When it had been decided that we should sail to Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion called Julius, of the Augustan cohort.
We boarded a vessel from Adramyttium bound for ports on the Asiatic coast and put to sea; we had Aristarchus with us, a Macedonian of Thessalonica.
Next day we put in at Sidon, and Julius was considerate enough to allow Paul to go to his friends to be looked after.
From there we put to sea again, but as the winds were against us we sailed under the lee of Cyprus,
then across the open sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia, taking a fortnight to reach Myra in Lycia.
There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship leaving for Italy and put us aboard.
For some days we made little headway, and we had difficulty in making Cnidus. The wind would not allow us to touch there, so we sailed under the lee of Crete off Cape Salmone
and struggled along the coast until we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.
A great deal of time had been lost, and navigation was already hazardous, since it was now well after the time of the Fast, so Paul gave them this warning,
'Friends, I can see this voyage will be dangerous and that we will run considerable risk of losing not only the cargo and the ship but also our lives as well.'
But the centurion took more notice of the captain and the ship's owner than of what Paul was saying;
and since the harbour was unsuitable for wintering, the majority were for putting out from there in the hope of wintering at Phoenix -- a harbour in Crete, facing south-west and north-west.
A southerly breeze sprang up and, thinking their objective as good as reached, they weighed anchor and began to sail past Crete, close inshore.
But it was not long before a hurricane, the 'north-easter' as they call it, burst on them from across the island.
The ship was caught and could not keep head to wind, so we had to give way to the wind and let ourselves be driven.
We ran under the lee of a small island called Cauda and managed with some difficulty to bring the ship's boat under control.
Having hauled it up they used it to undergird the ship; then, afraid of running aground on the Syrtis banks, they floated out the sea-anchor and so let themselves drift.
As we were thoroughly storm-bound, the next day they began to jettison the cargo,
and the third day they threw the ship's gear overboard with their own hands.
For a number of days both the sun and the stars were invisible and the storm raged unabated until at last we gave up all hope of surviving.
Then, when they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among the men. 'Friends,' he said, 'you should have listened to me and not put out from Crete. You would have spared yourselves all this damage and loss.
But now I ask you not to give way to despair. There will be no loss of life at all, only of the ship.
Last night there appeared beside me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,
and he said, "Do not be afraid, Paul. You are destined to appear before Caesar, and God grants you the safety of all who are sailing with you."
So take courage, friends; I trust in God that things will turn out just as I was told;
but we are to be stranded on some island.'
On the fourteenth night we were being driven one way and another in the Adriatic, when about midnight the crew sensed that land of some sort was near.
They took soundings and found twenty fathoms; after a short interval they sounded again and found fifteen fathoms.
Then, afraid that we might run aground somewhere on a reef, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.
When the crew tried to escape from the ship and lowered the ship's boat into the sea as though they meant to lay out anchors from the bows, Paul said to the centurion and his men,
'Unless those men stay on board you cannot hope to be saved.'
So the soldiers cut the boat's ropes and let it drop away.
Just before daybreak Paul urged them all to have something to eat. 'For fourteen days', he said, 'you have been in suspense, going hungry and eating nothing.
I urge you to have something to eat; your safety depends on it. Not a hair of any of your heads will be lost.'
With these words he took some bread, gave thanks to God in view of them all, broke it and began to eat.
They all plucked up courage and took something to eat themselves.
In all we were two hundred and seventy-six souls on board that ship.
When they had eaten what they wanted they lightened the ship by throwing the corn overboard into the sea.
When day came they did not recognise the land, but they could make out a bay with a beach; they planned to run the ship aground on this if they could.
They slipped the anchors and let them fall into the sea, and at the same time loosened the lashings of the rudders; then, hoisting the foresail to the wind, they headed for the beach.
But the cross-currents carried them into a shoal and the vessel ran aground. The bows were wedged in and stuck fast, while the stern began to break up with the pounding of the waves.
The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners for fear that any should swim off and escape.
But the centurion was determined to bring Paul safely through and would not let them carry out their plan. He gave orders that those who could swim should jump overboard first and so get ashore,
and the rest follow either on planks or on pieces of wreckage. In this way it happened that all came safe and sound to land.
The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) is a Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985. The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) has become the most widely used Roman Catholic Bible outside of the United States. It has the imprimatur of Cardinal George Basil Hume.
Like its predecessor, the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) version is translated "directly from the Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic." The 1973 French translation, the Bible de Jerusalem, is followed only "where the text admits to more than one interpretation." Introductions and notes, with some modifications, are taken from the Bible de Jerusalem.
Source: The Very Reverend Dom (Joseph) Henry Wansbrough, OSB, MA (Oxon), STL (Fribourg), LSS (Rome), a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and a biblical scholar. He was General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible. "New Jerusalem Bible, Regular Edition", pg. v.
Ten Commandments | Books of the Bible | Buy a Bible
Reading 1, Sirach 6:5-17:
A kindly turn of speech attracts new friends, a courteous tongue invites many a friendly response. ... Psalm, Psalms 119:12, 16, 18, 27, 34, 35:
Blessed are you, Yahweh, teach me your will! Gospel, Mark 10:1-12:
After leaving there, he came into the territory of Judaea and Transjordan. And again crowds ... Read More