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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Acts 27:12

Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Might attain to Phoenice - It appears that the Fair Havens were at the eastern end of the island, and they wished to reach Phoenice, which lay farther towards the west.

Toward the south-west and north-west - Κατα λιβα και κατα χωρον . The libs certainly means the south-west, called libs, from Libya, from which it blows to. wards the Aegean Sea. The chorus, or caurus, means a north-west wind. Virgil mentions this, Geor. iii. ver. 356.

Semper hyems, semper spirantes frigora cauri.

"It is always winter; and the cauri, the north-westers, ever blowing cold."

Dr. Shaw lays down this, and other winds, in a Greek compass, on his map, in which he represents the drifting of St. Paul's vessel from Crete, till it was wrecked at the island of Melita. Travels, p. 331, 4to. edit.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-27.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The haven - The fair havens, Acts 27:8.

Was not commodious to winter in - Not safe or convenient to remain there. Probably it furnished rather a safe anchorage ground in time of a storm than a convenient place for a permanent harbor.

The more part - The greater part of the crew.

To Phenice - In the original this is Phoenix - Φοῖνιξ FoinixSo it is written by Strabo. The name was probably derived from the palmtrees which were common in Crete. This was a port or harbor on the south side of Crete, and west of the fair havens. It was a more convenient harbor, and was regarded as more safe. It appears, therefore, that the majority of persons on board concurred with Paul in the belief that it was not advisable to attempt the navigation of the sea until the dangers of the winter had passed by.

And lieth toward - Greek: looking toward; that is, it was open in that direction.

The southwest - κατὰ λίβα kata libaToward Libya, or Africa. That country was situated southwest of the mouth of the harbor. The entrance of the harbor was in a southwest direction.

And northwest - κατὰ χῶρον kata chōronThis word denotes “a wind blowing from the northwest.” The harbor was doubtless curved. Its entrance was in a southwest direction. It then turned so as to lie in a direction toward the northwest. It was thus rendered perfectly safe from the winds and heavy seas; and in that harbor they might pass the winter in security. It is sometimes called “Lutro.” Of this harbor Mr. Urquhart, in a letter to James Smith, Esq., whose work on this voyage of Paul has obtained so wide a reputation, says, “Lutro is an admirable harbor. You open it like a box; unexpectedly the rocks stand apart, and the town appears within … We thought we had cut him off, and that we were driving him right upon the rocks. Suddenly he disappeared - and, rounding in after him, like a change of scenery, the little basin, its shipping, and the town presented themselves … Excepting Lutro, all the roadsteads looking to the southward are perfectly exposed to the south or east.”


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-27.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And because the haven was not commodious to winter in,.... Which was called the "Fair Havens", Acts 27:8 which name it might have by an antiphrasis, it being just the reverse; it might be a good summer haven, but not be fit for winter: perhaps it might be an open road or bay, and having nothing to shelter from the boisterous waves, was a place very improper for a ship to be in, in stormy weather; for in open places, as bays and roads, the sea tumbles in very violently in bad weather: this was a haven fit for fair weather only, and therefore might be so called:

the more part advised to depart thence also; the major part of the ship's company were of the same opinion with the master and owner of it, and advised as well as they, to sail from the Fair Havens in quest of a better port; the Syriac version reads, "the most of ours", of the apostle's companions; so that they were against him, according to that version, which is not likely; however, the majority in the ship were for sailing:

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: this place is called in the Syriac version Phoenix; and PtolomyF17Geograph, l. 3. c. 17. makes mention both of the city and haven of Phoenix, as on the south side of the island of Crete: and whereas it is here said to lie towards the south west and north west, this may be reconciled to that, as well as to itself; for the haven considered in general lay towards the south, but having its windings and turnings, with respect to them it lay towards both the south west and the north west, and so was a very commodious haven to winter in.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/acts-27.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Phenice — “Phenix,” now called Lutro.

which lieth toward the southwest and northwest — If this means that it was open to the west, it would certainly not be good anchorage! It is thought therefore to mean that a wind from that quarter would lead into it, or that it lay in an easterly direction from such a wind [Smith]. Acts 27:13 seems to confirm this.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/acts-27.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Because the haven was not commodious to winter in (ανευτετου του λιμενος υπαρχοντος προς παραχειμασιανaneuthetou tou limenos huparchontos pros paracheimasian). Genitive absolute again present tense of υπαρχωhuparchō “The harbour being unfit (ανευτετουaneuthetou this compound not yet found elsewhere, simplex in Luke 9:62; Luke 14:35; Hebrews 6:7) for wintering” (παραχειμασιαparacheimasia only here in N.T., but in Polybius and Diodorus, in an inscription a.d. 48, from παραχειμαζωparacheimazō).

