from Rome; who tell us (a), that

"Rabban Gamaliel, and R. Eleazar ben Azariah, and R. Joshua, and R. Akiba, went to Rome, and they heard the noise of the multitude at Rome, from Puteoli, an hundred and twenty miles:''

the story is a fable designed to signify the vast number of people at Rome, and the noise, hurry, and tumult there; but perhaps the distance between the two places may not be far from truth: and as fabulous is the account which R. Benjamin (b) gives of this place Puteoli, when he says it was called Surentum, a great city which Tzintzan Hadarezer built, when he fled for fear of David.

(k) Geograph. l. 3. c. 1.((l) Polyhistor. c. 8. (m) Mela, l. 2. c. 11. (n) Philo quod mundus, &c. p. 963. & de mundo, p. 1171. Vid. Justin. l. 4. c. 1. & Sallust. fragment. p. 147. (o) Ib. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 7. c. 9. p. 508. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 5. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 5. (p) Plin. l. 3. c. 5. (q) Pausan. Messenica vel. 1. 4. p. 285. & Arcadica vel. l. 8. p. 465. (r) Nat. Hist. l. 31. c. 2.((s) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 76. G. (t) Antiqu. l. 18. c. 8. sect. 2.((u) In Vita sua, sect. 3. p. 905. (w) Plin. l. 35. c. 13. Alex. ab Alex. l. 5. c. 9. Isidor. de origin l. 16. c. 1. p. 135. (x) A. Gell. noct. Attic. l. 7. c. 9. (y) Philostrat. Vit. Apollon. l. 7. c. 8. (z) Philo in Flaccum, p. 968. & de leg. ad Caium, p. 1018. Senec. cp. 77. (a) Echa Rabbati, fol. 59. 4. & T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 24. 1.((b) Itinerar. p. 14.

And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:
Acts 28:13. περιελθόντες: so A. and R.V., but latter in margin περιελόντες, see critical note. Ramsay also following T.R. points out that the latter reading could hardly signify more than “cast off” (“cast loose,” margin, R.V.), unnecessary here although important information in Acts 27:40, where τὰς ἀγκ. is added, and the meaning is evidently different. Ramsay renders “by tacking” (the verb referring to the frequent alteration of the ship’s course); they worked up to Rhegium by good seamanship as they could not go straight across, J. Smith, C. and H., p. 663, small edit. Mr. Lewin, St. Paul, 2, p. 736, takes a different view, and thinks that they were obliged to stand out to sea to fill their sails, and so to come to Rhegium by a circuitous sweep. R.V. renders simply “made a circuit,” so Grimm-Thayer. W.H[428], ii., p. 226, explain their rendering “weighed anchor” by the use of the verb in Acts 27:40 (but see Blass above), the elliptic employment of transitive verbs being common in Greek nautical language as in English, and by the opinion that the run from Syracuse to Rhegium could not be described as circuitous, unless the ship was thrown out by contrary winds (but see above); Mr. Rendall supports W.H[429], Mr. Page the opposite, following T.R., so Smith, p. 156, fourth edit., and see critical note above, and Wendt (1899), p. 418. A.V. “fetched a compass,” so Tyndale, which formerly meant that they made a circuit, but the phrase is now obsolete, cf. 2 Samuel 5:23, 2 Kings 3:9, same Greek verb in LXX.—Ῥήγιον: Reggio, Titus put in here on his way from Judæa to Puteoli bound for Rome, Suet., Tit., 5; and we learn from Jos., Ant., xix., 2, 5, that Caligula began to construct a harbour for the corn-ships of Egypt, although he never finished it. The place was situated at the southern entrance to the Straits of Messina, here little more than a few miles in breadth between it and the city Messina (on its name from ῥήγνυμι, because Sicily was at this point rent away from Italy, see Grimm-Thayer, sub v., and Wetstein). St. Paul was said to have visited Messina, and to have given the Christians a bishop, Acta Petri, Acta Pauli, Lipsius, p. ix. (Zöckler). The coins show us that here too the Dioscuri were the patron deities.—κατην. only in Luke and Paul, see Acts 16:1, cf. 2Ma 4:44.—ἐπιγ.: “a south wind sprang up,” R.V., here only in N.T., cf. Thuc., iii., 74, iv., 30; Xen., Hell., iii., 2, 17, oborto Austro, Blass, or it may mean coming after or in succession to, ἐπί, the previous adverse wind.—δευτεραῖοι, cf. πεμπταῖοι, Acts 20:6, Blass in [430], John 11:39, Php 3:5, so in classical Greek. The distance is about 180 miles, and J. Smith, p. 217, 4th edit., points out that if we suppose the ship to sail at seven knots an hour the voyage would take about twenty-six hours, and St. Luke’s account is shown to be very accurate; see also Ramsay and Hackett for examples of the ancient rate of sailing quite in accordance with the facts before us.—Ποτιόλους (Pozzuoli), in earlier days Dicaearchia; its new name was Latin, probably from the mineral springs in the neighbourhood a puteis, or perhaps a putendo (C. and H.). It was not only a great landing-place for travellers from the East, but the great harbour for Alexandrian corn-ships, as also for the trade from Syria and Spain (Renan, Saint Paul, p. 558). Seneca, Epist., 77, gives us a vivid description of the interest taken in the arrival of the corn-ships, since the people of Rome depended so much upon this cargo for food. The importance gained by the place is shown by the fact that it gave its name to the bay, once the Bay of Cumæ, now the Bay of Naples, but in St. Paul’s day Sinus Puteolanus. Here St. Ignatius desired to land that he might follow the footsteps of St. Paul to Rome (Martyr., v.), see further Jos., Ant., xvii., 12, 1, xviii., 7, 2; Strabo, xvii., 1, 7, and Wetstein’s references. For modern writers cf. also Lewin, St. Paul, ii. 218, and Farrar, ii., 386; their description shows how the Apostle’s eyes now rested upon “one of the loveliest of earthly scenes”.

