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THE VOYAGE TO JERUSALEM
1. THE SECOND EUROPEAN JOURNEY.
(XX 1) AND AFTER THE RIOT CEASED, PAUL, HAVING SENT FOR THE DISCIPLES AND EXHORTED THEM, BADE THEM FAREWELL, AND DEPARTED TO MAKE HIS WAY INTO MACEDONIA. (2) AND HAVING MADE A PROGRESS THROUGH THOSE QUARTERS, AND EXHORTED THEM WITH MUCH PREACHING, HE WENT INTO GREECE. (3) AND HE SPENT THREE MONTHS there.
Paul took a coasting vessel from Ephesus, we may be sure; and, as was often the case, he had to transship in Troas. Here “a door was opened to him” (II Cor. II 12). Doubtless he had to wait some time for a passage to Macedonia; for, though in January a passage could be easily obtained along the safe Asian coast, it was more difficult to find opportunity for the longer voyage over the open sea to Macedonia; perhaps none was found till general navigation began, March 5. It is probable that already in the voyages between Ephesus and Macedonia, the new teaching had effected a lodging in Troas (XIX 10);and in the delay there, Paul had a good opening. In Troas Paul had expected to meet Titus; and was much disappointed that he was not there. At the same time he was greatly dispirited by the strong opposition which had driven him prematurely from Ephesus (II Cor. I 8 f.); and was in a depressed frame of mind owing to ill-health (ib. IV 7 f.).
Titus is the most enigmatic figure in early Christian history. His omission from Acts has been alluded to (P. 59). He enters on the stage of history for a short time in A.D. 45–6, and then we hear nothing of him, until we learn that Paul expected to find him in Troas in January or February 56. He was now on his way from Corinth to Macedonia; and he joined Paul after he had arrived at Philippi in February or March, bringing a detailed report of the state of the Corinthian Church. Now in II Cor. Titus is prominent to a degree unique in Paul’s letters; he is named nine times, and always with marked affection and distinction. Why, then, is he never mentioned in I Cor.?. There is one satisfactory reason, and only one, so far as I can judge: he was the bearer of the first letter.4646Suggested as possible by Dr. Plumptre in Intro. to II Cor. p. 359. His special interest in Corinth is mentioned, VII 15, VIII 16. He was eager to return on a second mission to Corinth, VIII 17, and along with him Paul sent the Brother whose praise in the delivery of the good tidings was spread over all the Churches (Luke, according to an early tradition), and another, who was selected on account of the confidence that he felt in the Corinthians. It may be safely assumed that the Titus of II Cor. is the same Titus that is mentioned in Gal II 1.
Titus, then, had been sent on his first mission to Corinth in autumn 55, probably by direct ship. He could not come back across the open sea during the winter (Nov. 10 to March 5), and must take a coasting voyage by Macedonia. Paul expected to find him in Troas; but he was detained too long, and met Paul in Philippi in February or early March 56; and he returned thence on a second mission to Corinth.
As Titus was at hand in Ephesus about October 55, it is hardly open to doubt that he had been in Paul’s company on the whole of the third journey. It is equally clear that he had not been with Paul on the first or the second journey, for he is mentioned in Gal. II 1 as a stranger to the Galatians, whose Greek birth had to be explained to them. Probably it was his Greek origin that had prevented Paul from taking him as a companion on earlier journeys.
We have seen how careful Paul was to conciliate the Jews on his second journey; and we may fairly consider that the grumbling of the Jews in Jerusalem in 46 (even when Titus was bringing food to them) had warned Paul that it was not expedient to have Titus with him when he entered the synagogues of strange cities. For his companions on the second journey he selected Silas, a Jewish Roman, and Timothy, half-Greek, half-Jew. Finally, on his third journey, when he was putting down the Judaising tendency in Galatia, he took Titus with him by a carefully planned stroke of policy: one of the arguments by which the Judaisers proved that Judaic Christianity was the higher stage was that Paul had circumcised Timothy before promoting him to an office of trust. He replied by taking Titus with him to Galatia; and from II Cor. we gather that Titus proved one of the most congenial and useful of his assistants. The space which he fills in II Cor.4747 II 13, VII 6 f., 13 f., VIII 6 f., 16-24, XII 18. is a unique fact in Paul’s letters; and in the loving and tender sympathy of Paul’s language about him we may read a wish to compensate for the neglect that had during many years sacrificed him to the thankless policy of conciliating the Jews.
The importance of Titus in subsequent years confirms the impression derived from II Cor. He seems to have remained in Europe when Paul went to Jerusalem in March 57. At a later time he was sent to Dalmatia, II Tim. IV 10; and near the end of Paul’s career he was entrusted with the general oversight of the Churches in Crete, Tit. I 5.
Paul spent the summer and autumn of 56 in Macedonia. He found Timothy waiting him either in Thessalonica or in Bercea; and they joined in addressing the second letter to the Corinthians, enforcing in a more personal way the instructions already sent through the three envoys who had come from Philippi. The common view (which is as old as the subscription added in some MSS. to the letter), that the envoys carried with them II Cor., seems improbable. In winter Paul went on to Hellas (the Greek term for the country forming the main part of the Roman province), and spent December, January. and February in Corinth.
2. THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE FOUR PROVINCES.
(3) AND WHEN HE HAD SPENT THREE MONTHS, AND A PLOT WAS LAID AGAINST HIM BY THE JEWS WHILE HE WAS ON THE POINT OF SETTING SAIL FOR SYRIA, HE ADOPTED THE PLAN OF MAKING HIS RETURN JOURNEY to Jerusalem THROUGH MACEDONIA. (4) AND THERE ACCOMPANIED HIM on the journey to Jerusalem SOPATER, SON OF PYRRHUS OF BEREA, AND on the part OF THE THESSALONIANS ARISTARCHUS AND SECUNDUS, AND GAIUS OF DERBE AND TIMOTHY, AND THE ASIANS TYCHICUS AND TROPHIMUS (NOW THESE Asian delegates, COMING TO MEET US, AWAITED US IN TROAS). (5) AND WE SAILED AWAY FROM PHILIPPI AFTER THE DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD, AND CAME UNTO THEM TO TROAS.
At the opening of navigation, Paul had arranged to sail from Corinth to Jerusalem, obviously with the intention of celebrating the Passover there; but the discovery of a Jewish plot to kill him altered his plans. The style of this plot can be easily imagined. Paul’s intention must have been to take a pilgrim ship carrying Achaian and Asian Jews to the Passover (p. 264). With a shipload of hostile Jews, it would be easy to find opportunity to murder Paul. He therefore abandoned the proposed voyage and sailed for Macedonia, where he easily arrived in time to celebrate the Passover in Philippi.
It is clear that the plot was discovered at the last moment, when delegates from the Churches had already assembled. The European delegates were to sail from Corinth, the Asian from Ephesus, where doubtless the pilgrim ship would call (as in 53, P. 264). When the plan was changed, word was sent to the Asian delegates; and they went as far as Troas to meet the others, for in ancient voyages it could be calculated with certainty that Paul’s company would put in at that harbour.
The purpose of this numerous company is not stated in this part of the text; but in XXIV 17, Paul says: “I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings,” and the reason is often alluded to in the Epistles to Corinth and Rome. In Rom. XV 25, written from Corinth about Jan. 57, Paul says: “Now I go unto Jerusalem, acting as an administrator of relief to the saints”. The scheme of a general contribution collected week by week for a long time in all the Pauline Churches of Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia, has been well described by Mr. Rendall (Expositor, Nov. 1893, p. 321). The great importance which Paul attached to this contribution, and to the personal distribution of the fund (δαικονία), is attested, not merely by the long and careful planning of the scheme, and by the numerous body of delegates who carried it to Jerusalem, but also by his determination to conduct the delegates personally, in spite of all the dangers which, as he knew, awaited him there: “I go constrained by the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing what shall befall me there, save that the Holy Spirit testifieth unto me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me”. It is evident that he thought this scheme the crowning act of his work in these four provinces; and as soon as it was over, his purpose was to go to Rome and the West (p. 255), and cease for the time his work in the Eastern provinces (XX 25).
The scheme is not alluded to in the letter to the Galatian Churches: but it seems to have been inaugurated there by oral instructions during the third visit (I Cor. XVI 1). The mission of Timothy and of Titus in 56 doubtless helped to carry it out in Europe. Luke evidently took it up with special zeal, and he was from an early date selected as one of the administrators who were to carry it to Jerusalem (II Cor. VIII 19). In the list, v. 4, Luke omits his own name, but suggests his presence by his familiar device. No representative from Achaia is on the list; but perhaps we may understand that the Corinthians had asked Paul himself to bear their contribution, the amount of which he praises (II Cor. IX 2).
In v. 4 we have probably a case like XVI 19 f., in which the authority hesitated between two constructions, and left an unfinished sentence containing elements of two forms. The facts were probably as stated in our rendering; and it would lead too far to discuss the sentence, which perhaps never received the author’s final revision.
3. THE VOYAGE TO TROAS.
(XX 6) WE SAILED AWAY FROM PHILIPPI AFTER THE DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD, AND CAME UNTO THEM TO TROAS IN FIVE DAYS; AND THERE WE TARRIED SEVEN DAYS. (7) AND ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK WHEN WE WERE GATHERED TOGETHER TO BREAK BREAD, PAUL DISCOURSED WITH THEM, BEING ABOUT TO DEPART ON THE MORROW; AND HE PROLONGED HIS SPEECH UNTIL MIDNIGHT . . . (13) AND WE, GOING BEFORE TO THE SHIP, SET SAIL FOR ASSOS.
