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had but little or no effect on the ship, whether they were thrown away or retained.
The Shipwreck; those on board escape to the shore by swimming, or on fragments of the vessel. Vs. 39-44.
V. 39. zhv yv etc., they recognized not the land, within view. The day had dawned and they could now distinguish it. It has appeared to some surprising that none of those on board should have known a place with which those, at least who were accustomed to the sea, might be expected to have been so well acquainted. The answer is, that the scene of the shipwreck was remote from the principal harbor, and as those who have been on the spot testify, distinguished by no marked feature which would render it known even to a native if he came unexpectedly upon it. xóλzor-dryiahór, they perceived a certain inlet, κόλπον· creek, having a shore, i. e. in a seaman's sense of that expression, a shore in which they could run the ship with a hope of saving their lives. The remark implies that the coast generally was unsafe for such an attempt. The present conformation of the coast on that side of Malta, confirms Luke's accuracy in this particular. The shore there presents an unbroken chain of rocks interrupted by a beach at only two points.
V. 40. xai-. θάλλασσαν, and having entirely cut away the anchors they abandoned them unto the sea. On this force of nɛt, comp. v. 20. It has been referred to the position of the anchors as being around the ship; but they had all been dropped from the stern and could not well have got scattered so as to be on different sides of the vessel. The English translators in their inaccurate version of this clause followed the Vulgate.aμα-8αhíor, at the same time unfastening the bands of the rudders. Ancient vessels had sometimes one but more commonly two rudders. They were attached to the stern, one on each quarter, distinguished as the right and the left rudder. In the larger ships the extremities of the helms were joined by a pole which was moved by one man and kept the rudders always parallel. See Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Antt. p. 458. When a vessel was anchored like the one in this case, by the stern, it would be necessary to lift the rudders out of the water and to secure them by bands. These bands it would be necessary to unfasten when the ship was again got under way. ἐπάραντες — — τῇ πνεουσῇ sc. αύρᾳ, having hoisted the fore-sail to the wind. dorsuor has been taken by different writers as the name of almost every sail which a vessel carries, e. g. main-sail, top-sail, jib, etc. We have no ancient definition of the term which throws any certain light upon its meaning. The nautical argument is said to be in favor of the fore-sail, i. e. the sail attached to the mast nearest to the prow; or
if there was but one mast, fixed to a spar or yard near the prow. See Smith, p. 553. With that sail raised, it is said, that a vessel situated like this would move towards the shore with more precision and velocity than with any other.
V. 41. περιπεσόντες —— διθάλασσον falling upon a place having two seas. This has been supposed by many commentators to have been a concealed shoal or sand-bank, formed by the action of two opposite currents. In the course of time such a bank, as is frequently the case at the mouth of rivers or near the shore, may have been worn away, so that the absence of any such obstruction there at the present time, decides nothing against that supposition. It has also been understood to have been a tongue of land or promontory, against the shores of which the sea beat strongly from opposite quarters. It is not stated that any projection exists there now, to which Luke's description, if explained in that manner, would apply. Mr. Smith is of the opinion that τόπος διθάλασσας may refer to the channel, not more than a hundred yards in breadth, which separates the small island Salmone from Malta; and which might very properly be called a place where "two seas meet," on account of the communication which it forms between the sea in the interior of the bay and the sea outside. He would place the scene of the shipwreck near that channel, and according to the representation on his map, a little to the north of the place to which tradition has generally assigned it. There is still a creek here which may have been the one towards which they directed the ship, and which must have had formerly a sandy beach, although it has now been wasted away by the action of the sea. The final shock ensues next. μèv nooga etc., the prow sticking fast remained immovable, but the stern was broken by the violence of the waves. "This is a remarkable circumstance, which but for the peculiar nature of the bottom of St. Paul's Bay, it would be difficult to account for. The rocks of Malta disintegrate into extremely minute particles of sand and clay, which when acted upon by the currents, or surface agitation, form a deposit of tenacious clay; but in still water, where these causes do not act, mud is formed; but it is only in the creeks where are no currents, and at such a depth as to be unlisturbed by the waves, that the mud occurs. A ship, therefore, impelled by the force of a gale into a creek with a bottom such as has been described, would strike a bottom of mud into which the forepart would fix itself and be held fast, whilst the stern was exposed to the force of the waves." See Smith's Monograph, p. 103.
