Our lives having been thus preserved, we discovered that the island was called Malta.
The strange-speaking natives showed us remarkable kindness, for they lighted a fire and made us all welcome because of the pelting rain and the cold.
Now, when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and had thrown them on the fire, a viper, driven by the heat, came out and fastened itself on his hand.
When the natives saw the creature hanging to his hand, they said to one another, "Beyond doubt this man is a murderer, for, though saved from the sea, unerring Justice does not permit him to live."
He, however, shook the reptile off into the fire and was unhurt.
They expected him soon to swell with inflammation or suddenly fall down dead; but, after waiting a long time and seeing no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Now in the same part of the island there were estates belonging to the Governor, whose name was Publius. He welcomed us to his house, and for three days generously made us his guests.
It happened, however, that his father was lying ill of dysentery aggravated by attacks of fever; so Paul went to see him, and, after praying, laid his hands on him and cured him.
After this, all the other sick people in the island came and were cured.
They also loaded us with honours, and when at last we sailed they put supplies on board for us.
Three months passed before we set sail in an Alexandrian vessel, called the `Twin Brothers,' which had wintered at the island.
At Syracuse we put in and stayed for two days.
From there we came round and reached Rhegium; and a day later, a south wind sprang up which brought us by the evening of the next day to Puteoli.
Here we found brethren, who invited us to remain with them for a week; and so we reached Rome.
Meanwhile the brethren there, hearing of our movements, came as far as the Market of Appius and the Three Huts to meet us; and when Paul saw them he thanked God and felt encouraged.
Upon our arrival in Rome, Paul received permission to live by himself, guarded by a soldier.
After one complete day he invited the leading men among the Jews to meet him; and, when they were come together, he said to them, "As for me, brethren, although I had done nothing prejudicial to our people or contrary to the customs of our forefathers, I was handed over as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the power of the Romans.
They, after they had sharply questioned me, were willing to set me at liberty, because they found no offence in me for which I deserve to die.
But, at last, the opposition of the Jews compelled me to appeal to Caesar; not however that I had any charge to bring against my nation.
For these reasons, then, I have invited you here, that I might see you and speak to you; for it is for the sake of Him who is the hope of Israel that this chain hangs upon me."
"For our part," they replied, "we have not received any letters from Judaea about you, nor have any of our countrymen come here and reported or stated anything to your disadvantage.
But we should be glad to hear from you what it is that you believe; for as for this sect all we know is that it is everywhere spoken against."
So they arranged a day with him and came to him in considerable numbers at the house of the friends who were entertaining him. And then, with solemn earnestness, he explained to them the subject of the Kingdom of God, endeavouring from morning till evening to convince them about Jesus, both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
Some were convinced; others refused to believe.
Unable to agree among themselves, they at last left him, but not before Paul had spoken a parting word to them, saying, "Right well did the Holy Spirit say to your forefathers through the Prophet Isaiah:
"`Go to this people and tell them, you will hear and hear, and by no means understand; and will look and look, and by no means see.
For this people's mind has grown callous, their hearing has become dull, and their eyes they have closed; to prevent their ever seeing with their eyes, or hearing with their ears, or understanding with their minds, and turning back, so that I might cure them.'
"Be fully assured, therefore, that this salvation--God's salvation--has now been sent to the Gentiles, and that they, at any rate, will give heed."
After this Paul lived for fully two years in a hired house of his own, receiving all who came to see him.
He announced the coming of the Kingdom of God, and taught concerning the Lord Jesus Christ without let or hindrance.