The more part advised (οι πλειονες ετεντο βουληνhoi pleiones ethento boulēn). Second aorist middle indicative of τιτημιtithēmi ancient idiom with βουληνboulēn to take counsel, give counsel. Lysias held a council of the officers of the ship on the issue raised by Paul.

If by any means they could reach Phoenix and winter there (ει πως δυναιντο καταντησαντες εις Ποινικα παραχειμασαιei pōs dunainto katantēsantes eis Phoinika paracheimasai). The optative δυναιντοdunainto (present middle of δυναμαιdunamai) here with ειei is a condition of the fourth class with the notion of purpose implied and indirect discourse (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1021). “We vote for going on the chance that we may be able” (Page). Phoenix is the town of palms (John 12:13), the modern Lutro, the only town in Crete on the southern coast with a harbour fit for wintering, though Wordsworth and Page argue for Phineka which suits Luke‘s description better. The verb παραχειμαζωparacheimazō to winter, is from παραpara and χειμωνcheimōn (see also Acts 28:11). Used in several Koiné{[28928]}š writers.

Looking northeast and southeast (βλεποντα κατα λιβα και κατα χωρονbleponta kata liba kai kata chōron). There are two ways of interpreting this language. ΛιπςLips means the southwest wind and χωροςchōros the northwest wind. But what is the effect of καταkata with these words? Does it mean “facing” the wind? If so, we must read “looking southwest and northwest.” But καταkata can mean down the line of the wind (the way the wind is blowing). If so, then it is proper to translate “looking northeast and southeast.” This translation suits Lutro, the other suits Phoenike. Ramsay takes it to be Lutro, and suggests that sailors describe the harbour by the way it looks as they go into it (the subjectivity of the sailors) and that Luke so speaks and means Lutro which faces northeast and southeast. On the whole Lutro has the best of the argument.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/acts-27.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Not commodious ( ἀνευθέτου )

Lit., not well situated.

Lieth toward the southwest and northwest ( βλέποντα κατὰ Αίβα καὶ κατὰ Χῶρον )

Instead of lieth, Rev., literally and correctly, renders looking. The difference between the Rev. and A. V., as to the points of the compass, turns on the rendering of the preposition κατά . The words southwest and northwest mean, literally, the southwest and northwest winds. According to the A. V., κατά means toward, and has reference to the quarterfrom which these winds blow. According to the Rev., κατά means down: “lookingdown the southwest and northwest winds,” i.e., in the direction toward which they blow, viz., northeast and southeast. This latter view assumes that Phenice and Lutro are the same, which is uncertain. For full discussion of the point, see Smith, “Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul;” Hackett, “Commentary on Acts;” Conybeare and Howson, “Life and Epistles of St. Paul.”


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/acts-27.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Which is a haven — Having a double opening, one to the southwest, the other to the northwest.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/acts-27.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Toward the south-west and north-west. This expression is obscure. The words south-west and north-west are, in the original, names of winds not noted for violence. The general meaning of the phrase must be, that the opening of the harbor was towards those quarters of the heavens from which violent storms were not to be apprehended.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/acts-27.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

12 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.

Ver. 12. And lieth toward the south-west] It is a just complaint that a modern writer maketh of many men’s spirits among us today; that they lie like this haven, toward the south-west and north-west, two opposite points. (Mr Burroughs, Heart Div.) Methinks it should lie heavy upon those men’s spirits that first divided us, by publishing and pressing their new fangled fancies.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/acts-27.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Acts 27:12. And because the haven, &c.— And that port not being commodious to winter in, most were of opinion to depart thence, and endeavour to reach Phenice, (a haven of Crete, which lies on the south side toward the western part of that island,) and pass the winter there. Heylin.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/acts-27.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

The farther difficulties and dangers which the apostle met with, in this winter voyage, are here described and declared, and the properest lessons of instruction which can, I think, be gathered from them, will be by way of allusion.