In A.D. 57 Passover fell on Thursday, April 7. The company left Philippi on the morning of Friday, April 15, and the journey to Troas lasted till the fifth day, Tuesday, April 19. In Troas they stayed seven days, the first of which was April 19, and the last, Monday, April 25. Luke’s rule is to state first the whole period of residence, and then some details of the residence (see pp. 153, 256, and XIX 10). On the Sunday evening just before the start, the whole congregation
(XX 7) AND UPON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, WHEN WE WERE GATHERED TOGETHER TO BREAK BREAD, PAUL DISCOURSED TO THEM, INTENDING TO GO AWAY ON THE MORROW; AND HE PROLONGED HIS SPEECH UNTIL MIDNIGHT. (8) AND THERE WERE MANY LIGHTS IN THE UPPER CHAMBER, WHERE WE WERE GATHERED TOGETHER. (9) AND THERE SAT IN THE WINDOW A CERTAIN YOUNG MAN NAMED EUTYCHUS, WHO WAS GRADUALLY OPPRESSED BY SLEEP AS PAUL EXTENDED HIS DISCOURSE FURTHER, AND BEING BORNE DOWN BY HIS SLEEP HE FELL FROM THE THIRD STORY TO THE GROUND, AND WAS LIFTED UP DEAD. (10) AND PAUL WENT DOWN AND FELL ON HIM, AND EMBRACING HIM SAID, “MAKE YE NO ADO; FOR HIS LIFE IS IN HIM”. (11) AND HE WENT UP, AND BROKE BREAD AND ATE, AND TALKED WITH THEM A LONG WHILE, EVEN TILL BREAK OF DAY; AND THUS HE DEPARTED. (12) AND THEY BROUGHT THE LAD ALIVE, AND WERE NOT A LITTLE COMFORTED. (13) BUT WE, GOING BEFORE TO THE SHIP, SET SAIL FOR ASSOS, INTENDING TO TAKE PAUL ON BOARD FROM THENCE; FOR SO HE HAD ARRANGED, INTENDING HIMSELF TO GO BY LAND.
In this case the author vouches that Eutychus was dead, implying apparently that, as a physician, he had satisfied himself on the point In XIV 19 he had no authority for asserting that Paul was dead, but only that his enemies considered him dead.
The sequence of the narrative is remarkable: the young man fell: Paul declared he was not dead: Paul went upstairs again, partook of the common meal (conceived here as a sacrament), and conversed till break of day: they brought the young man living. But the interruption of the story of Eutychus’s fate is intentional. The narrator was present in the upper chamber, and saw Eutychus fall, and heard Paul declare that he was not dead; but he does not claim to have been a witness of the man’s recovery, and he marks the difference by a break in the narrative. The ship, having to round the projecting cape Lectum, would take longer time to reach Assos than the land journey required; and Paul stayed on to the last moment, perhaps to be assured of Eutychus’s recovery, while the other delegates went on ahead in the ship. Thus the fact that Eutychus recovered is in a sense the final incident of the stay at Troas. The Bezan reading makes the sequence clearer: “and while they were bidding farewell, they brought the young man living, and they were comforted”.
There is a very harsh change of subject in v. 12; the persons who brought the youth are not those who were comforted (as Dr. Blass points out). A similar change of subject, but not quite so harsh, occurs in XIII 2-3. The word “brought,” not “carried,” implies that Eutychus was able to come with some help.
5. THE VOYAGE TO CÆSAREIA.
(14) AND WHEN HE MET US AT ASSOS, WE TOOK HIM BOARD, AND CAME TO MITYLENE; (15) AND SAILING FROM THENCE ON THE FOLLOWING DAY, WE REACHED a point on the mainland OPPOSITE CHIOS; AND ON THE MORROW WE STRUCK ACROSS TO SAMOS, AND [AFTER MAKING A STAY AT TROGYLLIA] ON THE NEXT DAY WE CAME TO MILETUS. (16) FOR PAUL HAD DECIDED TO SAIL PAST EPHESUS, TO AVOID SPENDING TIME IN ASIA;4848Literally, “that it might not come to pass that he spent time in Asia.” FOR HE WAS HASTENING, IF IT WERE PENTECOST. (17) AND FROM MILETUS HE SENT TO EPHESUS, AND SUMMONED THE ELDERS OF THE CHURCH. (18) AND WHEN THEY WERE COME TO HIM, HE SAID UNTO THEM . . . (36) AND WHEN HE HAD THUS SPOKEN, HE KNEELED DOWN WITH THEM ALL, AND PRAYED. (37) AND THEY ALL WEPT SORE, AND FELL ON PAUL’S NECK, AND KISSED HIM, SORROWING MOST OF ALL FOR THE WORD WHICH HE HAD SPOKEN, THAT THEY WILL BEHOLD HIS FACE NO MORE. (38) AND THEY BROUGHT HIM ON HIS WAY UNTO THE SHIP. (XXI 1) AND WHEN IT CAME TO PASS THAT WE, TEARING OURSELVES FROM THEM, SET SAIL, WE MADE A STRAIGHT RUN TO COS, AND THE NEXT DAY TO RHODES, AND FROM THENCE TO PATARA [and Myra]. (2) AND, FINDING A SHIP GOING OVER SEA TO PHŒNICE, WE WENT ON BOARD AND SET SAIL. (3) AND, HAVING SIGHTED CYPRUS, LEAVING IT ON OUR LEFT, WE SAILED UNTO SYRIA, AND LANDED AT TYRE; FOR THERE THE SHIP WAS TO UNLADE. (4) AND HAVING FOUND THE DISCIPLES, WE TARRIED THERE SEVEN DAYS; AND THESE SAID THROUGH THE SPIRIT TO PAUL NOT TO SET FOOT IN JERUSALEM. (5) AND WHEN IT CAME TO PASS THAT WE HAD FINISHED OUR TIME, WE DEPARTED AND WENT ON OUR JOURNEY; AND THEY ALL, WITH WIVES AND CHILDREN, BROUGHT US ON OUR WAY TILL WE WERE OUT OF THE CITY. AND KNEELING DOWN ON THE BEACH, WE PRAYED, (6) AND BADE EACH OTHER FAREWELL; AND WE WENT ON BOARD SHIP, BUT THEY RETURNED HOME AGAIN. (7) AND FINISHING THE short RUN FROM TYRE, WE REACHED PTOLEMAIS; AND WE SALUTED THE BRETHREN AND ABODE WITH THEM ONE DAY.
