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PAUL IN THE STORM
Acts xxvii: 1, to xxviii: 1.
HEN Paul chose to be tried before Caesar the emperor which
was his right as a Roman, it became necessary to send
him from Caesarea in Judea to Rome in Italy, where
Caesar lived. In those years there were no ships
sailing at regular times from city to city, but people
who wished to go to places over the sea waited until
they could find ships with loads sailing to those
places. Paul and some other prisoners were given into
the charge of a Roman centurion or captain named
Julius, to be taken to Rome. Julius found a ship
sailing from Caesarea to places on the shore of Asia
Minor, which would take them a part of the way to Rome.
He took Paul and the other prisoners on board this
ship, and with Paul went his friends, Luke the doctor
and Aristarchus from Thessalonica. Perhaps Timothy
also was with them, but of this we are not certain.
They set sail from Caesarea, after Paul had been in
prison more than two years; and they followed the coast
northward to Sidon. There they stopped for a day; and
Julius the centurion was very kind to Paul, and let him
go ashore to see his friends who were living there.
From Sidon they turned to the northwest and sailed past
the island of Cyprus, and then westward by the shore of
Asia Minor. At a city called Myra they left the ship,
and went on board another ship, which was sailing from
Alexandria to Italy with a load of wheat from the
fields of Egypt.
Soon a heavy wind began to blow against the ship, and
it sailed very slowly for many days; but at last came
to the large island of Crete, and followed its southern
shore in the face of the wind until they found a
harbor, and they stayed for a few days. But this
harbor was not a good one, and they thought to leave it
and sail to another.
Paul now said to them, "Sirs, I see that this voyage
 with great loss to the load and the ship,
and with great danger to the lives of us all."
And he urged them to stay where they were at anchor.
But the owner of the ship and its captain thought that
they might sail in safety; and Julius the centurion
listened to them rather than to Paul. So when a gentle
south wind began to blow, they set sail once more,
closely following the shore of the island of Crete.
But soon the wind grew into a great storm, and the ship
could not face it, and was driven out of its course.
Behind the ship was a little boat, and this they drew
up on board; and as the ship creaked and seemed in
danger of going to pieces, they tied ropes around it to
hold it together.
The storm grew and drove the ship away from the island
into the open sea. To make the vessel lighter they
threw overboard a part of the load; and the next day
they cast into the sea all the loose ropes and
everything on the ship that could be spared.
Day after day went on, with no sight of the sun, and
night after night with no sight of the stars. The
great waves rolled over the ship and beat upon it,
until those on board hardly hoped to save their lives.
In their fear, for days the men and the prisoners had
eaten nothing. But in the midst of the storm, Paul
stood up among them and said:
"Sirs, you should have listened to me, and not have set
sail from Crete, for then we might have been saved much
harm and loss. But even as it is, be of good cheer;
for though the ship will be lost, all of us on board
shall be saved. This night there stood by me an angel
of the Lord, to whom I belong, and whom I serve, and
the angel said to me, 'Fear not, Paul; you shall yet
stand before Caesar; and God has given to you all those
who are sailing with you.'
PAUL IN THE STORM AT SEA
"Now friends, be of good cheer; for I believe God, that
it shall be even as the angel said to me. But we must
cast upon some island."
When the storm had lasted fourteen days, at night the
sailors thought that they were coming near to land.
They dropped down the line and found that the water was
twenty fathoms deep: then after a little they let down
the line again and found the water only fifteen fathoms
deep. They were sure now that land was near, but they
were afraid that the ship might be driven upon the
rocks; so they
 threw out from the stern or
rear-end four anchors to hold the ship; and then they
longed for the day to come.
The sailors let down the little boat, saying that they
would throw out some more anchors from the bow, or
front of the ship, but really intending to row away in
the boat and leave the ship and all on board to be
destroyed. But Paul saw their purpose, and he said to
the centurion, "Unless these sailors stay in the ship
none of us can be saved."
Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and
let it fall off, so that the sailors could not get
away. And as it drew toward daylight, Paul urged them
all to take some food. He said:
"This is the fourteenth day that you have waited
without any food. Now I beg of you to eat, for you
need it to keep your lives safely. You will all be
saved; not an hair shall fall from the head of one of
He took some bread and gave thanks to God before them
all; then he broke it and began to eat. This
encouraged all the others, so that they too took food.
There were in all on board the ship, sailors, and
soldiers, and prisoners, and others, two hundred and
seventy-six people. After they had eaten enough they
threw out into the sea what was left of its load of
wheat, so that the ship might be less heavy upon the
waves, and might go nearer to the shore.
As soon as the day dawned, they could see land, but did
not know what land it was. They saw a bay with a
beach, into which they thought that they might run the
ship. So they cut loose the anchors, leaving them in
the sea, and they hoisted up the foresail to the wind,
and made toward the shore. The ship ran aground and
the front end was stuck fast in the sand, but the rear
part began to break in pieces from the beating of the
Now came another danger, just as they were beginning to
hope for their lives. By the Roman law, a soldier who
had charge of a prisoner must take his prisoner's place
if he escaped from his care. These soldiers feared
that their prisoners might swim ashore and get free.
So they asked the centurion to let them kill all the
prisoners, while they were still on board the ship.
But Julius the centurion loved Paul, and to save Paul's
life, kept them from killing the prisoners. He
commanded that those who could swim should leap
overboard and get first to the land. Then the rest
 went ashore, some on planks, and some on broken
pieces of the ship. And all came safe to the shore,
not one life being lost.
And then they found that they were on the island of
Melita, which is in the Great Sea, south of the larger
island of Sicily.