Thus, 1. The ship in which he sailed is an emblem of the church, in her militant state here on earth; she is afflicted, tossed with tempests, and in danger of being shipwrecked every moment; many tempestuous Euroclydons arise suddenly, and threaten her fatally; but her wise pilot sits at the helm, steers her with a fixed eye and steady hand between rocks and shelves, undergirding her by his everlasting arms of power and love which are underneath her; and when in our apprehensions she is brought to a hopeless and helpless state, without the light of sun or stars to comfort her; then doth the Lord enlighten our darkness, and at midnight there shall be light.

Again, 2. This voyage, neglected in the summer, and undertaken in the winter season, to the peril of the passengers,and the loss of the ship, liveily represents unto us both the folly and danger of persons who suffer the spring of youth and the summer of ripe age to slide and slip away from them; and when the winter of old age comes upon them, then they think of launching forth towards the fair haven of eternal happiness, and not before.

Set we forth never so soon, the winds will be contrary, the weather tempestuous, the rocks many, the difficulties great. And yet, Lord! how is our precious time spent and spilt! When age comes upon us, we complain we want time, whereas we foolishly waste it; how are miserable souls that set out late for heaven, (when we can serve sin no longer,) benighted, bewildered, shipwrecked, eternally and irrecoverably lost!--Behold, now only is the accepted time now is the day of salvation.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/acts-27.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

12.] See above on Acts 27:8. The anchorage was sheltered from the N. W., but not from nearly half the compass. Grotius and Heinsius’s rendering of πρὸς παραχειμ., ‘ad vitandam tempestatem,’ is contrary to usage, besides being singularly inconsistent with the fact in more ways than one. For this purpose the anchorage was εὔθετος, and in it they had (see next verse) actually ridden out the storm, before they left it.

ἐκεῖθεν] The κἀκεῖθεν of the rec. would be thence also, as from their former stopping-places.

φοίνικα] Ptolemy (iii. 17) calls the haven φοινικοῦς, and the city (lying some way inland) φοῖνιξ. Strabo (x. 4) says, τὸ δὲ ἔνθεν ἰσθμός ἐστιν ὡς ἑκατὸν σταδίων, ἔχων κατοικίαν πρὸς μὲν τῇ βορείῳ θαλάττῃ ἀμφιμάλλαν, πρὸς δὲ τῇ νοτίῳ φοινικὴ τῶν λαμπέων. This description, and the other data belonging to Phœnice, Smith (p. 48) has shewn to fit the modern Lutro, which, though not known now as an anchorage, probably from the silting up of the harbour, is so marked in the French admiralty chart of 1738, and “if then able to shelter the smallest craft, must have been capable of receiving the largest ships seventeen centuries before.”

See an inscription making it highly probable that Alexandrian ships did winter at Lutro, in the excursus at the end of Prolegg. to Acts.

