Acts 28:1

Paul on Malta

1 After we were brought safely through, 1we then learned that 2the island was called Malta.

Acts 28:1 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 28:1

And when they were escaped
From the danger they were exposed to by shipwreck, and were got safe to land; this is omitted in the Syriac version:

then they knew that the island was called Melita;
an island toward the African shore, where it is placed both by Pliny F7, and Ptolomy {h}; in which, the latter says, was the city Melita: it lies between Sicily and Tripolis of Barbary, and is now called Malta: it was famous for the knights of Rhodes, which are now called the knights of Malta: it has its name from (jlm) , "to escape", it being formerly a refuge to the Phoenicians, especially in stormy weather, in their long voyage from Tyre to Gades; and was indeed a place of escape to the Apostle Paul, and those that were with him. And perhaps it might be so called from its being a refuge for pirates; for Cicero F9 says, here pirates used to winter almost every year, and yet did not spoil the temple of Juno, as Verres did: though some say it was so called from the great abundance of honey found in it; for it was a very pleasant and fruitful island, bringing forth great plenty of wheat, rye, flax, cummin, cotton, figs, wine, roses, thyme, lavender, and many other sweet and delightful herbs, from whence bees did gather great plenty of honey. It was, according to Pliny, distant from Camerina eighty four miles, and from Lilybaeum a hundred and thirteen; and it is said to be distant from the promontory of Sicily an hundred miles, though others say sixty; and that it was so far from Syracuse, which is the next place the apostle came to in this voyage, was from Africa an hundred and ninety miles. On the east side, a little from the chief city of it, now called Malta, was a famous temple of Juno, spoiled by Verres, as before observed; and on the south side another of Hercules, the ruins of both which are yet to be seen. The compass of the island is about sixty miles, the length twenty, and the breadth twelve, and has in it five ports, and about sixty villages.


F7 Nat. Hist. l 3. c. 8.
F8 Geograph. l. 4. c. 3.
F9 Orat. 9. in Verrem, c. 17.

Acts 28:1 In-Context

1 After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta.
2 The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.
3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.
4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live."
5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

Cross References 2