'For examples of this, see Lyell's Principles of Geology, p. 285 sq., 8th ed.
V. 42. rov dn orqariwrar, etc. Now a plan was formed on the part of the soldiers to put to death, etc. Most critics allow that iva with a finite mood in cases like this serves merely to circumscribe the infinitive. Win. § 45. 9; St. § 162. 3. 2. Of the rigor with which those were liable to be punished who were charged with the custody of prisoners, if the latter escaped from them in any way, we have proof in 12: 19.
V. 43. It will be recollected that according to the Roman custom each of the prisoners was chained to a particular soldier who was his keeper. The centurion had the general oversight of all the soldiers and the prisoners, — ἐκώλυσεν — βουλήματος. Thus it happened again that Paul's companions were indebted for the preservation of their lives to their connection with him.- éxéλevoɛ. It is most natural to suppose that he gave this direction to those only under his command. αυτοὺς which precedes suggests also that limitation. πάντας in the last clause of the next verse comprehends both passengers and crew. - únoдóívarras, reciprocal.-éva, should go forth, not from the ship which is the force of azó in the participle just before, but from the sea upon the land.
V. 44. τοὺς λοιπούς is the subject of ἐξιέναι. — ἐπι σανίσιν, upon boards, such probably as were in use about the ship, but not parts of it, which would confound this clause with the next. · ἐπί τινων nkolov, upon some of the pieces from the ship which they themselves tore away or which the surge had broken off. Most critics distinguish the two expressions in this way. Kuinoel renders oaviour, tables. A few understand that term of the permanent parts of the vessel, and Twow of such things as seats, barrels and the like which were floating away from the wreck. These last they are likely to have lost or thrown into the sea before this.
Their abode during the winter at Melite. Ch. 28: 1-10.
V. 1. iniɣrooar, they ascertained, by intercourse probably with the inhabitants; see on 27: 39.- Μελίτη ἡ νῆσος. That this was the modern Malta, cannot well be doubted. An island with the same name, now Meleda, lies up the Hadriatic on the coast of Dalmatia, which some have maintained to have been the one where Paul was wrecked. Bryant defended that opinion. It is advocated still in Valpy's notes on the New Testament. The argument for that opinion founded on the name Hadriatic, has been already refuted in the remarks on 27: 27. It has also been alleged for it that no poisonous serpents are found at present on Malta. The more populous and culti
vated state of the island accounts for their disappearance. Naturalists inform us that the extinction of such reptiles follows in the natural train of events as the aboriginal forests of a country are cleared up, or as the soil is otherwise brought under cultivation. It would be difficult to find a surface of equal extent in so artificial a state as that of Malta at the present day. The positive reasons for the common belief are that the traditional evidence sustains it; that Malta lies in the track of a vessel driven by a north-east wind; that the reputed locality of the wreck agrees with Luke's account; that the Alexandrian ship in which they reembarked would very naturally winter there but not at Meleda; and that the subsequent course of the voyage to Puteoli is that which a vessel would pursue in going from Malta, but not from the other place.
V. 2. oi dè ßáyßagot. The inhabitants are so called with reference to their language which was not that either of the Greeks or Romans. They belonged to the Phoenician race and spoke a Semitic dialect, most probably the Punic, i. e. the Phoenician as spoken by the people of Carthage.2 See Gesenius's Hebrew Grammar, § 2. 2. The Greeks and Romans occupied the island at different times as conquerors but never introduced to any great extent their speech or manners. διὰ τὸν ὑετόν— ψύχος. This remark disproves the assumption of some critics that it was Scirocco wind, i. e. from the south-east, which Paul's ship encountered. That wind does not continue to blow more than two or three days, and is hot and sultry even as late as the month of November.
