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Acts 27:14-44

Context
27:14 Not long after this, a hurricane-force 1  wind called the northeaster 2  blew down from the island. 3  27:15 When the ship was caught in it 4  and could not head into 5  the wind, we gave way to it and were driven 6  along. 27:16 As we ran under the lee of 7  a small island called Cauda, 8  we were able with difficulty to get the ship’s boat 9  under control. 27:17 After the crew 10  had hoisted it aboard, 11  they used supports 12  to undergird the ship. Fearing they would run aground 13  on the Syrtis, 14  they lowered the sea anchor, 15  thus letting themselves be driven along. 27:18 The next day, because we were violently battered by the storm, 16  they began throwing the cargo overboard, 17  27:19 and on the third day they threw the ship’s gear 18  overboard with their own hands. 27:20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and a violent 19  storm continued to batter us, 20  we finally abandoned all hope of being saved. 21 

27:21 Since many of them had no desire to eat, 22  Paul 23  stood up 24  among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me 25  and not put out to sea 26  from Crete, thus avoiding 27  this damage and loss. 27:22 And now I advise 28  you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship will be lost. 29  27:23 For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong 30  and whom I serve 31  came to me 32  27:24 and said, 33  ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before 34  Caesar, 35  and God has graciously granted you the safety 36  of all who are sailing with you.’ 27:25 Therefore keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God 37  that it will be just as I have been told. 27:26 But we must 38  run aground on some island.”

27:27 When the fourteenth night had come, while we were being driven 39  across the Adriatic Sea, 40  about midnight the sailors suspected they were approaching some land. 41  27:28 They took soundings 42  and found the water was twenty fathoms 43  deep; when they had sailed a little farther 44  they took soundings again and found it was fifteen fathoms 45  deep. 27:29 Because they were afraid 46  that we would run aground on the rocky coast, 47  they threw out 48  four anchors from the stern and wished 49  for day to appear. 50  27:30 Then when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and were lowering the ship’s boat into the sea, pretending 51  that they were going to put out anchors from the bow, 27:31 Paul said to the centurion 52  and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you 53  cannot be saved.” 27:32 Then the soldiers cut the ropes 54  of the ship’s boat and let it drift away. 55 

27:33 As day was about to dawn, 56  Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have been in suspense 57  and have gone 58  without food; you have eaten nothing. 59  27:34 Therefore I urge you to take some food, for this is important 60  for your survival. 61  For not one of you will lose a hair from his head.” 27:35 After he said this, Paul 62  took bread 63  and gave thanks to God in front of them all, 64  broke 65  it, and began to eat. 27:36 So all of them were encouraged and took food themselves. 27:37 (We were in all two hundred seventy-six 66  persons on the ship.) 67  27:38 When they had eaten enough to be satisfied, 68  they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat 69  into the sea.

Paul is Shipwrecked

27:39 When day came, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed 70  a bay 71  with a beach, 72  where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 27:40 So they slipped 73  the anchors 74  and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the linkage 75  that bound the steering oars 76  together. Then they hoisted 77  the foresail 78  to the wind and steered toward 79  the beach. 27:41 But they encountered a patch of crosscurrents 80  and ran the ship aground; the bow stuck fast and could not be moved, but the stern was being broken up by the force 81  of the waves. 27:42 Now the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners 82  so that none of them would escape by swimming away. 83  27:43 But the centurion, 84  wanting to save Paul’s life, 85  prevented them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land, 86  27:44 and the rest were to follow, 87  some on planks 88  and some on pieces of the ship. 89  And in this way 90  all were brought safely to land.

1 tn Grk “a wind like a typhoon.” That is, a very violent wind like a typhoon or hurricane (BDAG 1021 s.v. τυφωνικός).

2 sn Or called Euraquilo (the actual name of the wind, a sailor’s term which was a combination of Greek and Latin). According to Strabo (Geography 1.2.21), this was a violent northern wind.

3 tn Grk “from it”; the referent (the island) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Or “was forced off course.” Grk “The ship being caught in it.” The genitive absolute construction with the participle συναρπασθέντος (sunarpasqento") has been taken temporally; it could also be translated as causal (“Because the ship was caught in it”).

