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Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Chief ("first," Greek) man of Melita; "lodged courteously for three days" Paul when shipwrecked (Acts 28:7). His hospitality to Christ's servant was rewarded (compare Hebrews 13:2) in the cure of his father's bloody flux by Paul. The designation (Greek) "first of the island" could not have been from his "possessions" in his father's lifetime. Two inscriptions at Civita Vecchia in Malta mention the official title, "first of the Meliteans"; thus Publius was legate of the printer of Sicily, to whose jurisdiction Malta belonged.
These files are public domain.
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Publius'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/p/publius.html. 1949.