Acts 27:27

27 About midnight on the fourteenth night of the storm, as we were being driven across the Sea of Adria, the sailors sensed land was near.

Acts 27:27 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 27:27

But when the fourteenth night was come
From their setting out from the Fair Havens in Crete, or from the beginning of the storm:

as they were driven up and down in Adria:
or "in the Adriatic sea", as the Syriac version renders it: the Adriatic sea is now called by the Turks the gulf of Venice, and the straits of Venice, and sometimes the Venetian sea F9; but formerly the Adriatic sea included more than the Venetian gulf; it took in the Ionian and Sicilian seas, and had its name from the city Adria, a colony of the Tuscans F11. It is called by Ptolomy F12 Hadria, and reckoned a city of the Picenes. Pliny F13 places it near the river Padus, and calls it Atriae, a town of the Tuscans, which had a famous port, from whence the sea was before called Atriatic, which is now Adriatic. Adria, Justin F14 says, which is near to the Illyrian sea, and gave name to the Adriatic sea, is a Grecian city; and from this place the ancestors of Adrian, the Roman emperor, originally came; and all the sea between Illyricum and Italy is called the Adriatic; and from the beginning of it, which is at the city of Venice, unto Garganus, a mountain in Italy, and Dyrrachium, a city of Macedonia, it is 600 miles in length, and its largest breadth is 200, and the least 150, and the mouth of it 60. The other part of the sea, which washes Macedonia and Epirus, is called the Ionian sea. Moreover, this whole sea is called the superior sea, with respect to the Tyrrhenian, which dashes the other shore of Italy, and is called the inferior F15. In this same sea, Josephus F16, the historian, was shipwrecked as he was on a voyage to Rome: his account is this;

``I came to Rome, having gone through many dangers by sea, for our ship being sunk in the middle of Adria, being in number about six hundred, we swam all night; and about break of day, by the providence of God, a ship of Cyrene appeared to us, in which I, and some others, in all eighty, getting before the rest, were received into it, and so got safe to Dicearchia, which the Italians call Puteoli;''

a place afterwards mentioned, where the apostle also arrived. And the sea itself is often, by the poets F17 called Adria, as here, and is represented as a very troublesome sea; and here Paul, and the ship's company, were driven to and fro by the storm,

when about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some
about the middle of the night the mariners thought, by some observations they made, that they were nigh land; or, as it is in the Greek text, "that some country drew near to them"; which well agrees with the language and sense of seafaring persons, to whose sight the land seems to draw near them, or depart from them, when they draw near, or depart from that: the Ethiopic version is, "they thought they should have seen a city"; they had a notion of some city near; and the Arabic version, "they thought to know in what country, or place" they were; and therefore did as follows.


F9 Hyde not. in Peritzol. Itinera Mundi, p. 53, 54.
F11 Alex. ab. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 28.
F12 Geograph. l. 3. c. 1.
F13 Nat. Hist. l. 3. c. 16.
F14 Hist ex Trogo, l. 20. c. 1.
F15 Pausanias, Eliac. 1. sive, l. 5. p. 337.
F16 In Vita sua, sect. 3. p. 905.
F17 Horat. Carnin. l. 1. ode 3. & l. 3. ode. 3. 9. Ovid. Trist, l. 1, eleg. 11.

Acts 27:27 In-Context

25 So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said.
26 But we will be shipwrecked on an island.”
27 About midnight on the fourteenth night of the storm, as we were being driven across the Sea of Adria, the sailors sensed land was near.
28 They dropped a weighted line and found that the water was 120 feet deep. But a little later they measured again and found it was only 90 feet deep.
29 At this rate they were afraid we would soon be driven against the rocks along the shore, so they threw out four anchors from the back of the ship and prayed for daylight.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The Sea of Adria includes the central portion of the Mediterranean.
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