Acts 21:1

On to Jerusalem

1 After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara.

Read Acts 21:1 Using Other Translations

And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara:
And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara.

What does Acts 21:1 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Acts 21:1

And it came to pass, that after we had gotten from them,
&c.] Which was with great difficulty, with many tears, and much wringing of hands: the word signifies that they were "plucked from" them; they clung about them, as husband and wife, and parents and children do; so strong were their affections; and their parting was like the parting of such near relations, or like the plucking of the flesh from the bones, or the drawing and separating one member from another; such is the cement of true Christian love:

and had launched;
the vessel into the sea, from the port at Miletus:

we came with a straight course unto Coos;
an island in the Aegean sea. Pomponius Mela F13 calls it Cos in Carlo; and so Pausanias F14 reckons it a city of the Carians and Lycians, mentioning it along with Rhodes. It was famous for being the birth place of Apelles the painter, and Hippocrates the physician. Pliny F15 places it in Caria, and calls it most noble, and says that it was fifteen miles distant from Halicarnassus, was a hundred miles in circumference, as many think, and was called Merope: and who elsewhere observes F16, that it is reported that the silk worms are bred in this island, and that a sort of raiment called "bombycine" was first made here by Pamphila, the daughter of Latoius. And so Solinus F17 from Varro, testifies, that this island first gave a fine sort of clothing for the ornament of women: hence because silks or bombycines, from the silk worms, were first wove here by women, some think the island had its name, for (hwqm) , which signifies something spun, in ( 1 Kings 10:28 ) ( 2 Chronicles 1:16 ) it is by us translated "linen yarn"; but the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "from Coa". This island was taken by Hercules, and Eurypylus, the king of it, was slain by him F18. It is now in the hands of the Turks, by whom it is called Stancora; but by others Lango. When, and by whom the Gospel was first preached here, is not certain; it does not appear that the Apostle Paul stayed to preach it now: however, in the beginning of the "fourth" century there was a church here, and a bishop of it was present at the council of Nice; and in the "fifth" century, a bishop of the church here assisted in the council of Chalcedon; and in the "sixth" century, a bishop of the same place was in the fifth synod at Constantinople F19. Hither Paul and his company came with a good wind, a prosperous gale, and nothing to hinder them; which perhaps is rather meant than a straight or direct line, in which they ran from Miletus to this place:

and the day following unto Rhodes,
this is an island in Lycia, according to Mela F20, and had in it these three cities, Lindos, Camitos, and Jalysos: it is said of it F21, that the heavens are never so cloudy, but the sun is seen here in one part of the day, or another. R. Benjamin F23 makes this to be three days' sail from Samos; and says, he found four hundred Jews in it, and almost three hundred at Samos. It is asserted by several writers F24, that this island was once covered with the sea, and in process of time appeared out of it, and became dry land. The account which Pliny F25 gives of it is, that

``it is most beautiful and free, and was in circumference a hundred and thirty miles; or, if Isidorus is rather to be credited, a hundred and three: the cities in it were Lindus, Camirus, Jalysus, now Rhodes: it is distant from Alexandria in Egypt five hundred seventy eight miles, as Isidorus reports; but according to Eratosthenes, four hundred sixty nine; and according to Mutianus, five hundred; and from Cyprus it was a hundred and sixty six;''

a place after mentioned, which the apostle left on the left hand, having sailed from Petara to Phoenicia. The same writer proceeds and adds,

``it was before called Ophiusa, Astria, Aethrea, Trinacria, Cotymbia, Paeessa, Atabyria, from the king of it, afterwards Macria and Oloessa.''

Jerom F26 says of it, that

``it is the most noble of the islands Cyclades, and the first from the east, formerly called Ophiussa; in which was a city of the same name, famous for the brazen colossus, which was seventy cubits high: it was distant from the port of Asia twenty miles.''

