XXVII. 1. As soon as it was determined to sail - As being a shorter and less expensive passage to Rome.
Verse 2. Adramyttium - was a sea port of Mysia. Aristarchus and Luke went with Paul by choice, not being ashamed of his bonds.
Verse 3. Julius treating Paul courteously - Perhaps he had heard him make his defence.
Verse 4. We sailed under Cyprus - Leaving it on the left hand.
Verse 7. Cnidus - was a cape and city of Caria.
Verse 8. The Fair Havens still retain the name. But the city of Lasea is now utterly lost, together with many more of the hundred cities for which Crete was once so renowned.
Verse 9. The fast, or day of atonement, was kept on the tenth of Tisri, that is, the 25th of September. This was to them an ill time of sailing; not only because winter was approaching, but also because of the sudden storms, which are still common in the Mediterranean at that time of the year. Paul exhorted them - Not to leave Crete. Even in external things, faith exerts itself with the greatest presence of mind, and readiness of advice.
Verse 10. Saying to them - To the centurion and other officers.
Verse 11. The centurion regarded the master - And indeed it is a general rule, believe an artificer in his own art. Yet when there is the greatest need, a real Christian will often advise even better than him.
Verse 12. Which is a haven - Having a double opening, one to the southwest, the other to the northwest.
Verse 14. There arose against it - The south wind; a tempestuous wind, called in those parts Euroclydon. This was a kind of hurricane, not carrying them any one way, but tossing them backward and forward. These furious winds are now called levanters, and blow in all directions from the northeast to the southeast.
Verse 16. We were hardly able to get masters of the boat - To prevent its being staved.
Verse 18. They lightened the ship - Casting the heavy goods into the sea.
Verse 19. We cast out the tackling of the ship - Cutting away even those masts that were not absolutely necessary.
Verse 20. Neither sun nor stars appeared for many days - Which they could the less spare, before the compass was found out.
Verse 21. This loss - Which is before your eyes.
Verse 23. The God whose I am, and whom I serve - How short a compendium of religion! Yet how full! Comprehending both faith, hope, and love.
Verse 24. God hath given - Paul had prayed for them. And God gave him their lives; perhaps their souls also. And the centurion, subserving the providence of God, gave to Paul the lives of the prisoners. How wonderfully does his providence reign in the most contingent things! And rather will many bad men be preserved with a few good, (so it frequently happens,) than one good man perish with many bad. So it was in this ship: so it is in the world. Thee - At such a time as this, there was not the same danger, which might otherwise have been, of St. Paul's seeming to speak out of vanity, what he really spoke out of necessity. All the souls - Not only all the prisoners, as Julius afterward did, Acts 27:43; ask for souls, they shall be given thee: yea, more than thou hopest for, that sail with thee - So that Paul, in the sight of God, was the master and pilot of the ship.
Verse 27. The fourteenth night - Since they left Crete, Acts 27:18,19. In the Adriatic sea - So the ancients called all that part of the Mediterranean, which lay south of Italy.
Verse 30. The sailors were attempting to flee out of the ship - Supposing the boat would go more safely over the shallows.
Verse 31. Unless these mariners abide in the ship - Without them ye know not how to manage her, ye cannot be saved - He does not say we. That they would not have regarded. The soldiers were not careful for the lives of the prisoners: nor was Paul careful for his own. We may learn hence, to use the most proper means for security and success, even while we depend on Divine Providence, and wait for the accomplishment of God's own promise. He never designed any promise should encourage rational creatures to act in an irrational manner; or to remain inactive, when he has given them natural capacities of doing something, at least, for their own benefit. To expect the accomplishment of any promise, without exerting these, is at best vain and dangerous presumption, if all pretence of relying upon it be not profane hypocrisy.
Verse 33. Ye continue fasting, having taken nothing - No regular meal, through a deep sense of their extreme danger. Let us not wonder then, if men who have a deep sense of their extreme danger of everlasting death, for a time forget even to eat their bread, or to attend to their worldly affairs. Much less let us censure that as madness, which may be the beginning of true wisdom.
Verse 34. This is for your preservation - That ye may be the better able to swim to shore.
Verse 36. Then they were all encouraged - By his example, as well as words.
Verse 38. Casting out the wheat - So firmly did they now depend on what St. Paul had said.
Verse 39. They did not know the land - Which they saw near them: having a level shore.
Verse 40. Loosing the rudder bands - Their ships had frequently two rudders, one on each side. were fastened while they let the ship drive; but were now loosened, when they had need of them to steer her into the creek.
Verse 41. A place where two seas met - Probably by reason of a sand bank running parallel with the shore.
Verse 42. The counsel - Cruel, unjust, ungrateful.
Verse 44. They all escaped safe to land - And some of them doubtless received the apostle as a teacher sent from God. These would find their deliverance from the fury of the sea, but an earnest of an infinitely greater deliverance, and are long ere this lodged with him in a more peaceful harbour than Malta, or than the earth could afford.