5 tn BDAG 91 s.v. ἀντοφθαλμέω states, “Metaph. of a ship τοῦ πλοίου μὴ δυναμένοι ἀ. τῷ ἀνέμῳ since the ship was not able to face the wind, i.e. with its bow headed against the forces of the waves Ac 27:15.”

6 sn Caught in the violent wind, the ship was driven along. They were now out of control, at the mercy of the wind and sea.

7 tn BDAG 1042 s.v. ὑποτρέχω states, “run or sail under the lee of, nautical t.t.…Ac 27:16.” The participle ὑποδραμόντες (Jupodramonte") has been taken temporally (“as we ran under the lee of”). While this could also be translated as a participle of means (“by running…”) this might suggest the ship was still under a greater degree of control by its crew than it probably was.

8 sn Cauda. This island was located south of Crete, about 23 mi (36 km) from where they began. There are various ways to spell the island’s name (e.g., Clauda, BDAG 546 s.v. Κλαῦδα).

9 sn The ships boat was a small rowboat, normally towed behind a ship in good weather rather than stowed on board. It was used for landings, to maneuver the ship for tacking, and to lay anchors (not a lifeboat in the modern sense, although it could have served as a means of escape for some of the sailors; see v. 30). See L. Casson, Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World, 248f.

10 tn Grk “After hoisting it up, they…”; the referent (the ship’s crew) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

11 tn The participle ἄραντες (arantes) has been taken temporally.

12 tn Possibly “ropes” or “cables”; Grk “helps” (a word of uncertain meaning; probably a nautical technical term, BDAG 180 s.v. βοήθεια 2).

13 tn BDAG 308 s.v. ἐκπίπτω 2 states, “drift off course, run aground, nautical term εἴς τι on someth….on the Syrtis 27:17.”

14 tn That is, on the sandbars and shallows of the Syrtis.

sn On the Syrtis. The Syrtis was the name of two gulfs on the North African coast (modern Libya), feared greatly by sailors because of their shifting sandbars and treacherous shallows. The Syrtis here is the so-called Great Syrtis, toward Cyrenaica. It had a horrible reputation as a sailors’ graveyard (Pliny, Natural History 5.26). Josephus (J. W. 2.16.4 [2.381]) says the name alone struck terror in those who heard it. It was near the famous Scylla and Charybdis mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey.

15 tn Or perhaps “mainsail.” The meaning of this word is uncertain. BDAG 927 s.v. σκεῦος 1 has “τὸ σκεῦος Ac 27:17 seems to be the kedge or driving anchor” while C. Maurer (TDNT 7:362) notes, “The meaning in Ac. 27:17: χαλάσαντες τὸ σκεῦος, is uncertain. Prob. the ref. is not so much to taking down the sails as to throwing the draganchor overboard to lessen the speed of the ship.” In spite of this L&N 6.1 states, “In Ac 27:17, for example, the reference of σκεῦος is generally understood to be the mainsail.” A reference to the sail is highly unlikely because in a storm of the force described in Ac 27:14, the sail would have been taken down and reefed immediately, to prevent its being ripped to shreds or torn away by the gale.

16 tn BDAG 980 s.v. σφόδρῶς states, “very much, greatly, violently…σφ. χειμάζεσθαι be violently beaten by a storm Ac 27:18.”

17 tn Or “jettisoning [the cargo]” (a nautical technical term). The words “the cargo” are not in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

sn The desperation of the sailors in throwing the cargo overboard is reminiscent of Jonah 1:5. At this point they were only concerned with saving themselves.

18 tn Or “rigging,” “tackle”; Grk “the ship’s things.” Here the more abstract “gear” is preferred to “rigging” or “tackle” as a translation for σκεῦος (skeuos) because in v. 40 the sailors are still able to raise the (fore)sail, which they could not have done if the ship’s rigging or tackle had been jettisoned here.

19 tn Grk “no small storm” = a very great storm.