The ship evidently stopped every evening. The reason lies in the wind, which in the Ægean during the summer generally blows from the north, beginning at a very early hour in the morning; in the late afternoon it dies away; at sunset there is a dead calm, and thereafter a gentle south wind arises and blows during the night. The start would be made before sunrise; and it would be necessary for all passengers to go on board soon after midnight in order to be ready to sail with the first breath from the north.
In v. 14 our translation (agreeing with Blass) assumes that the reading συνέβαλεν is correct; but the great MSS. read συνέβαλλεν, and perhaps the imperfect may be used, implying that Paul did not actually enter Assos, but was descried and taken in by boat as he was nearing the city. On Monday, April 25, they reached Mitylene before the wind fell; and on Tuesday afternoon they stopped at a point opposite Chios (probably near Cape Argennum). Hence on Wednesday morning they ran straight across to the west point of Samos, and thence kept in towards Miletus; but when the wind fell, they had not got beyond the promontory Trogyllia at the entrance to the gulf, and there, as the Bezan Text mentions, they spent the evening. Early on Thursday, April 28, they stood across the gulf (which is now in great part filled up by the silt of the river Mæander) to Miletus. Here they found that they could reckon on a stay of some days, and Paul sent a messenger to Ephesus. The messenger could not reach Ephesus that day, for the land road round the gulf made a vast circuit, and the wind would prevent him from sailing across to Priene in the forenoon. Moreover, it would take some time to land, and to engage a messenger. In the early afternoon there would arise a sea-breeze blowing up the gulf (called in modern times Imbat, ἐμβάτης), which would permit the messenger to sail to the north side of the gulf. He would probably land at Priene, cross the hills, and thereafter take the coast road to Ephesus, which he might reach during the night. Some time would be required to summon the presbyters; and they could not travel so fast as a single chosen messenger. They would show good speed if they reached Priene in the evening and were ready to sail to Miletus with the morning wind. The third day of Paul’s stay at Miletus, then, was devoted to the presbyters; and we cannot suppose that the ship left Miletus before Sunday morning, May 1, while it is possible that the start took place a day later.
On that day they reached Cos, on May 2 Rhodes, May 3 Patara, May 4 Myra, and, probably, May 7 Tyre. In Tyre they stayed seven days, and sailed on May 13 for Ptolemais, where they spent the day, and on May 14 they reached Cæsareia. As Pentecost was on May 28, they had still a considerable time before them. If Paul remained several days in Cæsareia, then, the reason must be that there was still plenty of time to do so without endangering his purpose.
We reach the same conclusion from observing the author’s concise style. After stating the object of the journey in v. 16, he leaves the reader to gather from his silence that the object was attained. The fact was clear in his own mind, and he was content with one single incidental allusion to it, not for its own sake (he as a Greek felt little interest in Jewish festivals), but to explain a point in which he was interested, viz., the sailing past Ephesus without touching there.
The statement in v. 16 has led to a common misconception that Paul was sailing in a vessel chartered by himself, whose stoppages he could control as he pleased. But if Paul had been able to fix where the vessel should stop, it was obviously a serious waste of time to go to Miletus and summon the Ephesian elders thither; the shorter way would have been to stop at Ephesus and there make his farewell address. Clearly the delay of three days at Miletus was forced on him by the ship’s course, and the facts of the journey were these. From Neapolis they sailed in a ship bound for Troas. Here they had to transship; and some delay was experienced in finding a suitable passage. Paul would not voluntarily, have spent seven days at Troas: the length of a coasting voyage was too uncertain for him to waste so many days at the beginning, when he was hastening to Jerusalem. After a week, two chances presented themselves: one ship intended to make no break on its voyage, except at Miletus, the other to stop at Ephesus. The latter ship was, for some reason, the slower; either it was not to sail further south than Ephesus (in which case time might be lost there in finding a passage); or it was a slow ship, that intended to stop in several other harbours. The shortness of the time determined Paul to choose the ship that went straight to Miletus, and “to sail past Ephesus”; and the pointed statement proves that the question had been discussed, and doubtless the Ephesian delegates begged a visit to their city.
To Luke the interest of Pentecost lay not in itself, but in its furnishing the reason why Paul did not go to Ephesus. There, as in so many other touches, we see the Greek, to whom the Jews were little more than “Barbaroi”.
We notice that Paul, having been disappointed in his first intention of spending Passover at Jerusalem, was eager at any rate to celebrate Pentecost there. For the purpose which he had at heart, the formation of a perfect unity between the Jewish and the non-Jewish sections of the Church, it was important to be in Jerusalem to show his respect for one of the great feasts.
