Acts 27:29

Lest haply we should be cast ashore on rocky ground (mh pou kata tracei topou ekpeswmen). The usual construction after a verb of fearing (mh and the aorist subjunctive ekpeswmen). Literally, "Lest somewhere (pou) we should fall out down against (kata) rocky places." The change in the soundings made it a very real fear. Tracei (rough) is old adjective, but in the N.T. only here and Luke 3:5 (from Isaiah 40:4 ). Four anchors (agkura tessara). Old word from agkh. In N.T. only in this chapter, with riptw here, with ekteinw in verse Isaiah 30 , with periairew in verse Isaiah 40 ; and Hebrews 6:19 (figuratively of hope). From the stern (ek prumnh). Old word, but in N.T. only in Mark 4:38 ; here and Acts 27:41 in contrast with prwira (prow). The usual practice was and is to anchor by the bows. "With a view to running the ship ashore anchoring from the stern would, it is said, be best" (Page). Nelson is quoted as saying that he had been reading Acts 27:1 ff. the morning of the Battle of Copenhagen (April, 1801) where he anchored his ships from the stern. Wished for the day (huconto). Imperfect middle, kept on praying for "day to come" (hmeran genesqai) before the anchors broke under the strain of the storm or began to drag. If the ship had been anchored from the prow, it would have swung round and snapped the anchors or the stern would have faced the beach.