And when he had thus spoken he took bread
A piece of bread, of common bread, into his hands; for this could never be the eucharist, or Lord's supper, which the apostle now celebrated, as some have suggested, but such sort of bread that seafaring men commonly eat: mention is before made of "meat" or "food", which the apostle entreated them to take, which includes every sort of sea provisions they had with them; and which, with the ancients, were usually the following: it is certain they used to carry bread corn along with them, either crude, or ground, or baked; the former when they went long voyages, the last when shorter ones; and it is plain that they had wheat in this ship, which after they had eaten they cast out, ( Acts 27:38 ) and corn ground, or meal, they had used to eat moistened with water, and sometimes with oil, and sometimes with oil and wine; and they had a sort of food they called "maza" which was made of meat and milk; likewise they used to carry onions and garlic, which the rowers usually ate, and were thought to be good against change of places and water; and they were wont to make a sort of soup of cheese, onions and eggs, which the Greeks call "muttootos", and the Latins "mosetum"; and they had also bread which was of a red colour, being hard baked and scorched in the oven, yea it was "biscoctus", twice baked F24; as our modern sea biscuit is, and which has its name from hence, and which for long voyages is four times baked, and prepared six months before the voyage is entered on; and such sort of red bread or biscuit very probably was this, which the apostle now took into his hands, and did with it as follows:
and when he had broken it he began to eat:
which was all agreeably to the custom and manner of the Jews, who first gave thanks, and then said "Amen", at giving of thanks; when he that gave thanks brake and ate first: for he that brake the bread might not break it until the "Amen" was finished by all that answered by it, at giving of thanks; and no one might eat anything until he that brake, first tasted and ate F25.
F24 Vid. Scheffer. de Militia Navali Veterum, l. 4. c. 1. p. 252, 253, 254.
F25 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 47. 1. Zohar in Num. fol. 100. 3.