Modern discussion of the voyage to Cæsareia illustrates the unnecessary obscurity in which a remarkably accurate narrative has been involved by over-subtlety, want of experience of rough-and-ready travel, and inattention to the peculiar method of Luke as a narrator. As we have seen, only two numbers are at all doubtful: the length of the stay at Miletus, and the duration of the over-sea voyage to Tyre; but in each case a day more or less is the utmost permissible variation. We find that Paul had fully thirteen days to spare when he reached Cæsareia. Yet many excellent scholars have got so far astray in this simple reckoning of days as to maintain that Paul was too late. Even Weiss, in his edition (in many respects excellent), so lately as 1893, concludes that already in Tyre Paul found that it was impossible to reach Jerusalem in time. Yet, at a pinch, the journey from Tyre to Jerusalem could have been performed in four days.
The farewell speech to the Ephesians, simple, pathetic, and characteristic of Paul as it. is, contains little that concerns our special purpose. Paul intimates clearly that this is his farewell before entering on his enterprise in the West: “Ye all shall no longer see my face”. With a characteristic gesture he shows his hands: “these hands ministered unto my necessities”.
Incidentally we notice the ancient custom of reckoning time: the residence in Asia, which can hardly have been more than two years six months at the most, is estimated loosely as “three years”. The clinging affection which is expressed in the farewell scene, and in the “tearing ourselves away” of XXI 1, makes a very pathetic picture.
Myra is mentioned on this voyage in the Bezan Text, and there can be no doubt that the ship on which the company was embarked either entered the harbour of Myra, or, at least, went close to it before striking across the open sea west of Cyprus to the Syrian coast. The voyage may be taken as typical of the course which hundreds of ships took every year, along a route familiar from time immemorial. It had been a specially frequented route since the age of the earlier Seleucid and Ptolemaic kings, when, as Canon Hicks remarks, “there must have been daily communication between Cos and Alexandria “.4949Paton and Hick’s Inscriptions of Cos, p. xxxiii. I should hardly venture to speak so strongly; but Mr. Hicks is an excellent authority on that period.
The harbour of Myra seems to have been the great port for the direct cross-sea traffic to the coasts of Syria and Egypt. It was the seat of the sailors god, to whom they offered their prayers before starting on the direct long course, and paid their vows on their safe arrival; this god survived in the Christianised form, St. Nicholas of Myra, the patron-saint of sailors, who held the same position in the maritime world of the Levant as St. Phokas of Sinope did in that of the Black Sea (where he was the Christianised form of Achilles Pontarches, the Ruler of the Pontos).
Myra is termed by the pilgrim Sawulf (as I learn from Dr. Tomaschek) “the harbour of the Adriatic Sea, as Constantinople is of the Ægean Sea”; and this importance is hardly intelligible till we recognise its relation to the Syrian and Egyptian traffic. The prevailing winds in the Levant throughout the season are westerly; and these westerly breezes blow almost with the steadiness of trade-winds. Hence the ancient ships, even though they rarely made what sailors call “a long leg” across the sea, were in the habit of running direct from Myra to the Syrian, or to the Egyptian coast. On the return voyage an Alexandrian ship could run north to Myra, if the wind was nearly due west; but, if it shifted towards north-west (from which quarter the Etesian winds blew steadily for forty days from July 20), the ships of Alexandria ran for the Syrian coast. The same steady winds, which favoured the run from Myra to Tyre, made the return voyage direct from Tyre to Myra an impossibility. Hence the regular course for ships from Syria was to keep northwards past the east end of Cyprus till they reached the coast of Asia Minor; and then, by using the land winds which blow off the coast for some part of almost every day, and aided also to some extent by the current which sets steadily westward along the Karamanian coast (as it is now called), these traders from Syria worked their way along past Myra to Cnidos at the extreme south-western corner of Asia Minor.
It may, then, be safely assumed that Myra was visited by Paul’s ship, as the Bezan Text asserts. But the addition of “and Myra” is a mere gloss (though recording a true fact), for it implies that the transshipment took place at Myra. We need not hesitate to accept the authority of the great MSS. that Paul and his company found at Patara a ship about to start on the direct Syrian course, and went on board of it (probably because their ship did not intend to make the direct voyage, or was a slower vessel). Luke then hurries over the direct voyage, mentioning only the fact which specially interested him, that they sighted the western point of Cyprus. He did not mention Myra; he was giving only a brief summary of the voyage, and for some reason the visit to Myra did not interest him.
Many circumstances might occur to deprive the visit of interest and to make Luke omit it (as he omits many other sights) from his brief summary of the voyage. Formerly I illustrated this by my own experience. I was in the port of Myra in the course of a voyage; yet I never saw either the town or the harbour, and would probably omit Myra, if I were giving a summary description of my experiences on that voyage.
At Tyre the vessel stayed seven days unloading; it must therefore have been one of the larger class of merchant vessels; and probably only that class ventured to make the direct sea voyage from Lycia by the west side of Cyprus. Small vessels clung to the coast. As the same ship5050in v. 2 “a ship,” in v. 6 “the ship”. was going on as far as Ptolemais, and as there was still abundant time for the rest of the journey, Paul remained until the allotted time of its stay was over, v. 5. None of the party seems to have known Tyre, for they had to seek out the Brethren there. The hearty welcome which they received from strangers, whose sole bond of union lay in their common religion, makes Luke dwell on this scene as showing the solidarity of feeling in the Church. There took place a kindly farewell on the shore at Tyre, as at Miletus; but the longing and sorrow of long personal friendship and love could not here be present to the same extent as there. The scenes are similar, and yet how different! Such touches of diversity amid resemblance could be given only by the eye-witness.
