Acts 28
Vincent's Word Studies
And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.
They knew

The best texts read we knew: ascertained or recognized: with a reference to ver. 39.

And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.
Barbarous people

From the Roman point of view, regarding all as barbarians who spoke neither Greek nor Latin. Not necessarily uncivilized. It is equivalent to foreigners. Compare Romans 1:14; 1 Corinthians 14:11. The inhabitants of Malta were of Carthaginian descent. "Even in the present day the natives of Malta have a peculiar language, termed the Maltese, which has been proved to be essentially an Arabic dialect, with an admixture of Italian" (Gloag).

No little (οὐ τυχοῦσαν)

See on special, Acts 19:11. Rev., much better, "no common kindness."

Kindness (φιλανθρωπίαν)

See on the kindred adverb courteously, Acts 27:3.

Present rain (ὑετὸν τὸν ἐφεστῶτα)

Lit., which was upon us, or had set in. No mention of rain occurs up to this point in the narrative of the shipwreck. The tempest may thus far have been unattended with rain, but it is hardly probable.

And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
Of sticks (φρυγάνων)

Only here in New Testament. From φρύγω, to roast or parch. Hence, dry sticks.

Out of (ἐκ)

The best texts read ἀπό, by reason of.

And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.
Justice (Δίκη)


Suffereth not (οὐκ εἴασεν)

The aorist tense: did not suffer. His death is regarded as fixed by the divine decree.

And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.
The beast (τὸ θηρίον)

Luke uses the word in the same way as the medical writers, who employed it to denote venomous serpents, and particularly the viper; so much so that an antidote, made chiefly from the flesh of vipers, was termed θηριακή. A curious bit of etymological history attaches to this latter word. From it came the Latin theriaca, of which our treacle (molasses) is a corruption. Treacle, therefore, is originally a preparation of viper's flesh, and was used later of any antidote. Thus Coverdale's translation of Jeremiah 8:22 has, "There is no more treacle in Gilead." Gurnall ("Christian in Complete Armor") says: "The saints' experiences help them to a sovereign treacle made of the scorpion's own flesh (which they through Christ have slain), and that hath a virtue above all other to expel the venom of Satan's temptations from the heart." So Jeremy Taylor' "We kill the viper and make treacle of him."

Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
Swollen (πίμπρασθαι)

Only here in New Testament. The usual medical word for inflammation.

Looked (προσδοκώντων)

Occurring eleven times in Luke, and only five times in the rest of the New Testament. Frequent in medical writers, to denote expectation of the fatal result of illness.

No harm (μηδὲν ἄτοπον)

Lit., nothing out of place. The word ἄτοπος occurs three times in Luke, and only once elsewhere in the New Testament (2 Thessalonians 3:2). Used by physicians to denote something unusual in the symptoms of disease, and also something fatal or deadly as here. Rev., nothing amiss. Compare Luke 23:41; and Acts 25:5, where the best texts insert the word.

Said (ἔλεγον)

The imperfect, denoting current talk.

A god

"Observe," says Bengel, "the fickleness of human reasoning. He is either an assassin, say they, or a god. So, at one time bulls, at another stones" (Acts 14:13, Acts 14:19).

In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.
The chief man (τῷ πρώτῳ)

Official title, without reference to his rank and possessions. Though not occurring as the official designation of the governor of Malta in any ancient author, it has been found in two inscriptions discovered in the island.

And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.
Sick (συνεχόμενον)

Lit., taken or holden. See on taken, Luke 4:38.

Fever (πυρετοῖς)

Lit., fevers. This peculiarly medical use of the plural is confined to Luke in the New Testament. It denotes successive and varying attacks of fever.

Bloody flux (δυσεντερίᾳ)

Only here in New Testament. Our word dysentery is nearly a transcript of it. Hippocrates often speaks of the two complaints in combination.

Healed (ἰάσατο)

See on Luke 6:19.

So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:
Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.
Honors (τιμαῖς)

The word was applied to payments for professional services, and that fact may have influenced Luke in selecting it; but it is evidently not used in that sense here.

And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.

Answering to the ship's name in modern times. It was the image of a god, a man, a beast, or of some other object, sculptured or painted on the prow. The figure of the guardian deity was affixed to the stern.

Castor and Pollux

Known as the twin brothers and the Dioscuri, or sons of Jove. They were regarded as tutelary deities of sailors.

And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days.
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:
Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.
And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.
And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.
The centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard

The best texts omit.

And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.
Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.
But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.
For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.
I am bound (περίκειμαι)

Lit., compassed.

And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.
But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.
We desire (ἀξιοῦμεν)

Rather, we think it. Compare Acts 15:38.


See on heresies, 2 Peter 2:1.

And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
Agreed not

See on agreed together, Acts 5:9.

Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Waxed gross

See on Matthew 13:15.

Their ears are dull of hearing

Lit., with their ears they heard heavily.


See on Matthew 13:15.

Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.
And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
Hired house (μισθώματι)

Probably different from the ξενία, or lodging-place, where he resided for the first few days, perhaps as the guest of friends, though under custody, and where he received the Jews (Acts 28:23).

Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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