King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Acts > New Testament > Home

Acts 27

Paul’s voyage towards Rome. (1-11) Paul and his companions endangered by a tempest. (12-20) He receives a Divine assurance of safety. (21-29) Paul encourages those with him. (30-38) They are shipwrecked. (39-44)

Acts 27 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Paul’s voyage towards Rome

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

4 And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.

5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.

6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.

7 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;

8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.

9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,

10 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.

11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.

Paul and his companions endangered by a tempest

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.

13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.

14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.

15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.

16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat:

17 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.

18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship;

19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.

20 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.

He receives a Divine assurance of safety

21 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.

22 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.

23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.

27 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;

28 And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms.

29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

Paul encourages those with him

30 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,

31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

33 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.

34 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.

35 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.

36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.

37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.

38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.

They are shipwrecked

39 And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.

40 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.

41 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.

42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.

43 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:

44 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.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 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. Lit. beginning to sail; the sense can only be designing to sail that way, as appears also by the Greek. Wi.

Ver. 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. Wi.

Ver. 7. We sailed hard by Crete, now Candia, near by Salmone, sailing betwixt them. Wi.

Ver. 8. Called Good-havens, a port on the east part of Crete, near the city of Thalassa, in the Greek text Lasea. Wi.

Ver. 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 S. Chrys. and others expound it of the Jewish fast of expiation, in their seventh month, Tisri, answering to our September or October. Wi. — 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 S. Luke was writing for Christians, who being for the most part converted Jews, easily understood the expression. Calmet.

Ver. 10. Ye men, I see, &c. This S. Paul foretells as a prophet. Wi.

Ver. 12. Phœnice, on the south part of Crete, a convenient haven to ride safe in, lying by south-west and north-west. Wi.

Ver. 14. Called Euroaquilo.[3] In the Prot. translation, Euroclydon, as in many Greek copies. In others Euraculon, which Dr. Wells prefers. Wi.

Ver. 16. An island that is called Cauda. In some Greek copies Clauda, which the Prot. 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. Wi.

Ver. 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. Lit. 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. Wi.

Ver. 18. They lightened the ship by throwing overboard part of their loading and goods. Some call it, they made the jetsam. Wi.

Ver. 19. The tacking, or furniture of the ship that they could spare; others express it, they threw out the lagam. Wi.

Ver. 21. Not . . . have saved this harm and loss, which you have brought upon you by not following my advice. Wi. — 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 S. 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. S. Chrys. Act. hom. lii.

Ver. 23. An Angel of God. Lit. of the God whose I am; that is, whose servant I am. Wi.

Ver. 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. Wi. — S. 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? S. Jerom contra Vigilant.

Ver. 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. Wi.

Ver. 30. The ship-men . . . having let down the boat into the sea; that is, had begun to let it down with ropes, &c. Wi.

Ver. 31. Paul said . . . unless these stay. Providence had ordered that all should escape, but by helping one another. Wi.

Ver. 33. Taking nothing. That is, without taking a full meal, but only a morsel now and then, and nothing to speak of. Wi. — Though S. 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.

Ver. 40. Loosing also the rudderbands. Some ships are said heretofore to have had two rudders: and this ship perhaps had two, 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. Wi.

Ver. 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. Wi.

Ver. 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. Wi.


[1] V. 2. Incipientes navigare, mellontes plein, navigaturi.

[2] V. 9. Jejunium præteriisset S. Chrys. om ig. nesteian ten ioudaion.

[3] V. 14. Euroaquilo, eurokludon. Dr. Wells prefers the reading of eurakulon.

[4] V. 17. Accingentes navem, upozonuntes to ploion, bracing the ship with something.

[5] V. 17. Submisso vase, chalasantes to skeuos. The word 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.

[6] V. 41. In locum dithalassum, eis topon dithalasson.