The ship completed the short voyage to Ptolemais early; and the party spent the day with the Brethren; and went on to Cæsareia next day. Probably they went in the same ship. The emphasis laid on “finishing the voyage” from Tyre to Ptolemais is due to the fact that it was probably over about 10 A.M.
6. CÆSAREIA AND JERUSALEM.
(XXI 8) ON THE MORROW WE DEPARTED, AND CAME INTO CÆSAREIA. AND, ENTERING INTO THE HOUSE OF PHILIP THE EVANGELIST, WHO WAS ONE OF THE SEVEN, WE ABODE WITH HIM. (9) NOW THIS MAN HAD FOUR DAUGHTERS, VIRGINS, WHICH DID PROPHESY. (10) AND, AS WE TARRIED THERE SOME5151Literally, “more days,” a considerable number of days. DAYS, THERE CAME DOWN FROM JUDEA A CERTAIN PROPHET NAMED AGABUS. (11) AND COMING TO US AND TAKING PAUL’S GIRDLE, HE BOUND HIS OWN FEET AND HANDS AND SAID: “THUS SAITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, ‘SO SHALL THE JEWS BIND AT JERUSALEM THE MAN THAT OWNETH THIS GIRDLE, AND DELIVER HIM INTO THE HANDS OF THE. GENTILES’”. . . . (15) AND AFTER THESE DAYS, WE, HAVING EQUIPPED horses, PROCEEDED ON OUR WAY TO JERUSALEM. (16) AND THERE WENT WITH US ALSO some OF THE DISCIPLES FROM CÆSAREIA,
|CONDUCTING US TO the house OF ONE MNASON, AN EARLY DISCIPLE, WHERE WE SHOULD FIND ENTERTAINMENT. (17) AND WHEN WE ARRIVED AT JERUSALEM, THE BRETHREN RECEIVED US GLADLY.||and these conducted us where we should find entertainment; and reaching a certain village, we were in the house of Mnason, an early disciple; and going out thence we came to Jerusalem, and the Brethren received us gladly.|
The length of the stay at Cæsareia is concealed, with Luke’s usual defective sense of time, by the vague phrase, v. 10, ἡμέρας πλείους. The sense of this expression varies greatly according to the situation (cp. XXIV 17, with XIII 31, XXVII 20); but here it is not likely to be less than nine or ten.
The party was therefore cutting down the time for the journey to the utmost. Evidently they desired to remain as long as possible with the Brethren; and the plan for the journey was arranged for them, so that with Cæsareian guidance and help it could be done with comfort and certainty when time necessitated departure. Now, it is an elementary principle of prudent living in Southern countries that one should avoid those great exertions and strains which in Northern countries we often take as an amusement. The customs of the modern peoples (whom we on superficial knowledge are apt to think lazy, but who are not so) show that this principle guides their whole life; and it may be taken as certain that in ancient time the same principle was followed. Moreover, Paul was accompanied by his physician, who fully understood the importance of this rule, and knew that Paul, subject as he was to attacks of illness, and constantly exposed to great mental and emotional strains, must not begin his work in Jerusalem by a hurried walk of sixty-four miles from Cæsareia, more especially as it is clear from a comparison of the Bezan with the Accepted Text that the journey was performed in two days. We conclude, then, that the journey was not performed on foot; and when we look at the words with this thought in our minds we find there the verb which means in classical Greek, “to equip or saddle a horse” Chrysostom took the word in that sense;5252He says λαβόντες τὰ πρὸς τὴν ὁδοιπορίαν (i.e. ὑποζύγια). but the modern commentators have scorned or misunderstood him.
Some of the Brethren from Cæsareia accompanied them as far as a village on the road, where they stayed for a night with Mnason of Cyprus, one of the earliest Christian converts. The next day the Brethren returned with the conveyances to Cæsareia, while Paul and his company performed the rest of the journey (which was probably not far) on foot. Time had passed rapidly, when a convert of A.D. 30 or 31 was “ancient” in 57; but the immense changes that had occurred made the Church of 30 seem divided by a great gulf from these Macedonian and Asian delegates as they approached Jerusalem.
7. THE CRISIS IN THE FATE OF PAUL AND OF THE CHURCH.
From the moment when Paul was arrested onwards, the narrative becomes much fuller than before. It still continues true to the old method of concentrating the reader’s attention on certain selected scenes, which are described in considerable detail, while the intervening periods are dismissed very briefly. Thus XXI 17-XXIV 23 describes the events of twelve days, XXIV 24-27 of two years, XXV 1-XXVIII 7 of about five months, XXVIII 8-11 of three months. But the scenes selected for special treatment lie closer together than formerly; and it is beyond doubt that, on our hypothesis, the amount of space assigned to Paul’s imprisonment and successive examinations marks this as the most important part of the book in the author’s estimation. If that is not the case—if the large space devoted to this period is not deliberately intended by the author as proportionate to its importance—then the work lacks one of the prime qualities of a great history. It is essential to our purpose to establish that we are now approaching the real climax, and that what has hitherto been narrated leads up to the great event of the whole work. If we fail in that, we fail in the main object for which we are contending; and we should have to allow that Acts is a collection of episodic jottings, and not a real history in the true sense of the word.