20 tn Grk “no small storm pressing on us.” The genitive absolute construction with the participle ἐπικειμένου (epikeimenou) has been translated as parallel to the previous genitive absolute construction (which was translated as temporal). BDAG 373 s.v. ἐπίκειμαι 2.b states, “of impersonal force confront χειμῶνος ἐπικειμένου since a storm lay upon us Ac 27:20.” L&N 14.2, “‘the stormy weather did not abate in the least’ or ‘the violent storm continued’ Ac 27:20.” To this last was added the idea of “battering” from the notion of “pressing upon” inherent in ἐπίκειμαι (epikeimai).

21 tn Grk “finally all hope that we would be saved was abandoned.” The passive construction has been converted to an active one to simplify the translation. This represents a clearly secular use of the term σῴζω (swzw) in that it refers to deliverance from the storm. At this point those on board the ship gave up hope of survival.

22 tn Or “Since they had no desire to eat for a long time.” The genitive absolute construction with the participle ὑπαρχούσης (Juparcoush") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle. It could also be translated temporally (“When many of them had no desire to eat”). The translation of πολλῆς (pollhs) as a substantized adjective referring to the people on board the ship (“many of them”) rather than a period of time (“for a long time”; so most modern versions) follows BDAG 143 s.v. ἀσιτία, which has “πολλῆς ἀ. ὑπαρχούσης since almost nobody wanted to eat because of anxiety or seasickness…Ac 27:21.” This detail indicates how turbulent things were on board the ship.

23 tn Here τότε (tote) is redundant (pleonastic) according to BDAG 1012-13 s.v. τότε 2; thus it has not been translated.

24 tn Grk “standing up…said.” The participle σταθείς (staqeis) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

25 tn L&N 36.12 has “πειθαρχήσαντάς μοι μὴ ἀνάγεσθαι ἀπὸ τῆς Κρήτης ‘you should have listened to me and not have sailed from Crete’ Ac 27:21.”

sn By saying “you should have listened to me and not put out to sea from Crete” Paul was not “rubbing it in,” but was reasserting his credibility before giving his next recommendation.

26 tn BDAG 62 s.v. ἀνάγω 4, “as a nautical t.t. (. τὴν ναῦν put a ship to sea), mid. or pass. ἀνάγεσθαι to begin to go by boat, put out to sea.”

27 tn The infinitive κερδῆσαι (kerdhsai) has been translated as resultative.

28 tn The same verb is used for Paul’s original recommendation in Ac 27:9.

29 tn Grk “except the ship.” Here “but” is used to translate the improper preposition πλήν (plhn; see BDAG 826 s.v. πλήν 2) since an exception like this, where two different categories of objects are involved (people and a ship), is more naturally expressed in contemporary English with an adversative (“but”). The words “will be lost” are also supplied for clarity.

sn The “prophecy” about the ship serves to underscore Paul’s credibility as an agent of God. Paul addressed his audience carefully and drew attention to the sovereign knowledge of God.

30 tn Grk “of whom I am.” The relative clause with its possessive was translated following L&N 15.86 s.v. παρίσταμαι.

31 tn Or “worship.”

32 tn Or “stood by me.” BDAG 778 s.v. παρίστημι/παριστάνω 2.a.α states, “approach, come τινί (to) someoneAc 9:39; 27:23.”

33 tn Grk “came to me saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

34 tn BDAG 778 s.v. παρίστημι/παριστάνω 2.a.α states, “Also as a t.t. of legal usage appear before, come beforeΚαίσαρι σε δεῖ παραστῆναι you must stand before the Emperor (as judge) Ac 27:24.” See Acts 23:11. Luke uses the verb δεῖ (dei) to describe what must occur.

35 tn Or “before the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).

36 tn Grk “God has graciously granted you all who are sailing with you.” The words “the safety of” have been supplied to clarify the meaning of the verb κεχάρισται (kecaristai) in this context.

sn The safety of all who are sailing with you. In a sense, Paul’s presence protects them all. For Luke, it serves as a picture of what the gospel does through Christ and through the one who brings the message.

