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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Acts 27

Verse 2

Adrumetum. In the Greek, Adrametum, which seems to be the best reading: the former was in Africa, the latter in Asia; and the ship was to make for the coasts of Asia and not those of Africa. --- Being about to sail [1] by the coast of Asia. Literally, beginning to sail; the sense can only be designing to sail that way, as appears also by the Greek. (Witham)



Incipientes navigare, Greek: mellontes plein, navigaturi.

Verse 4

We sailed under Cyprus. That is, north of Cyprus, betwixt the coasts of Cilicia and Cyprus, leaving it on our left, instead of leaving it on our right hand. (Witham)

Verse 7

We sailed hard by Crete, now Cadia, near by Salmone, sailing betwixt them. (Witham)

Verse 8

Called Good-havens, a port on the east part of Crete, near the city of Thalassa, in the Greek text Lasea. (Witham)

Verse 9

The fast was now past.[2] An annual fast. Some take it for the fast of the Ember-days, which Christians keep in December: but St. John Chrysostom and others expound it of the Jewish fast of expiation, in their seventh month, Tisri, answering to our September or October. (Witham) --- Most interpreters understand this of the solemn fast of expiation, mentioned in Leviticus (xvi. 29. and xxiii. 27.) which fell about the end of September and beginning of October. At this time sailing on the Mediterranean is dangerous. Though this phrase is at present obscure to us, we must recollect that St. Luke was writing for Christians, who being for the most part converted Jews, easily understood the expression. (Calmet)



Jejunium præteriisset. St. John Chrysostom, Greek: om ig. nesteian ten ioudaion.

Verse 10

Ye men, I see, &c. This St. Paul foretells as a prophet. (Witham)

Verse 12

Phœnice, on the south part of Crete, a convenient haven to ride safe in, lying by south-west and north-west. (Witham)

Verse 14

Called Euroaquilo.[3] In the Protestant translation, Euroclydon, as in many Greek copies. In others Euraculon, which Dr. Wells prefers. (Witham)



Euroaquilo, Greek: eurokludon. Dr. Wells prefers the reading of Greek: eurakulon.

Verse 16

An island that is called Cauda. In some Greek copies Clauda, which the Protestants have followed; in others Caudos. --- We had much work to come by the boat, or to hoist up the skiff belonging to the ship; which we did, lest it should be broken to pieces by the wind against the ship, or separated from it. (Witham)

Verse 17

The used helps, under-girding the ship.[4] Perhaps bracing or binding about the vessel with ropes or chains, lest she should be torn asunder. --- Into the quick-sands. Literally, into a syritis, such as are on the coasts of Africa, whither now they were almost driven. --- The let down the sail-yard.[5] This seems to be the sense of these words letting down the vessel. Some translate striking the sail; but others think they were in apprehension for the mainmast. (Witham)



Accingentes navem, Greek: upozonuntes to ploion, bracing the ship with something.



Submisso vase, Greek: chalasantes to skeuos. The word Greek: skeuos, has many significations, and may be taken for the ship, or any part of it: here it may signify the main-mast, which they might take down, lest it should be torn away.

Verse 18

The lightened the ship by throwing overboard part of their loading and goods. Some call it, they made the jetsam. (Witham)

Verse 19

The tacking, or furniture of the ship that they could spare; others express it, they threw out the lagam. (Witham)

Verse 21

Not...have save this harm and loss, which you have brought upon you by not following my advice. (Witham) --- All the company being in consternation and hourly expectation of death, did not think of taking meat. For it appears they did not want provisions, and nothing else forced them to fast. (Calmet) --- The mildness of St. Paul’s address to them on this occasion is admirable. He mixes no severe rebuke for their past want of confidence in his words, but seems only solicitous for their future belief. In telling them that none of them should perish, he does not utter a mere conjecture, but speaks with prophetic knowledge; and, if he says they were all given to him, it was not to enhance his own merit, but to engage their faith and confidence in his veracity. (St. John Chrysostom, Act. hom. lii.)

Verse 23

An Angel of God. Literally, of the God whose I am; that is, whose servant I am. (Witham)

Verse 24

God hath given thee all them; that is, the true God, maker and master of all things. It is sometimes a great happiness to be in the company of the saints, who by their prayers to God, help us. (Witham) --- St. Paul prayed that all in the vessel with him might be saved; and an angel was sent to assure him his prayer was heard. If such was the merit of the apostle whilst yet in this mortal body, that the Almighty, in consideration of it, granted the lives of 276 persons, what do you think, will be his interest before God, now that he is glorious in heaven? (St. Jerome, contra Vigilant.)

Verse 27

In the Adria. Not in what we call the Adriatic gulf, or sea of Venice, but that which lies betwixt Peloponnesus, Sicily, and Italy. (Witham)

Verse 30

The ship-men...having let down the boat into the sea; that is, had begun to let it down with ropes, &c. (Witham)

Verse 31

Paul said...unless these stay. Providence had ordered that all should escape, but by helping one another. (Witham)

Verse 33

Taking nothing. That is, without taking a full meal, but only a morsel now and then, and nothing to speak of. (Witham) --- Though St. John Chrysostom understands these words in their full rigour, and therefore supposes them to have been supported by a miracle; yet is is not requisite to adhere to the severity of these words in the interpretation of them. Not having had time to prepare any regular meal during that time, they may justly be said to have taken nothing, though they had occasionally eaten a little now and then to support nature. Such exaggerations in discourse are common. Interpretes passim.

Verse 40

Loosing also the rudderbands. Some ships are said heretofore to have had two rudders: and this ship perhaps had tow, unless here the plural number be put for the singular, which is not uncommon in the style of the Scriptures. --- And hoisting up the main-sail. The word in the text may signify any sail, either the main, or mizen-sail, which latter by the event was more than sufficient. (Witham)

Verse 41

Into a place where two seas met.[6] It happened that there was a neck or tongue of land, which being covered with the waves, they who were strangers to the coast did not discover: this stranded the ship, the prow sticking fast, and the poop being torn from it, so that the vessel split by the violence of the winds and sea. (Witham)



In locum dithalassum, Greek: eis topon dithalasson.


Verse 44

The rest...they carried on planks. That is, let them be carried on planks; and all got safe to land, in the number two hundred and seventy-six souls, or persons. (Witham)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Acts 27". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.