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42 And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest
XXVIII. 1 And when they were escaped, then they
1 Cor. xiv. 11.
0 literally, on some of the things from the ship.
44. some of the things from the ship] pro is said to be a colony of the Phænicians. bably, as A. V., broken pieces of the ship: received us] not to their fire, but --some of the parts of the ship : the others to hospitality.
the present rain] mentioned being whole planks, perhaps of which commonly follows on great tempests. the decks. XXVIII. 1. Melita] "The
the cold] This is decisive against whole course of the narrative has gone to the Sirocco, which is a hot and sultry shew that this can be no other than MALTA. wind, even so late as the month of NoThe idea that it is not MALTA, but Meleda, vember, and moreover seldom lasts more an island off the Illyrian coast in the Gulf than three days. 3. when Paul had of Venice, seems to be first found in Con- gathered a bundle of sticks] “We find the stantine Porphyrogenitus. It has been Apostle doing the office of a prisoner, adopted by our own countrymen, Bryant serving the wants of others.” Bengel. and Dr. Falconer, and abroad by some From the circumstance of the concealed commentators. It rests principally on viper, these sticks were probably heaps three mistakes :- 1. the meaning of the of neglected wood gathered in the forest. name Adria (see above on ch. xxvii. 27), The difficulty here is, that there are now 2. the fancy that there are no poisonous no venomous serpents in Malta. But as serpents in Malta (ver. 3),-3. the notion Mr. Smith observes, “no person who has that the Maltese would not have been called studied the changes which the operations Barbarians.—The idea itself, when com of man have produced on the animals of pared with the facts, is preposterous enough. any country, will be surprised that a parIts supporters are obliged to place Fair ticular species of reptiles should have disHavens on the north side of Crete,--and appeared from Malta. My friend the Rev. to suppose the wind to have been the hot Mr. Landsborough, in his interesting exSirocco (comp. ver. 2). Further notices of cursions in Arran, has repeatedly noticed this question, and of the state of Malta at the gradual disappearance of the viper the time, will be found in the notes on the from the island since it has become more following verses. 2. the barbarians frequented. Perhaps there is nowhere a A term implying very much what our word surface of equal extent in so artificial a natives does, when speaking of any little state as that of Malta is at the present day, known or new place. They were not Greek -and nowhere has the aboriginal forest colonists, therefore they were barbarians been more completely cleared. We need (Rom. i. 14). If it be necessary strictly not therefore be surprised that, with the to vindicate the term, see the two citations disappearance of the woods, the noxious given in my Greek Test. where the Phæ reptiles which infested them should also nicians are called barbarians, and Malta have disappeared” (pp. 111, 112). St.
there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the barbarians saw the [r venomous] beast hang on his band, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath
escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. c Mark xvi.18 5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and e felt no
harm. 6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly : but s after they had
looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they d ch. xiv. 11. changed their minds, and d said that he was a god. i In
the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius: who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. 8 And it came to pass,
Luke x. 19.
r not expressed in the original.
Paul had placed the faggot on the fire, Apostles, totally unprecedented in history and was settling or arranging it in its or probability. Besides, did not the natives place, when the viper glided out of the themselves in this case testify to the fact ? heat and fixed on his band. The verb None were so well qualified to judge of the in the original implies that the serpent virulence of the serpent,-none so capable glided out through the sticks.
of knowing that the hanging on Paul's fastened on his hand] The narrative leaves hand implied the communication of the no doubt that the bite did veritably take venom :- yet they change him from a mur. place. 4.] The natives, who were derer into a god, on seeing what took place. sure to know, here positively declared it Need we further evidence, that the divine to have been a venomous serpent. I make power which they mistakenly attributed to these remarks to guard against the dis- Paul himself, was really exerted on his be ingenuous shifts of rationalists and semi. half, by Him who had said “they shall rationalists, who will have us believe either take up serpents ?” See below on ver. 8. that the viper did not bite, or that if it did, The fact that St. Luke understood what it was not venomous. No doubt this the natives said, is adduced by Dr. Wordsman is a murderer) “They saw his fetters.” worth as another proof (see his and my Bengel.—The idea of his being a murderer note on ch. xiv. 11) that the Apostles and is not to be accounted for by the member Evangelists commonly understood unknown which was bitten (for this would fit any tongues. But such an inference here has crime which the hand could commit), – absolutely nothing to rest on. Are we to nor by supposing the bite of a serpent to suppose that these “barbarians ” had no have been the Maltese punishment for means of intercourse with Greek sailors ? murder; it is accounted for by the obvious- 6.] Both these, the inflammation of ness of the crime as belonging to the most the body, and the falling down dead sudnotorious delinquents, and the aptness of denly, are recorded as results of the bite the assumed punishment,- death for death. of the African serpents. 7.] The
Vengeance) or Nemesis. What the chief, or first man of the Melitæans, was Phænician islanders called her, does not probably an official title: the more so, as appear; but the idea is common to all Publius can hardly have borne the appelreligions. 5.] “Luke does not so much lation from his estates, during his father's as hint, that any divine intervention took lifetime. Two inscriptions have been found place.” De Wette.—True enough : but in Malta, at Citta Vecchia, which seem to why? Because St. Luke believed that the establish this view. If so (and his Roman very dullest of his readers would understand name further confirms it), Publius was it without any such hint. According to legate of the Pretor of Sicily, to whose these rationalists, a fortunate concurrence province Malta belonged. us] Hardly of accidents must have happened to the perhaps more than Paul and his companions, s
f Mark vi. 5:
vii. 32: xvi. 18, Luke iv.
