And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band.
Italy is a well-known country of Europe, bounded by the Adriatic or Venetian Gulf on the east, the Tyrrhene or Tuscan Sea on the west, and by the Alps on the north.
And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.
Adramyttium, now Adramyti, was a maritime city of Mysia in Asia Minor, seated at the foot of Mount Ida, on a gulf of the same name, opposite the island of Lesbos.
And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself.
And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
Myra was a city of Lycia, situated on a hill, twenty stadia from the sea.
And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.
Alexandria, now Scanderoon, was a celebrated city and port of Egypt, built by Alexander the Great, situated on the Mediterranean and the lake Moeris, opposite the island of Pharos, and about twelve miles from the western branch of the Nile.
And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone;
Cnidus was a town and promontory of Caria in Asia Minor, opposite Crete, now Cape Krio.
Crete, or, Candy
Crete, now Candy, is a large island in the Mediterranean, 250 miles in length, 50 in breadth, and 600 in circumference, lying at the entrance of the Aegean sea.
Salmone, now Salamina, was a city and cape on the east of the island of Crete.
And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.
The fair havens
The Fair Havens, still known by the same name, was a port on the south-eastern part of Crete, near Lasea, of which nothing now remains.
Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
"The fast was on the tenth day of the seventh month."
And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.
damage, or, injury
Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.
And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.
Phenice, was a sea-port on the western side of Crete; probably defended from the fury of the winds by a high and winding shore, forming a semicircle, and perhaps by some small island in front; leaving two openings, one towards the south-west, and the other towards the north-west.
And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.
But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.
arose, or beat
Probably, as Dr. Shaw supposes, one of those tempestuous winds called levanters, which blow in all directions, from N. E. round by E. to S. E.
And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat:
Clauda, called Cauda and Gaudos by Mela and Pliny, and Claudos by Ptolemy, and now Gozo, according to Dr. Shaw, is a small island, situated at the south-western extremity of the island of Crete.
Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.
And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship;
And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.
And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.
For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.
But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;
Adria strictly speaking, was the name of the Adriatic gulf, now the Gulf of Venice, an arm of the Mediterranean, about 400 miles long and 140 broad, stretching along the eastern shores of Italy on one side, and Dalmatia, Sclavonia, and Macedonia on the other. But the term Adria was extended far beyond the limits of this gulf, and appears to have been given to an indeterminate extent of sea, as we say, generally, the Levant. It is observable, that the sacred historian does not say "in the Adriatic gulf," but "in Adria," (that is, the Adriatic sea, being understood;) which, says Hesychius, was the same as the Ionian sea; and Strabo says that the Ionian gulf "is a part of that now called the Adriatic." But not only the Ionian, but even the Sicilian sea, and part of that which washes Crete, were called the Adriatic. Thus the scholiast on Dionysius Periegetis says, "they call this Sicilian sea Adria." And Ptolemy says that Sicily was bounded on the east by the Adriatic, [hupo
Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.
And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,
Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.
Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.
And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.
And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.
And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.
The Romans imported corn from Egypt, by way of Alexandria, to which this ship belonged; for a curious account of which see Bryant's treatise on the Euroclydon.
And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.
taken up, etc
or, cut the anchors, they left them in the sea, etc.
the rudder bands
Or, "the bands of the rudders;" for large vessels in ancient times had two or more rudders, which were fastened to the ship by means of bands, or chains, by which they were hoisted out of the water when incapable of being used. These bands being loosed, the rudders would fall into their proper places, and serve to steer the vessel into the creek, which they had in view, and hoisted.
And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.
And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.
But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land:
And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.
Melita, now Malta, the island on which Paul and his companions were cast, is situate in the Mediterranean sea, about fifty miles from the coast of Sicily, towards Africa; and is one immense rock of soft white free-stone, twenty miles long, twelve in its greatest breadth, and sixty in circumference. Some, however, with the learned Jacob Bryant, are of opinion that this island was Melita in the Adriatic gulf, near Illyricum; but it may be sufficient to observe, that the course of the Alexandrian ship, first to Syracuse and then to Rhegium, proves that it was the present Malta, as the proper course from the Illyrian Melita would have been first to Rhegium, before it reached Syracuse, to which indeed it need not have gone at all.