βλέποντα κατὰ λίβα κ. κατὰ χῶρον] looking (literally) down the S.W. and N.W. winds; i.e. in the direction of these winds, viz. N.E. and S.E. For λίψ and χῶρος are not quarters of the compass, but winds; and κατά, used with a wind, denotes the direction of its blowing,—down the wind. This interpretation, which I was long ago persuaded was the right one, I find now confirmed by the opinion of Mr. Smith, who cites Herod, iv. 110, ἐφέροντο κατὰ κῦμα καὶ ἄνεμον, and Arrian, Periplus Euxini, p. 3, ἄφνω νεφελὴ ἐπαναστᾶσα ἐξεῤῥάγη κατʼ εὖρον. So also κατὰ ῥόον, Herod, ii. 96. And in Jos. Antt. xv. 9. 6, the coasts near Cæsarea are said to be δύσορμα διὰ τὰς κατὰ λίβα προσβολάς. See also Thucyd. vi. 104. In the reff., the substantive is not one of motion like λίψ, χῶρος, or ῥόος, but of fixed location, as μεσημβρία, σκόπος. The direction then is towards the spot indicated, just as in the present case it is in that of the motion indicated. The harbour of Lutro satisfies these conditions; and is even more decisively pointed out as being the spot by a notice in the Synecdemus of Hierocles, φοινίκη ἤτοι ἀράδενα· νῆσος κλαῦδος. Now Mr. Pashley found a village called Aradhena a short distance above Lutro, and another close by called Anopolis, of which Steph. Byz. says, ἀράδην πόλις κρήτηι· ἡ δὲ ἀνωπόλις λέγεται, διὰ τὸ εἶναι ἄνω. From these data it is almost demonstrated that the port of Phœnice is the present port of Lutro. Ptolemy’s longitude for port Phœnice also agrees. See Smith, pp. 51 ff. Mr. Smith has kindly sent me the following extract from a letter containing additional confirmation of the view: ‘Loutro is an excellent harbour; you open it unexpectedly, the rocks stand apart and the town appears within. During the Greek war, when cruising with Lord Cochrane, … chased a pirate schooner, as they thought, right upon the rocks; suddenly he disappeared, and when rounding in after him,—like a change of scenery, the little basin, its shipping, and the town of Loutro, revealed themselves.’ See Prof. Hackett’s note, impugning the above view and interpretation; which however does not alter my opinion. Dean Howson gives his solution thus: “The difficulty is to be explained simply by remembering that sailors speak of every thing from their own point of view, and that the harbour (see chart in C. and H. ii. 397) does look—from the water towards the land which encloses it—in the direction of S.W. and N.W.” But I cannot believe, till experience can be shewn to confirm the idea, that even sailors could speak of a harbour as ‘looking’ in the direction in which they would look when entering it.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/acts-27.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Acts 27:12. ἀνευθέτου] not well situated, Hesychius and Suidas, elsewhere not found; the (later) Greeks have δύσθετος. They ought, according to the counsel of Paul, to have chosen the least of two evils.

πρὸς παραχειμασίαν] for passing the winter. Diod. Sic. xix. 68, and more frequently in Polybius. Comp. Acts 28:11.

κἀκεῖθεν] also from thence. As they had not hitherto lain to with a view to pass the winter, the resolution come to by the majority was to the effect of sailing onward from thence also. On ἔθεντο βουλήν, comp. Judges 19:30; Psalms 13:3.

εἴπως δύναιντο] i.e. in order to try, whether perhaps they would be able. See Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 206.

The haven φοῖνιξ is called in Ptolem. Acts 3:17, φοινικοῦς, and the adjacent town φοῖνιξ. Stephanus Byzantinus, on the other hand, remarks: φοινικοῦς πόλις κρήτης. Perhaps the two names were used in common of the haven and the city. Whether the haven was the modern Lutro, is uncertain. In opposition to Smith, p. 88, see Hackett.

βλέπειν] quite like spectare, of the direction of the geographical position. See Alberti, Obss. p. 274; Kypke, II. p. 134 f.

λίψ is the Africus, the south-west wind, and χῶρος the Caurus, the north-west. See Kapp, ad Aristot. de mundo Exc. III. The haven formed such a curve, that one shore stretched toward the north-west and the other toward the south-west.


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/acts-27.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Acts 27:12. οἱ πλείους, the majority) In time of danger, even those give their votes and opinions who are not entitled to do so: but the majority of votes does not always prove a thing to be really better.— ἔθεντο βουλὴν) gave their advice: Pricæus observes, that consilium posuerunt is a Petronian phrase. LXX., Judges 19:30, θέσθε βουλήν: and so Psalms 13 (12):3, θήσομαι βουλάς.— φοίνικα, λιμένα) φοίνιξ was the name of a town: its port is called φοινικοῦς by Ptolemy. An easy Metonymy.— κατὰ λίβα καὶ κατὰ χῶρον, towards the south-west [Africus], and towards the north-west [Corus]) By the putting down of the two winds, it is more distinctly expressed, how open the harbour was, and how great their hope of being able to put in there, than if the west wind (Zephyrus) only were put down, from which the wind called Africus or λίβς declines towards the south, Corus declines towards the north.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/acts-27.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This Phenice was a port town in Candia, and not the country in Syria.

