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Chapter 27

1When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were turned over to an officer of the Imperial regiment, named Julius. 2We went on board an Adramyttian ship bound for the ports of Asia, and put to sea. We had a Macedonian from Thessalonica, named Aristarchus, with us. 3The next day we put in at Sidon, and Julius kindly allowed Paul to go and see his friends and be taken care of. 4Putting to sea from there, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, as the wind was against us, 5and after traversing the Cilician and Pamphylian waters, we reached Myra in Lycia. 6There the officer found an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy, and put us on board her. 7For a number of days we made slow progress and had some difficulty in arriving off Cnidus. Then as the wind kept us from going on, we sailed under the lee of Crete, off Cape Salmone, 8and with difficulty coasted along it and reached a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

9As a great deal of time had now passed, and navigation had become dangerous, for the autumn fast was already over, Paul began to warn them.

10“Gentlemen,” he said, “I see that this voyage is likely to end in disaster and heavy loss, not only to ship and cargo but to our own lives also.”

11But the officer was more influenced by the pilot and the captain than by what Paul had to say, 12and as the harbor was not fit to winter in, the majority favored putting to sea again, in the hope of being able to reach and winter in Phoenix, a harbor in Crete facing west-south-west and west-north-west. 13When a moderate south wind sprang up, thinking their object was within reach, they weighed anchor, and ran close along the coast of Crete. 14But very soon a violent wind which they call a Northeaster rushed down from it. 15The ship was caught by it and could not face the wind, so we gave way and let her run before it. 16As we passed under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with great difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. 17After hoisting it on board, they used ropes to brace the ship, and as they were afraid of being cast on the Syrtis banks, they lowered the sail, and let the ship drift. 18The next day, as the storm continued to be violent, they began to throw the cargo overboard, 19and on the next, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20For a number of days neither the sun nor the stars were visible, and the storm continued to rage, until at last we gave up all hope of being saved. 21Then, when they had gone a long time without food, Paul got up among them, and said,

“Gentlemen, you ought to have listened to me and not to have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. 22Even now, I beg you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23For last night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood before me, 24and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before the emperor, and see! God has given you the lives of all the people who are on the ship with you.’ 25So keep up your courage, gentlemen! For I have faith in God that it will be just as I was told. 26But we are to be stranded on some island.”

27It was the fourteenth night of the storm, and we were drifting through the Adriatic when about midnight the sailors began to suspect that there was land ahead. 28On taking soundings, they found a depth of twenty fathoms, and a little later, taking soundings again, they found a depth of fifteen. 29Then as they were afraid we might go on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and waited anxiously for daylight. 30The sailors wanted to escape from the ship, and actually lowered the boat into the sea, pretending that they were going to run out anchors from the bow, 31but Paul said to the officers and the soldiers,

“You cannot be saved unless these men stay on board.”

32Then the soldiers cut the ropes that held the boat and let it drift away. 33Until daybreak Paul kept urging them all to take something to eat.

“For fourteen days,” he said, “you have been constantly on the watch, without taking anything to eat. 34I beg you to eat something; it is necessary for your safety. For not one of you will lose even a hair of his head.”

35With these words he took some bread and after thanking God for it before them all, he broke it in pieces and began to eat it. 36This raised the spirits of all of them, and they took something to eat. 37There were about seventy-six of us on board. 38When they had had enough to eat, they threw the wheat into the sea, in order to lighten the ship. 39When daylight came they could not recognize the coast, but they saw a bay with a beach and determined to run the ship ashore there if possible. 40So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time they undid the lashings of the steering oars, and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. 41But they struck a shoal and ran the ship aground. The bow struck and could not be moved, while the stern began to break up under the strain. 42The soldiers proposed to kill the prisoners, for fear some of them might swim ashore and escape, 43but the officer wanted to save Paul, and so he prevented them from doing this, and ordered all who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land, 44and the rest to follow on planks or other pieces of wreckage. So they all got safely to land.

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