37 tn BDAG 817 s.v. πιστεύω 1.c states, “w. pers. and thing added π. τινί τι believe someone with regard to someth….W. dat. of pers. and ὅτι foll…. πιστεύετέ μοι ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρί J 14:11a. Cp. 4:21; Ac 27:25.”

38 tn This is another use of δεῖ (dei) to indicate necessity (see also v. 24). Acts 28:1 shows the fulfillment of this.

39 tn Here “being driven” has been used to translate διαφέρω (diaferw) rather than “drifting,” because it is clear from the attempt to drop anchors in v. 29 that the ship is still being driven by the gale. “Drifting” implies lack of control, but not necessarily rapid movement.

40 sn The Adriatic Sea. They were now somewhere between Crete and Malta.

41 tn Grk “suspected that some land was approaching them.” BDAG 876 s.v. προσάγω 2.a states, “lit. ὑπενόουν προσάγειν τινά αὐτοῖς χώραν they suspected that land was near (lit. ‘approaching them’) Ac 27:27.” Current English idiom would speak of the ship approaching land rather than land approaching the ship.

42 tn Grk “Heaving the lead, they found.” The participle βολίσαντες (bolisante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. See also BDAG 180 s.v. βολίζω. Although the term is used twice in this verse (and thus is technically not a NT hapax legomenon), it occurs nowhere else in the NT.

43 sn A fathom is about 6 feet or just under 2 meters (originally the length of a man’s outstretched arms). This was a nautical technical term for measuring the depth of water. Here it was about 120 ft (36 m).

44 tn L&N 15.12, “βραχὺ δὲ διαστήσαντες ‘when they had gone a little farther’ Ac 27:28.”

45 sn Here the depth was about 90 ft (27 m).

46 tn Grk “fearing.” The participle φοβούμενοι (foboumenoi) has been translated as a causal adverbial participle.

47 tn Grk “against a rough [rocky] place.” L&N 79.84 has “φοβούμενοί τε μή που κατὰ τραχεῖς τόποις ἐκπέσωμεν ‘we were afraid that we would run aground on the rocky coast’ Ac 27:29.”

48 tn Grk “throwing out…they.” The participle ῥίψαντες (rJiyante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

49 tn BDAG 417 s.v. εὔχομαι 2 states, “wishτὶ for someth.…Foll. by acc. and inf….Ac 27:29.” The other possible meaning for this term, “pray,” is given in BDAG 417 s.v. 1 and employed by a number of translations (NAB, NRSV, NIV). If this meaning is adopted here, then “prayed for day to come” must be understood metaphorically to mean “prayed that they would live to see the day,” or “prayed that it would soon be day.”

50 tn Grk “and wished for day to come about.”

sn And wished for day to appear. The sailors were hoping to hold the ship in place until morning, when they could see what was happening and where they were.

51 tn BDAG 889 s.v. πρόφασις 2 states, “προφάσει ὡς under the pretext that, pretending thatAc 27:30.” In other words, some of the sailors gave up hope that such efforts would work and instead attempted to escape while pretending to help.

52 sn See the note on the word centurion in 10:1.

53 sn The pronoun you is plural in Greek.

54 sn The soldiers cut the ropes. The centurion and the soldiers were now following Paul’s advice by cutting the ropes to prevent the sailors from escaping.

55 tn Or “let it fall away.” According to BDAG 308 s.v. ἐκπίπτω 1 and 2 the meaning of the verb in this verse could be either “fall away” or “drift away.” Either meaning is acceptable, and the choice between them depends almost entirely on how one reconstructs the scene. Since cutting the boat loose would in any case result in it drifting away (whether capsized or not), the meaning “drift away” as a nautical technical term has been used here.

56 tn BDAG 160 s.v. ἄχρι 1.b.α has “. οὗ ἡμέρα ἤμελλεν γίνεσθαι until the day began to dawn 27:33.”

57 tn Or “have waited anxiously.” Grk “waiting anxiously.” The participle προσδοκῶντες (prosdokwnte") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

58 tn Or “continued.”