[428] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[429] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[430] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.13. we fet a compass] [R.V. “made a circuit”] The old English phrase of the A. V. is not uncommon, cp. 2 Samuel 5:23; 2 Kings 3:9. They made this winding course because the favourable wind, for which they had probably been waiting during the three days’ stay at Syracuse, did not come. “Fet” is the old preterite of “fetch” and is found often in the version of 1611, but has been changed by modern printers.

came to [R. V. arrived at] Rhegium] The modern Reggio situated at the southern point of Italy, on the straits of Messina. At this place Caligula designed to construct a harbour for these corn ships coming from Egypt to Italy, but his intention was never carried out.

the south wind blew] Better (with R. V.) “a south wind sprang up.” Thus by a change of wind they were able to go speedily forward, instead of tacking as they had been obliged to do from Syracuse to Rhegium.

to Puteoli] This is the modern Pozzuoli, near Naples. In St Paul’s day it was a principal port of Rome, and to it came most of the corn supply from Egypt.Acts 28:13. Περιελθόντες, coasting around) along the curve.—νότου, the south wind) An appropriate and pleasant termination to their voyage.Verse 13. - Made a circuit for fetched a compass, A.V.; arrived at for came to, A.V.; a south for the south, A.V.; sprang up for blew, A.V.; on the second day we came for we came the next day, A.V. We made a circuit; περιελθόντες. St. Luke only uses this word in one other passage, Acts 19:13," The strolling [or, 'vagabond'] Jews;" and it has the same sense of "wandering" in the only other passages where it occurs in the New Testament (1 Timothy 5:13; Hebrews 11:37). If it is the right reading here, the meaning must be "tacking," the wind not allowing them to sail in a direct course. "I am inclined to suppose that the wind was north-west, and that they worked to windward, availing themselves of the sinuosities of the coast. But with this wind they could not proceed through the Straits of Messina .... They were, therefore, obliged to put into Rhegium But after one day the wind became fair (from the south), and on the following day they arrived at Puteoli, having accomplished about one hundred and eighty nautical miles in less than two days" (Smith, p. 156). But Meyer explains it, "after we had come round," viz. from Syracuse, round the eastern coast of Sicily. Lewin thinks they had to stand out to sea to catch the wind, and so arrived at Rhegium by a circuitous course. The other reading is περιελόντες, as in Acts 27:40; but this seems to give no proper sense here. A south wind sprang up. The force of the preposition in ἐπιγενομένου shows that there was a change of wind. The south wind would, of course, be a very favorable one for sailing from Reggio to Puzzuoli. Hobart remarks of ἐπιγίνεσθαι (which is also found in Acts 27:27, according to some good manuscripts) that it "was a favorite medical word constantly employed to denote the coming on of an attack of illness." It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but is common in Diodorus Siculus, Xenophon, Herodotus, Thucydides, etc., for the coming on of a storm, wind (adverse or favorable), or any other change. On the second day; δευτεραῖοι. This particular numeral occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but the analogous τεταρταῖος is used in John 11:39. And Herodotus has τριταῖος ἀφίκετο, "he went away on the third day." Τριταῖος is also common in medical writers with πυρετός, a tertian ague, a fever that recurs on the third day; τεταρταῖος, a quartan fever; πεμπταῖος, one recurring on the fifth day; ἑβδομαῖος, on the seventh day; ἐνναταῖος, on the ninth day. The forms δεκαταῖος πεντηκοσταῖος, etc., "doing anything on the tenth, the fiftieth day," also occur. Puteoli; now Puzzuoli. The Italian port to which ships from Alexandria usually came. Smith quotes a passage from Seneca (Epist., 77) describing the arrival of the Alexandrian wheat-ships at Puteoli. The whole population of Puteoli went out to see them sail into harbor with their topsails (supparum), which they alone were allowed to carry, in order to hasten their arrival (p. 157), so important to Italy was the corn trade with Alexandria.
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