Lieth toward the south-west and northwest; being on the south part of that island, having a bay or road like unto a half-moon or crescent, one horn or part of it (admitting entrance into it) toward the south-west, and the other toward the north-west.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Acts 27:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/acts-27.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Not commodious to winter in; being open to the wind and sea on the south.

Phenice; a place in the south-west part of Crete. The majority are often in the wrong, and it is not always wise or safe to follow them. The great question should not be, on which side are the greatest numbers, but on which are truth and duty; and a truly pious man, in seasons of danger and difficulty, may say and do things which it would be unwise to attempt at other times.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/acts-27.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

12. ἀνευθέτου δὲπρὸς παραχειμασίαν, and the haven not being commodious to winter in. And to tarry through the winter was what they were most likely to have to do, wherever they stopped. The season for sailing was now nearly over.

ἀνεύθετος is found only here. But εὔθετος = convenient is common in classical literature and in the LXX.

παραχειμάζειν occurs in this verse and in Acts 28:11, also in 1 Corinthians 16:6; Titus 3:12, but the noun nowhere else in N.T.

ἔθεντο βουλήν, advised. For the expression cf. LXX. Judges 19:30, θέσθε δὴ ἑαυτοῖς περὶ αὐτῆς βουλήν.

ἀναχθῆναι ἐκεῖθεν, to put to sea from thence. On the verb, see above, Acts 27:3.

καταντήσαντες εἰς Φοίνικα, having reached Phœnix. Phœnix is no doubt the correct orthography of the name. The place is mentioned both by Strabo and Ptolemy, and has been identified with the modern port of Lutro (Spratt’s Crete II. 250 seqq.).

βλέποντα κατὰ λίβα καὶ κατὰ χῶρον, looking north-east and south-east. Literally ‘looking down the south-west wind and down the north-west wind.’ To look down a wind is to look in the direction in which it blows. So as a south-west wind would blow towards N.E., the Rev. Ver. appears to give the correct sense, and the haven of Lutro answers these conditions, being open towards the east.

χῶρος is a Greek representation of the Latin Caurus, one of the names given to the N. W. wind.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/acts-27.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12. Commodious—Well situated. The harbour was open to the winds of half the horizon so far as its main land was concerned; but nevertheless it was so fenced about with reefs and small islands as to be rather safer than the putting again to sea.

More part advised—After the council was over the general voice confirmed the centurion’s decision.

To Phenice—Port Phoenix, an excellent harbour, now called Lutro, on the southern shore of Crete near its western end.

Lieth—The Greek word requires looketh, which gives a very different view of the position of Phoenix. By the annexed chart it will be seen that the harbour of Lutro opens to the east. How then could Luke, or rather the sailors whose report he is giving, say that Lutro looks toward the southwest and northwest winds? For such is the obvious translation. If the sailors meant to say that the harbour opened so as to expose ships to winds from the southwest and northwest, it will be seen at once that it would be a worse harbour than Fair Haven, as exposing them to the very blasts they were trying to escape. Another translation, therefore, would be looking according to (in the direction with) the southwest and northwest winds. Or the sailors here may have followed their own habit of speaking from their own standpoint. From the ship their look into the harbour was into the face of the southwest and northwest wind, that is, they would enter it from an easterly direction, and find themselves protected from the two winds mentioned, which was precisely what they needed.

That Lutro is the port intended is beyond a doubt. On the annexed chart Phoenix is also called Anapolis, or upper town, while, in fact, Lutro is also called Katapolis or lower town. “The coexistence of the names Phineka, Aradhena, and Anapolis on the modern chart in immediate neighbourhood establishes the point above a doubt. Moreover, Strabo says that Phoenix is the narrowest part of Crete, which is precisely true of Lutro.”—Conybeare and Howson.

[image]


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/acts-27.html. 1874-1909.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

12. The most of the people concluded they had better reach the harbor Phenice, of the same island, looking down the southwest and northwest winds, believing it to be more secure than Fair Havens.


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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/acts-27.html.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to put to sea from there, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, and winter there; which is a haven of Crete, looking north-east and south-east.’