V. 3. dra, a viper, which appears to have been thrown into the fire with the twigs which Paul had collected. Ex rys dέours, from the heat, the effect of it. A few good manuscripts read anò, a more exact preposition for that sense. This is the common view, to which De Wette also adheres. This may also mean from the heat, the place of it, as rendered by Winer (§ 51. 5. b.), Meyer and some others.
Mr. Smith has illustrated this point fully, p. 110 sq. See also the article Melita in Pauly's Real-Encyclopaedie, written by Forbiger.
2 It has been frequently asserted that the ancient Punic is the basis of the language spoken by the native Maltese of the present day. That opinion is incorrect. Malta at the time of the Saracen irruption, was overrun by Arabs, from whom the common people of the island derive their origin. The dialect spoken by them is a corrupt Arabic, agreeing essentially with that of the Moors, but intermixed to a greater extent with words from the Italian, Spanish, and other European languages. To Gesenius belongs the merit of having first investigated thoroughly this dialect in his Versuch über die maltesische Sprache, etc., Leipzig, 1810. He has given the results of that investigation in his Article on Arubien in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopaedie.
ex is kept nearer in this way to its ordinary force.- ¿elovoa, coming forth, with a spring probably, according to the habit of that reptile. The horned viper has been known to leap three or four feet, in order to reach his victim.zave, fastened itself, in the sense of the middle. This reflexive use of the active occurs only here, which accounts for xadiazo as read in some copies.
V. 4. xoɛuάueror — avrov, hanging from his hand, to which it clung by the mouth. Luke does not say expressly that Paul was bitten; but the nature of the reptile- the leap the clinging to his hand-leave us to infer that with almost entire certainty. Those who stood near and witnessed the occurrence, supposed evidently that such was the fact. That he should have escaped being bitten under such circumstances would have been hardly less miraculous than that the ordinary effect of the poison should have been counteracted. We seem to be justified according to either view, in regarding his preservation as a fulfilment of the promise of Christ in Mark 16: 17, 18. On the form of the participle, see Kühn. § 179, 5. — porevs — ovros. They perceived from his chain perhaps or some other indication, that Paul was a prisoner. The attack of the viper proved to them that he must have committed some atrocious crime. poreus points not to a specific offence, but to the class of offenders to which they supposed he might belong.v ovx elαoer, suffered not to live. They consider his doom as sealed. Vengeance in their view had already smitten its
V. 5. ἔπαθεν V- xaxóv. This statement agrees either with the supposition that he had not been bitten, or that the poison had produced no effect upon him.
V. 6. niunoasa, lit. to burn, to be inflamed, which is attended with heat. — καταπίπτειν — νεκρόν. Sudden collapse and death ensue often from the bite of serpents. ovdiv arozor, nothing bad, injurious; in a moral sense, Luke 23: 41. μεταβαλλόμενοι may take after it τὴν γνώμην or omit it. θεὸν elva. Bengel: Aut latro, inquiunt, aut deus; sic modo tauri, modo lapides, 14: 13, 19. Datur tertium; homo Dei.
V. 7. r@ пowró̟ — Ionic, the chief of the island, by name Publius. Melite was first conquered by the Romans during the Punic wars, and in the time of Cicero (4 Ver. c. 18.) was annexed to the praetorship of Sicily. The praetor of that island would naturally have a legate or deputy at this place. The title nooros under which he is mentioned here has been justly cited by apologetic writers (Tholuck, Ebrard, Krabbe, Lardner, Paley), as a striking proof of Luke's accuracy. No other ancient writer happens to have given his official designation; but a coin has been discovered in Malta, inscribed to a