Acts 28:11-16 — Paul Completes His Voyage to Rome

11 After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island.

12 And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days.

13 From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli,

14 where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome.

15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

16 Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.

after three months (v.11) — probably near the end of February

Alexandrian ship (v.11) — probably also carrying grain

Twin Brothers (v.11) — Castor and Pollux were the mythical sons of Jupiter by Leda (wife of Tyndarus, king of Sparta). They are supposed to have cleared the Hellespont and the adjacent seas of pirates, and so were deemed the protectors of navigation. During a violent storm, flames of fire are said to have been seen playing round their heads, whereupon the tempest ceased. The pale, blue lights which are sometimes seen by sailors at the mast head during thundery weather were regarded as connected with their presence and help. They were thus considered the tutelary deities of sailors, who were accustomed to pray and make vows to them for safety. They are supposed to have been translated to the sky and were identified with the stars of the same name … the twin stars of the constellation Gemini. — The Acts of the Apostles, by Thomas Walker, pages 573-574.

Syracuse (v.12) — The chief town of Sicily, just above its southeastern corner. It was the capital of the eastern half of the island, and had formerly been the seat of a famous Greek colony. The run from Malta was only about 100 miles, so they probably arrived the day after embarkation. — Walker, page 574.

circled round (v.13) — The wind was unfavorable and the ship had to tack repeatedly and beat into the wind.

Rhegium (v.13) — The modern Reggio, a town near the southwestern extremity of Italy, and opposite to the Sicilian Messina, at the narrowest part of the Straits. It was famous, in the days of ancient navigation, as having the rock of Scylla near it and the whirlpool of Carybdis opposite to it. Sailors were wont to make or pay vows to Castor and Pollux who were specially worshiped there. A famous Greek colony had formerly flourished there. The distance from Syracuse is about 80 miles (direct). — Walker, page 574.

south wind (v.13) — favorable to their voyage

Puteoli (v.13) — The modern Pozzuoli, in the Bay of Naples. It was the chief port of Rome, 140 miles distant from the great city to the southeast. Puteoli was the great commercial center of Italy and the emporium for the extensive trade which was carried on with the east. A considerable Jewish population had gathered there. — Walker, page 575.

Appii Forum (v.15) — It was 43 miles distant from Rome, on the great Appian Road which ran from the capital to Brundisium. A branch road from Puteoli joined it at Capua, from which town Paul and his companions traversed the road. Appii Forum probably derived its name from Appius Claudius the censor (313-310 B.C.) who constructed a great part of the road. It was a place where travelers changes horses, etc. — Walker, page 577.

The Three Taverns (v.15) — It was ten miles nearer Rome than Appii Forum, situated at a spot where a branch road went off to Antium and the sea coast. The word “tavern” would apply, in Latin usage, to shops and wooden constructions of all kinds, and so probably denotes an inn or resting-place for travelers. — Walker, page 577.

Paul longed to meet the believers in Rome (Romans 1:11-13). Now (v.15), when he meets them on the road, he thanks God.

Rome (v.16) — The capital of Italy. It was situated on the river Tiber, 15 miles from the sea and was built on seven hills, its first foundation being assigned to the tribe of the Latins in 753 B.C. It contained, at this period, a population of about one and a half millions, and whas rich in handsome buildings, the great Colosseum being stupendous. It was surrounded with massive walls and had several large entrance gates, from which Roman roads branched out as the arteries of communication with the world beyond. — Walker, page 576.

captain of the guard (v.16) — The Stratopedarch is usually identified with the captain of the Praetorian Guard, who, at the time, was Burrus, a kindly and virtuous man. If Julius were one of the Frumentarii or special service centurions, he would naturally hand over his charge to his superior officer. — Walker, page 578.

soldier who guarded him (v.16) — Paul was probably shackled to this guard by a chain (v.20). He may have been living in a private house, but still as a prisoner. The soldiers guarding Paul would have taken turns, which accounts for Paul’s statement in Philippians 1:13 that the gospel has become known to the entire palace guard.

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