This decision to press on was partly because finding lodgings for the winter was not going to be easy, and the shelter that the bay provided was not fully satisfactory. So they decided that they would make for Phoenix and winter there. This was a haven of Crete that looked north east and south east, and would be a much safer haven (the description fits Phineka). But this necessitated crossing the Gulf of Messara which would leave them exposed to any violent winds that arose.


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/acts-27.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Acts 27:12. The harbour was not commodious to winter in. It was in its very nature ( ὑ πά ρχοντος) not commodious for this purpose. Many things had to be taken into account—the supply of provisions, for instance, as well as the soundings and the shelter. The exact knowledge of this roadstead which we now have through the surveys of British officers, shows that the case might have been reasonably argued on both sides.

The more part advised to depart thence also. The voice of the majority prevailed. This is another proof that there was a prolonged and free discussion as to the wisdom of remaining in the harbour of Fair Havens. The majority gave their opinion ( ἔθεντο βουλὴ ν) in favour of quitting it, if possible. What follows ( εἴ πως δύ ναιντο) shows that they were by no means certain that it would be possible to reach the harbour they desired. Phenice ( φοί νικα, from φοί νιξ). It is unfortunate that in the Authorised Version this word is spelt like the word for φοινικη, used elsewhere for Phoenicia (Acts 11:19). It ought to be pronounced in English differently. A parallel case is that of Urbane (Romans 16:8), which is not the name of a woman. As to this ‘harbour of Crete,’ named ‘Phoenix,’ it might be said that we have nothing to do with it, inasmuch as St. Paul’s ship never reached the place. But, in fact, the information which we now possess concerning it, furnishes very important and interesting elucidations of the truthfulness and accuracy of this narrative.

Which looked towards the south-west and north-west. This is the description which some of the sailors in consultation at Fair Havens gave of the harbour of Phoenix; and it is evident in a moment that they could not possibly have recommended, for the purpose of ‘wintering,’ a harbour which was exposed or open to winds from the north-west and south-west. We must obviously seek for some other explanation of the phrase than that which suggests itself at first sight; and we find this explanation by remembering that sailors regard everything as seen from the sea. This is just the difference between a chart and a map. The recommendation of Phoenix, as a good harbour for wintering, is precisely this, that it was sheltered from the two above-mentioned winds; and this is quite in harmony with the use of the Greek preposition κατὰ. As seen from the sea towards the land, the harbour of Phoenix did ‘look’ towards the south-west and north-west.