59 tn Grk “having eaten nothing.” The participle προσλαβόμενοι (proslabomenoi) has been translated as a finite verb (with subject “you” supplied) due to requirements of contemporary English style.

60 tn Or “necessary.” BDAG 873-74 s.v. πρός 1 has “πρ. τῆς σωτηρίας in the interest of safety Ac 27:34”; L&N 27.18 has “‘therefore, I urge you to take some food, for this is important for your deliverance’ or ‘…for your survival’ Ac 27:34.”

61 tn Or “deliverance” (‘salvation’ in a nontheological sense).

62 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

63 tn Grk “taking bread, gave thanks.” The participle λαβών (labwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

64 tn Or “before them all,” but here this could be misunderstood to indicate a temporal sequence.

65 tn Grk “and breaking it, he began.” The participle κλάσας (klasas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

66 tc One early ms (B) and an early version (sa) read “about seventy-six.” For discussion of how this variant probably arose, see F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles, 465.

67 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

68 tn Or “When they had eaten their fill.”

69 tn Or “grain.”

70 tn Or “observed,” “saw.”

71 tn Or “gulf” (BDAG 557 s.v. κόλπος 3).

72 sn A beach would refer to a smooth sandy beach suitable for landing.

73 tn That is, released. Grk “slipping…leaving.” The participles περιελόντες (perielonte") and εἴων (eiwn) have been translated as finite verbs due to requirements of contemporary English style.

74 tn The term is used of a ship’s anchor. (BDAG 12 s.v. ἄγκυρα a).

75 tn Grk “bands”; possibly “ropes.”

76 tn Or “rudders.”

77 tn Grk “hoisting…they.” The participle ἐπάραντες (eparante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

78 tn Grk “sail”; probably a reference to the foresail.

79 tn BDAG 533 s.v. κατέχω 7 states, “hold course, nautical t.t., intr….κατεῖχον εἰς τὸν αἰγιαλόν they headed for the beach Ac 27:40.”

80 tn Grk “fell upon a place of two seas.” The most common explanation for this term is that it refers to a reef or sandbar with the sea on both sides, as noted in BDAG 245 s.v. διθάλασσος: the “τόπος δ. Ac 27:41 is a semantic unit signifying a point (of land jutting out with water on both sides).” However, Greek had terms for a “sandbank” (θῖς [qis], ταινία [tainia]), a “reef” (ἑρμα [Jerma]), “strait” (στενόν [stenon]), “promontory” (ἀρωτήρον [arwthron]), and other nautical hazards, none of which are used by the author here. NEB here translates τόπον διθάλασσον (topon diqalasson) as “cross-currents,” a proposal close to that advanced by J. M. Gilchrist, “The Historicity of Paul’s Shipwreck,” JSNT 61 (1996): 29-51, who suggests the meaning is “a patch of cross-seas,” where the waves are set at an angle to the wind, a particular hazard for sailors. Thus the term most likely refers to some sort of adverse sea conditions rather than a topographical feature like a reef or sandbar.

81 tn Or “violence” (BDAG 175 s.v. βία a).

82 sn The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners. The issue here was not cruelty, but that the soldiers would be legally responsible if any prisoners escaped and would suffer punishment themselves. So they were planning to do this as an act of self-preservation. See Acts 16:27 for a similar incident.

83 tn The participle ἐκκολυμβήσας (ekkolumbhsa") has been taken instrumentally.

84 sn See the note on the word centurion in 10:1.

85 tn Or “wanting to rescue Paul.”

sn Thanks to the centurion who wanted to save Paul’s life, Paul was once more rescued from a potential human threat.

86 tn BDAG 347 s.v. I. ἔξειμι has “ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν get to land Ac 27:43.”

87 tn The words “were to follow” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. They must be supplied to clarify the sense in contemporary English.

88 tn Or “boards” according to BDAG 913 s.v. σανίς.

89 tn Grk “on pieces from the ship”; that is, pieces of wreckage from the ship.

sn Both the planks and pieces of the ship were for the weak or nonswimmers. The whole scene is a historical metaphor representing how listening to Paul and his message could save people.

90 tn Grk “And in this way it happened that.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.



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