It must strike every careful reader that Luke devotes special attention throughout his work to the occasions on which Paul was brought in contact with Roman officials. Generally on these occasions, the relations between the parties end in a friendly way: the scene with the proconsul of Cyprus is the most marked case: but Gallio, too, dismissed the case against him, and the formal decision of a proconsul had such weight as a precedent that the trial practically resulted in a declaration of religious liberty for the province.
To come to subordinate Roman officials, the “Prætors” of the colony Philippi, though treating him severely at first, ended by formally apologising and acknowledging his rights, and only begged of him as a favour to move on—a request which he instantly granted. In the colonies Antioch and Lystra he was treated severely, but the blame is laid entirely on the Jews, and the magistrates are not directly mentioned; while in both cases it is brought out in the narrative that condemnation was not pronounced on fair charges duly proved. But though the reader’s attention is not drawn to the magistrates, there can be no doubt that, at least in Antioch, the magistrates took action against Paul; and there is some probability that in each place he was scourged by lictors (p. 107), though these and many other sufferings are passed over. In the first stages of his work in Asia Minor. he was in collision with Roman colonial officials; but these events are treated lightly, explained as due to error and extraneous influence, and the Roman character of the cities is not brought out. While the picture is not discoloured, yet the selection of details is distinctly guided by a plan.
The clerk (Grammateus) of the city of Ephesus was not a Roman official, but, as the most important officer of the capital of the province, he was in closer relations with the Roman policy than ordinary city magistrates: and he pointedly acquitted Paul of any treasonable design against the State or against the established order of the city, and challenged the rioters to bring any charge against Paul before the Roman Courts. The Asiarchs, who were officials of the province, and therefore part of the Roman political system, were his friends, and showed special care to secure his safety at that time. Even the jailor at Philippi was an officer of Rome, though a very humble one; and he found Paul a friend in need, and became a friend in turn.
The magistrates of ordinary Greek cities were not so favourable to Paul as the Roman officials are represented. At Iconium they took active part against him; and the silence about the magistrates of the colonies Antioch and Lystra is made more marked by the mention of those of Iconium. At Thessalonica the magistrates excluded him from the city as a cause of disorder. At Athens the Areopagus was contemptuous and undecided. The favourable disposition of Roman officials towards Paul is made more prominent by the different disposition of the ordinary municipal authorities.
These facts acquire more meaning and more definite relation to the historian’s purpose when we come to the last scenes of the book. We cannot but recognise how pointedly the Imperial officials are represented as Paul’s only safeguard from the Jews, and how their friendly disposition to him is emphasised. Even Felix, one of the worst of Roman officials, is affected by Paul’s teaching, and on the whole protects Paul, though his sordid motives are not concealed, and he finally left Paul bound, as “desiring to gain favour with the Jews,” XXIV 27; but at least there was no official action on the part of Felix against him. Festus, his successor, is described as just and fair towards Paul; he found in him “nothing worthy of death,” and had difficulty in discovering any definite charge against him that he could report when sending him for trial before the supreme court of the Empire. The inferior officials, from the tribune Claudius Lysias, to the centurion Julius, are represented as very friendly. This is all the more marked, because nothing is said at any stage of the proceedings of kindness shown to Paul by any others; yet no one can doubt that the household of Philip and the general body of Christians in Cæsareia tried to do everything possible for him. We see then that the historian, out of much that might be recorded, selects for emphasis the friendliness of the Roman officials: in the climax of his subject he concentrates the reader’s attention on the conduct of Romans to Paul,5353Luke says nothing about kindness shown to Paul by James and others in Jerusalem; but we do not (like Dean Farrar) gather that they were unfriendly. and on their repeated statements that Paul was innocent in the eyes of Roman Imperial law and policy.
Throughout the whole book, from the time when the centurion Cornelius is introduced, great art is shown in bringing out without any formal statement the friendly relations between the Romans and the new teaching, even before Paul became the leading spirit in its development. To a certain extent, of course, that lies in the subject matter, and the historian simply relates the facts as they occurred, without colouring them for his purpose; but he is responsible for the selection of details, and while he has omitted an enormous mass of details (some of which we can gather from other informants), he has included so many bearing on this point, as to show beyond all question his keen interest in it.
Further, when we compare Luke with other authorities in their treatment of the same subject, we see how much more careful he is than they in bringing out the relations in which Christianity stood to the Imperial government. In the Third Gospel, Luke alone among the four historians records formally the attempt made by the Jews to implicate Jesus in criminal practices against the Roman Empire,5454Less formally, John XVIII 30. and the emphatic, thrice5555 John XVIII 38; Matthew XXVII 24. repeated statement of Pilate acquitting Him of all fault (XXIII 2, 4, 14, 22) before the law.
We must conclude, then, that the large space devoted to the trial of Paul in its various stages before the Roman Imperial tribunals is connected with a strongly marked interest and a clear purpose running through the two books of this history; and it follows that Luke conceived the trial to be a critical and supremely important stage in the development of the Church.