We come now, however, to consider whether there is any harbour on the south coast of Crete west of Fair Havens, which fulfils these conditions and the other conditions of the case. It is evident that some of the sailors on board the Alexandrian corn ship were convinced of the existence of such a place, and could describe it accurately. The writer of this note was positively told, some years ago, by a ship captain experienced in the trade of the Levant, who had often sailed along this coast, that there is no harbour here fulfilling these conditions; and all information concerning it was, till recently, somewhat precarious. An anchorage in an old Dutch chart is marked here; and it became known that a place of shelter here, easily concealed by the cliffs of this rocky coast from those who merely sailed along it to the westward, was familiar to Greek pirates. At length the point was entirely settled and made clear by the publication of the charts of our British surveying officers. There is no difficulty now in identifying Phoenix with Lutro, in the narrowest part of the island of Crete. It is a place of admirable shelter, with deep water close under the rocks, and precisely protected from south-west and north-west winds, as was said in the discussion at Fair Havens.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/acts-27.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Acts 27:12. ἀνευθέτου: here only, but in later Greek we have δύσθετος, so in Jos. St. Luke, however, uses εὔθετος in his Gospel, Luke 9:62, Luke 14:35 (found only once elsewhere in N.T., Hebrews 6:7). We may compare J. Smith’s 1James , 4 th edition, p. 85. In the latter he points out that recent surveys show that Fair Havens may have been a very fair winter harbour, and that even on nautical grounds St. Paul’s action may have been justified, but Blass, in loco, adheres to the view that the harbour was only fit for use during the summer.— πρὸς παραχειμασίαν: noun only here in N.T., not found in LXX, but in Polyb. and Diod. Sic. παραχειμάσαι: only in Luke and Paul in N.T., 1 Corinthians 16:6, cf. Acts 28:11, Titus 3:12, not in LXX, but used by Dem., Polyb., Plut., Diod. Sic.— οἱ πλείονες: πλείονες ( πλείους) with the article only by Luke and Paul in N.T., cf. Acts 19:32; by St. Paul seven times in his Epistles. Bengel well says, “plura suffragia non semper meliora”.— ἔθεντο βουλὴν: on the noun and its use by St. Luke see above, Acts 2:23, and for the phrase cf. Luke 23:51, in LXX, Psalms 12:2 (Judges 19:30, A al(411)); so also in classical Greek.— ἀναχθῆναι: “to put to sea,” R.V., see on Acts 13:13.— εἴ πως δύναιντο: on the optative see Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 172; and Burton, p. 111; cf. Mark 11:13, Acts 8:22; Acts 18:27, Romans 1:10; Romans 11:14, Philippians 3:11.— καταντήσαντες: Lucan and Pauline, see above, Acts 16:1.— εἰς φοίνικα, Strabo, x., 4; Ptolemy, iii., 17. Generally taken as = modern Lutro, so Ramsay, Alford, Renan, Rendall, Blass, J. Smith (pp. 87, 88), Lewin, Rendall, Plumptre, and Muir in Hastings’ B.D., “Fair Havens”; so amongst recent German writers on this voyage, cf. Breusing, p. 162, and Goerne, u. s., p. 360, both of whom quote Findlay, Mediterranean Directory, p. 67, “Port Lutro, the ancient Phœnix, or Phœnice, is the only bay on the south coast where a vessel could be quite secure in winter”; but on the other hand Hackett, in loco. Wordsworth, Humphry and Page (whose full note should be consulted) suppose the modern Phineka to be meant; so also C. H. Prichard in Hastings’ B.D., “Crete”; see below. Alford, Acts, Proleg., p. 28, quotes from J. Smith’s Appendix (2nd edition) the words from Mr. G. Brown’s Journal (1855, l856) stating that Lutro is the only secure harbour in all winds on the south coast of Crete, words quoted by Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 326, and Muir, Hastings’ B.D., “Fair Havens”.— λιμένα τῆς κ. κ. τ. λ.: “a harbour of Crete which faces south-west and north-west,” so Ramsay, and so A.V. and Vulgate. But R.V. so Rendall, “looking north-east and south-east,” which is a correct description of the entrance of the harbour of Lutro, so J. Smith, Alford, Lumby and Plumptre, who interpret “looking down the south-west and north-west winds,” literally translated as = in the direction of these winds, i.e., the direction to which they blew, and so north-east and south-east, κατά indicating the line of motion, Cf. R.V. margin, and so Rendall and Knabenbauer, in loco. C. and H., so Ramsay and Farrar, find an explanation of the rendering in A.V. in the subjectivity of the sailors, who describe a harbour from the direction in which they sail into it; and thus by transmission from mouth to mouth the wrong impression arose that the harbour itself looked south-west and north-west. As against Rendall’s interpretation and that of R.V., see Page and Hackett’s learned notes in loco. Both lay stress upon the phrase, βλέπειν κατά τι, as used only of that which is opposite, and which you face. cf. Luke’s own use of κατά, Acts 3:13, Acts 8:26, Acts 16:7, Acts 27:7. Page, and so C. H. Prichard, Hastings’ B.D., “Crete,” would adopt A.V. reading, but would apply it to the harbour Phineka, opposite Lutro, which does look south-west and north-west. λίψ, (prob. λείβω) Herod., ii., 25, Polyb., x., 103, etc., south-west wind Africus, χῶρος, north-west wind Corus or Caurus.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/acts-27.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/acts-27.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering" Fair Havens did give immediate shelter from the northwest gales, yet it was open to all other points of the compass. "It would put a strain on Lasea, too, to show hospitality to 276 people through the winter" (Reese p. 899). "The majority" Apparently others also sided with Paul, yet they were in the minority. "If somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and the spend the winter there" The expression if somehow reveals that everyone knew they were taking a huge risk in trying to reach the next harbor. "Phoenix: Many feel that this is the modern harbor of Lutro, if that is the case then the directions given, facing southwest and northwest are from the standpoint of the sailors as they come into the harbor. Bruce argues that Phoenix is rather the harbor of Phineka, which lies open to any westerly wind.


