The name Melita was anciently applied to two islands; one in the Adriatic Sea, on the coast of Illyricum, now called Meleda; the other in the Mediterranean, between Sicily and Africa, now called Malta. That the latter is the one on which Paul suffered shipwreck is evident both from the direction of the wind which blew him thither, (See EUROCLYDON,) and from the fact that he left the island in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered there on her voyage to Italy, and after touching at Syracuse and Rhegium, landed at Puteoli, thus sailing on a direct course. The other Melita would be far out of the usual track from Alexandria to Italy; and in sailing from it to Rhegium, Syracuse also would be out of the direct course. The fact that the vessel was tossed all night before the shipwreck in the Adriatic Sea, does not militate against this view, because the name Adria was applied to the whole Ionian Sea, which lay between Sicily and Greece. See ADRIA. Acts 27:27 28:1.
Malta is a rocky island, sixty-two miles south of Sicily, seventeen miles long and nine broad, and containing nearly one hundred square miles, and 100,000 inhabitants. At an early period it was seized by the Phoenicians; these were dispossessed by the Greeks of Sicily; they by the Carthaginians; and they in turn, 242 B. C., by the Romans, who held it in the time of Paul. After numerous changes, it fell at length into the hands of the English, who since 1814 have held undisputed possession of it. The name of "St Paul’s bay" is now borne by a small inlet on the north side of the island, opening towards the east, which answers well to the description in Acts 27:1-44. Here Paul was protected by the hand of God, amid perils on shore as well as in the sea. He remained here three months, and wrought many miracles.