This statue, called the colossus of the sun, was one of the seven wonders of the world, according to Pliny F1, and was made by Chares, a disciple of Lysippus, at the expense of King Demetrius: it was twelve years in making, and cost three hundred talents: it was seventy cubits high (as Jerom before says): it fell by an earthquake, after it had stood fifty or sixty years (some say 1360); and as it lay along it was a miracle, few men with their arms stretched out could embrace the thumb, and the fingers were bigger than most statues: and from this statue the Rhodians have been sometimes called Colossians; and some have fancied, that these are the persons the Apostle Paul wrote his epistle to under that name. This island, and the city in it, were called Rhodes, as some think, from roses, with which it might abound, or because of the beautifulness of the place; and others, that it had its name from (dwry) "Jarod", which, in the Chaldee and Syriac languages, signifies a serpent; and so it was called Ophiusa from the multitude of serpents in it F2; though others say it took its name from Rhodia, a fair and beautiful maid beloved by Apollo. This island, in the "seventh" century, about the year 653, was taken by Mauvia, king of the Saracens, who sold the colossus, which lay on the ground ever since the earthquake, to a merchant, who is said to load nine hundred camels with the brass of it: it afterwards came into the hands of the Christians, and in the year 1522 was taken by Solyman the Turk, after a siege of six months, being betrayed by Andreas Meralius, a Portuguese knight F3. When the Gospel was first preached here, and a church state formed, cannot be said; but in the beginning of the "fourth" century there was a bishop of this place in the council of Nice; and in the "fifth" century there was a church here, and it was a metropolitan; and in the "sixth" century a bishop of this place was in the fifth Roman synod under Symmachus; and in the "seventh" century a bishop of Rhodes assisted in the sixth council at Constantinople; and in the same century it was taken by the Saracenes, as before observed, when the church here was the metropolitan of the Cyclades: and yet in the "eighth" century, Leo, bishop of this place, was in the Nicene synod; and even though in the ninth century it was grievously harassed by the Saracens, yet its church state was not quite destroyed F4.

And from thence to Patara;
Beza's ancient copy adds, "and Myra": see ( Acts 27:5 ) a city of Lycia: hence it is called by Herodotus F5, and Pliny F6, Patara of Lycia, and mentioned with Rhodes: it was famous for the temple of Apollo, which was in it, in which answers were given six months in the year, and were on equal credit with the oracle at Delphos F7; the Arabic version here calls it Sparta. According to Pliny F8 it was first called Sataros. Some say it had its name Patara from Paturus, the son of Apollo; Ptolomy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, having enlarged it, called it after his sister's name, Arsinoe. How long the apostle stayed in this place is not known, nor whether he preached here, nor if he did, what success he had: in the "second" century, the statues of Jupiter and Apollo were in this, place: in the "fourth" century, there was a church here, and a bishop of it: and in the "sixth" century, a bishop of the church at Patara was in the fifth synod at Rome and Constantinople: and in the "eighth" century, Anastasius, bishop of this place, was in the Nicene synod F11.


F13 Xenophon. Cyropaedia, l. 2. c. 14.
F14 Arcadica, sive l. 8. p. 526.
F15 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 31.
F16 Ib. l. 11. c. 22, 23.
F17 Polyhistor. c. 12.
F18 Apollodorus de Orig. Deorum, l. 2. p. 112.
F19 Magdeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 5, cent. 5. c. 2. p. 6. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 6.
F20 De Situ Orbis, l. 2. c. 14.
F21 Plin. l. 2. c. 62. Solin. c. 21.
F23 Itinerar. p. 30.
F24 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 87. Heraclides de Politiis, p. 456. Philo, quod mundus sit incorr. p. 959, 960.
F25 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 31.
F26 De locis Hebraicis, fol. 96. G.
F1 Nat. Hist. l. 34. c. 7.
F2 Heraclides de Politiis, p. 456. ad Calcem Aelian. Vat. Hist. Vid. Hilleri Onomasticum Sacrum, p. 918.
F3 Petav. Rationar. Temp. par. 1. l. 4. c. 5. p. 153. & l. 9. c. 11. p. 500.
F4 Magdeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 5. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 6. c. 7. p. 418. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 6. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 4. c. 3. p. 20. c. 7. p. 112. c. 16. p. 369. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 6. cent. 9. c. 2. p. 4. c. 3. p. 13.
F5 Clio, l. 1. c. 182.
F6 L. 2. c. 108. & l. 6. c. 34.
F7 Pansan. l. 9. p. 607. Mela, l. 1. c. 15. Alex. ab Alex. l. 6. c. 2.
F8 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 27.
F11 Madgeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 2. c. 15. p. 192. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 4.
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