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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/acts-27.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

not commodious = not well situated. Greek. aneuthetos. Only here.

to winter in = for (Greek. pros) wintering (Greek. paracheimasia. Only here).

advised = gave their decision. Greek. boule. App-102.

depart. Same as "launch", Acts 27:2.

by any means = at least.

attain. Greek. katantao. See Acts 16:1.

Phenice. Now Lutro. At the western end of the island.

winter. Greek. paracheimazo. Only here, Acts 28:11. 1 Corinthians 16:6. Titus 3:12.

and lieth = looking. Greek. blepo. App-133.

toward = down. Greek. kata.

south west = south-west wind. Greek. lips. Only here.

north west = north-west wind. Greek. choros. Only here. The meaning is that the harbour looked in the same direction as that in which these winds were 15

borne along. blew, i.e. north-east and south-east, as in Revised Version.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/acts-27.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence [also]. The "also" here, though a natural supplement, is in the text quite insufficiently attested. [Tischendorf retains it - kakeithen (Greek # ); but Lachmann and Tregelles have ekeithen ( G1564)]. If by any means they might attain to Phenice, [ Foinika (Greek #5405)] rather 'Phoenix,' which Mr. Smith identifies with the modern Lutro; and Mr. Brown is satisfied that he is right, as is Alford also. But Hackett, for reasons presently to be mentioned, opposes this view.

And there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the southwest and northwest , [ bleponta ( Greek #991) kata ( G2596 ) liba ( G3047 ) kai (Greek #2532 ) kata ( G2596) chooron (Greek #)]. Hackett-from the usual sense of this phrase-understands it of the direction in which the two coasts of the haven lay, which of course would mean just the opposite direction to what the expression would denote, if (as Mr. Smith contends) it is designed to express the direction in which the winds were blowing. If Hackett is fight (and Humphry and Lechler take the same view), it is the modern Phineka, a harbour quite near to Lutro, but facing the west, Certainly this allows of the phrase being rendered, as most naturally in our version, "looking toward." But since no anchorage which opened to the west would be good for this vessel, Mr. Smith thinks the meaning must be, that a westerly wind would lead into it, or that, 'it lay in an easterly direction from such a wind;' and the next verse would seem to confirm this.


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/acts-27.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) And because the haven was not commodious to winter in . . .—The anchorage in the Fair Havens, while it gave immediate shelter from the north-west gales, was open to those from other points of the compass, and it was therefore decided by the majority (there would seem to have been something like a vote taken on the question) to press on and face the immediate risk for the sake of the more permanent advantages.

Phenice . . . which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.—The precise meaning of the phrase is that the harbour looked, as we say, down these winds, in the direction to which they blew—i.e., that it faced the north-east and south-east, the words used being the names, not of points of the compass, but of the winds which blew from them. The harbour so described has been identified with the modern Lutro, on the east of the promontory of Kavo Muros, which looks eastward, and so corresponds to the interpretation just given of the words that describe it. The harbour is named by Ptolemy (iii. 17) as Phoenikous, and a city named Phoenix lay a few miles inland. It is still used as a harbour by Greek pirates, and was marked as such in the French admiralty charts of 1738; but, owing to the silting up of the sand, has become unsuitable for larger vessels. An inscription of the time of Nerva, of the nature of a votive tablet to Jupiter and Serapis, found near the spot, records the fact that it was erected by Epictetus, the tabularius, or agent, of the fleet to which the ship belonged, with the assistance of Dionysius of Alexandria, the pilot (the same word as that which St. Luke uses) of a ship which had as its sign (the same word as in Acts 28:4) the Isopharia. It is a natural inference from this that the Alexandrian ship (we note the Egyptian element in the dedication to Serapis, and possibly in the connection of the sign with the Pharos, or lighthouse of Alexandria) had anchored, and possibly wintered, at Phœnice, and that the tablet was a thank-offering for its preservation. (See Alford, Prolegomena.)


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/acts-27.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
the haven
8; Psalms 107:30
Phenice
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.
Crete

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Acts 27:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/acts-27.html.

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