11, 12. I Cor.
that the father of Publius lay sick of t a fever and of a
laid his hands on him, and healed him. 9 So when this Markvi, 5.1.
t literally, fevers : see note.
U render, the rest.
and, it may be, Julius. At ver. 10, a special many honours (or distinctions,' or atreason had occurred for his honouring Paul tentions'). 11.7 They probably set and his company : at present, Publius's sail (see on ch. xxvii. 9) not earlier than hospitality must have been prompted by the sixth of the ides of March (i. e. the courtesy of Julius, who could hardly March 10). whose sign was [litefail himself to be included in it. The rally, with the sign (of)] the Dioscuri] three days were probably till they could The ancient ships carried at their prow find a suitable lodging. 8. fevers) a painted or carved representation of the Hippocrates also uses the plural. It pro- sign which furnished their name, and at bably indicates the recurrence of fever fits the stern a similar one of their tutelar
a bloody flux) dysentery. Dr. deity. Sometimes these were one and the Falconer makes this an argument against same, as appears to have been the case Malta being meant. “Such a place, dry with this ship. Castor and Pollux (the and rocky, and remarkably healthy, was Dioscuri,-sons of Zeus), sons of Jupiter not likely to produce a disease which is and Leda, were considered the tutelar almost peculiar to moist situations.” But deities of sailors. 12.] Syracuse is Mr. Smith answers, that the changed cir. about eighty miles, a day's sail, from cumstances of the island might produce Malta. 13.7 This fetching a compass this change also: and besides, that he is apparently denotes the roundabout course informed by a physician of Valetta, that of a vessel tacking with an adverse wind. the disease is by no means uncommon in That the wind was not favourable, follows Malta. laid his hands on him] It is from what is said below. Mr. Lewin's remarkable, that so soon after the taking account is, “As the wind was westerly, up of serpents,' we should read of Paul and they were under shelter of the high having laid his hands on the sick and mountainous range of Etna on their left, they recovered. See the two in close they were obliged to stand out to sea in connexion, Mark xvi. 18. 10. with order to fill their sails, and so came to many honours) The ordinary interpreta Rhegium by a circuitous sweep.” And he tion of this as rewards, gifts, may be right, cites a case of a passage from Syracuse to but is not necessary. The other meaning, Rhegium, in which a similar circuit was that these were really honours, is rendered taken for a similar reason, p. 736. The probable by the form of the sentence, day at Rhegium, as perhaps the three at which opposes to these “honours," be. Syracuse before, was spent probably in stowed on them during their whole stay, waiting for the wind
the south such things as were necessary, with wind having sprung up,—succeeded the which they were loaded at their departure. one which blew before. the second Render it therefore honoured us with day] viz. after leaving Rhegium : a dis
brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days:
came to Rome, [c the centurion delivered the prisoners to the 1 ch. xxiv. 25: captain of the guard: but] - Paul was suffered to dwell by
himself with d a soldier that kept him. 17 And it came to pass, that after three days e Paul called the chief of the
Jews together; and when they were come together, he 1 ch. xxiv. 12, said unto them, [f Men and] brethren, i though I have
committed nothing against the people, or customs of our
13: IV. 8.
b render, the tidings concerning us.
e read, he.
tance of about 180 nautical miles.
