The Book of Acts: Chapter 27 (pt 4 of 11)

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Not long after this, a hurricane-force wind called the northeaster blew down from the island. When the ship was caught in it and could not head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. As we ran under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were able with difficulty to get the ship’s boat under control. After the crew had hoisted it aboard, they used supports to undergird the ship. Fearing they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor, thus letting themselves be driven along. The next day, because we were violently battered by the storm, they began throwing the cargo overboard, and on the third day they threw the ship’s gear overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and a violent storm continued to batter us, we finally abandoned all hope of being saved —Acts 27:14-20

Without warning, a hurricane-force wind blew down from the island. The winds were so strong, there was no nothing to do but allow the ship to be driven in the opposite direction from their heading. For a short time, they enjoyed some protection from the winds, thanks to a small island named Cauda. It seems to be during this time that the crew took advantage of the situation and were able, with difficulty, to hoist the ship’s boat onto the deck. The irony here is that they took great efforts to save this small boat, which must have doubled as a kind of lifeboat. This boat will not be a means of escape, but will eventually be cut loose and set adrift.

Once they lashed down the ship’s boat, the crew began to secure the ship with cables that would undergird the vessel. They expected that this storm would put a lot of stress on this heavily laden ship, and extra measures would have to be taken in an effort to keep the ship from breaking apart. Fearing that the ship, now at the mercy of the winds, might run aground, they let out the ship’s anchor to slow its movement. When the storm was just as relentless the next day, they began throwing the ship’s cargo overboard, followed by any of the ship’s gear that was not essential. Lightening the load would reduce the strain on the ship, and it would allow the vessel to sit higher in the water. Besides, the ship would likely take on water from the rough seas. The storm continued to pound the ship and passengers for many days. Finally, they gave up all hope of being saved. It was just a matter of time until they all perished at sea, or so it seemed.

“Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?”
(Gordon Lightfoot)

Nearly all the translations I have read convey the sense of the original text here, which is that hope slowly faded away as time passed, until at last it was gone. No one even dared to believe they would survive this storm.

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts


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