ties : some had come the longer, others the Puteoli] (anciently Dicæarchia, now Puz- shorter distance, to meet the Apostle. zuoli) was the most sheltered part of the I have given several instances in ing Greek bay of Naples. It was the principal port Test. of the practice of going forth to meet of Southern Italy, and, in particular, approaching travellers of eminence. formed the great emporium for the Alex. took courage] Both encouragement as to andrian wheat ships. 14.] These his own arrival, as a prisoner, in the rast Christians were perhaps Alexandrines, metropolis,-in seeing such affection, to as the commerce was so considerable which he was of all men most sensible; between the two places. 80] i. e. and encouragement as to his great work 30 after this stay with them : implying that long contemplated, and now about to comthe request was complied with. — The mence in Rome,- in seeing so promising i brethren at Rome had heard probably beginning for him to build on. 16. by special message sent by some of their The omission of the disputed words here fellow-voyagers. (See a detailed account is too strongly attested to allow us to of the stages of the journey not here retain them in the text. As regards the mentioned, in Conybeare and Howson, ï. fact indicated in them, the captain of the pp. 438 ff.] 15. Appii forum, and guard (prefect of the prætorian guard) The three taverns] Luke writes as one of was the person officially put in charge the travellers to Rome, who would come with the prisoners sent from the proon Appii Forum (forty-three miles from vinces. The prætorian camp was outside Rome) first. It was on the Via Appia, the Viminal gate, where it had been fixed which leaving Rome by the Porta Capena, and fortified by Sejanus. It was incorpopassed through the Pontine marshes, as rated in Aurelian's walls, and now forms far as Capua. Being not far from the a square projection from their line. coast (Strabo, v. 233), it was the resort of Paul was suffered] This permission prosailors, as Horace describes it. It has bably resulted from the letters of Festa been suggested to me, that these may have expressing that no crime was laid to the been sailors belonging to the canal boats, charge of Paul: perhaps also partly fron as Appii Forum is too far inland to have the favour of Julius, and his report of the been resorted to by sailors from the coast. character and bearing of Paul on the jourHe further says that it was an unpleasant ney. the soldier] a Prætorian, to halting-place for travellers, having, besides, whom he was chained; see below, Ver. very bad water.— The Three taverns was 20; and note on ch. xxiv. 23. 17.1 a way-side inn, ten miles nearer Rome. The banishment of Jews from Rome (ch. Cicero mentions both in the letters to xviii. 2) had either tacitly or openly becs Atticus. The brethren were in two par. abrogated some time before this. Priscilla
xxiv. 10: xxv.
fathers, yet k was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into k ch. xxi. 33.
Eph. iii. 1:
8 literally, heresy : see ch. xxiv. 5, 14; xxvi. 5.
and Aquila had returned when the Epistle should have arrived before him. For his to the Romans was written, Rom. xvi. 3.- voyage followed soon after his appeal (ch. St. Paul was naturally anxious to set himself xxv. 13; xxvii. 1), and was so late in the right with the Jews at Rome-to explain year, that for the former reason it is as the cause of his being sent there, in case no unlikely that any deputation from them message had been received by them con- should have left before him, as for the cerning him from Judæa,--and to do away latter, after him. Had any left within a if possible with the unfavourable prejudice few days, the same storin would have in all which such letters, if received, would have probability detained them over the winter, created respecting his character.— The fact and they could not certainly have made a of his sending for them, and their coming much quicker voyage than Paul's ship to to him, seems to shew that he was not im- . Puteoli. Still, as casual, non-official tidings prisoned in the Prætorian camp, but was might have reached them, Paul shewed this already in a private lodging. 18. anxiety. It appears, however, that none would have (wished to let me go] This had come. Olshausen's view, that the may have been at ch. xxv. 8. The possi. banishment of the Jews from Rome under bility of such a release is asserted by Claudius had interrupted the relations Agrippa, ch. xxvi. 32. 19.] My between the Roman and Judæan Jews, is appeal was a defensive and necessary step hardly probable: see on ver. 17. 22.
- not an offensive one, to complain of my this heresy] To which they perhaps innation. 20. For this cause] For the ferred that Paul belonged, from ver. 20: reason just stated : because I have no hos. or they might have heard thus much tile feeling to my nation. Then what fol- generally respecting him by rumour, though lows adds another motive; for not only so, they had received no special message.but I may well wish to see and speak with Their short notice of Christianity is peryou, being a prisoner for the hope of Israel haps the result of caution, seeing as they (see ch. xxvi. 6, and notes). 21.] It did the favour shewn by the authorities may seem strange that they had received towards Paul: or perhaps of dissimulation. no tidings concerning him. But, as Meyer ---Many Commentators have noticed the well remarks, (1) before his appeal, the omission of all mention of the Christian Jews in Judæa had no definite reason to church at Rome, and of Paul's connexion communicate with the Jews in Rome re- with or work among them. And some specting him, having no expectation that recently in Germany have called in question Paul, then a prisoner in Judæa, and the the credibility of the Acts on this account. object of their conspiracies there, would But without any reason: for the work of the ever go to Rome, or come into connexion Apostle among churches already founded is with their brethren there. And (2) since not the subject of our history, and is seldom his appeal, it would have been hardly pos. related by Luke, without a special reason. sible for them to have sent messengers who Of the three years at Ephesus (ch. xx. 31), VOL. I.