The next question that faces us is whether Luke is justified as a historian in attaching such importance to this stage in the development of Christianity. Perhaps the question may be best answered by quoting some words used in a different connection and for a different purpose. “It is both justifiable and necessary to lay great stress on the trial of Paul. With the legal constructiveness and obedience to precedent that characterised the Romans, this case tried before the supreme court must have been regarded as a test case and a binding precedent, until some act of the supreme Imperial authority occurred to override it. If such a case came for trial before the highest tribunal in Rome, there must have been given an authoritative and, for the time, final judgment on the issues involved.”
But, further, it is obvious that the importance of the trial for Luke is intelligible only if Paul was acquitted. That he was acquitted follows from the Pastoral Epistles with certainty for all who admit their genuineness; while even they who deny their Pauline origin must allow that they imply an early belief in historical details which are not consistent with Paul’s journeys before his trial, and must either be pure inventions or events that occurred on later journeys. I have elsewhere argued that the subsequent policy of Nero towards the Church is far more readily intelligible if Paul was acquitted. But, if he was acquitted, the issue of the trial was a formal decision by the supreme court of the Empire that it was permissible to preach Christianity: the trial, therefore, was really a charter of religious liberty, and therein lies its immense importance. It was, indeed, overturned by later decisions of the supreme court; but its existence was a highly important fact for the Christians.
The importance of the preliminary stages of the trial lies in its issue; and it is obviously absurd to relate these at great length, and wholly omit the final result which gives them intelligibility and purpose. It therefore follows that a sequel was contemplated by the author, in which should be related the final stages of the trial, the acquittal of Paul, the active use which he made of his permission to preach, the organisation of the Church in new provinces, and the second trial occurring at the worst and most detested period of Nero’s rule. That sequel demands a book to itself; and we have seen that the natural implication of Luke’s expression in Acts I 1, if he wrote as correct Greek as Paul wrote, is that his work was planned to contain, a least, three books.
This view of Luke’s historical plan suits well the period at which he wrote. It is argued in Ch. XVII 2 that he was engaged in composing this book under Domitian, a period of persecution, when Christians had come to be treated as outlaws or brigands, and the mere confession of the name was recognised as a capital offence. The book was not an apology for Christianity: it was an appeal to the truth of history against the immoral and ruinous policy of the reigning Emperor, a temperate and solemn record, by one who had played a great part in them, of the real facts regarding the formation of the Church, its steady and unswerving loyalty in the past, its firm resolve to accept the facts of Imperial government, its friendly reception by many Romans, and its triumphant vindication in the first great trial at Rome. It was the work of one who had been trained by Paul to look forward to Christianity becoming the religion of the Empire and of the world who regarded Christianity as destined not to destroy but to save the Empire.
8. FINANCES OF THE TRIAL.
It has been asked where Paul got the money which he required to pay the expenses of four poor men (XXI 23), purifying themselves in the temple; and the suggestion has been made that the elders who advised him to undertake this expense, followed up their advice by giving him back some of the money which the delegates from the four provinces had just paid over to them. Without laying any stress on the silence of Luke as to any such action, we cannot believe that Paul would accept that money for his own needs, or that James would offer it. They were trustees of contributions destined for a special purpose; and to turn it to any other purpose would have been fraudulent. It is incredible that Paul, after laying such stress on the purpose of that contribution, and planning it for years (p. 288), should divert part of it to his own use the day after he reached Jerusalem.
But several other facts show clearly that, during the following four years, Paul had considerable command of money. Imprisonment and a long lawsuit are expensive. Now, it is clear that Paul during the following four years did not appear before the world as a penniless wanderer, living by the work of his hands. A person in that position will not either at the present day or in the first century be treated with such marked respect as was certainly paid to Paul, at Cæsareia, on the voyage, and in Rome. The governor Felix and his wife, the Princess Drusilla, accorded him an interview and private conversation. King Agrippa and his Queen Berenice also desired to see him. A poor man never receives such attentions, or rouses such interest. Moreover, Felix hoped for a bribe from him; and a rich Roman official did not look for a small gift. Paul, therefore, wore the outward appearance of a man of means, like one in a position to bribe a Roman procurator. The minimum in the way of personal attendants that was allowable for a man of respectable position was two slaves; and, as we shall see, Paul was believed to be attended by two slaves to serve him. At Cæsareia he was confined in the palace of Herod; but he had to live, to maintain two attendants, and to keep up a respectable appearance. Many comforts, which are almost necessities, would be given by the guards, so long as they were kept in good humour, and it is expensive to keep guards in good humour. In Rome he was able to hire a lodging for himself and to live there, maintaining, of course, the soldier who guarded him.
An appeal to the supreme court could not be made by everybody that chose. Such an appeal had to be permitted and sent forward by the provincial governor; and only a serious case would be entertained. But the case of a very poor man is never esteemed as serious; and there is little doubt that the citizen’s right of appeal to the Emperor was hedged in by fees and pledges. There is always one law for the rich man and another for the poor: at least, to this extent, that many claims can be successfully pushed by a rich man in which a poor man would have no chance of success. In appealing to the Emperor, Paul was choosing undoubtedly an expensive line of trial. All this had certainly been estimated before the decisive step was taken. Paul had weighed the cost; he had reckoned the gain which would accrue to the Church if the supreme court pronounced in his favour; and his past experience gave him every reason to hope for a favourable issue before a purely Roman tribunal, where Jewish influence would have little or no power. The importance of the case, as described in the preceding section, makes the appeal more intelligible.
Where, then, was the money procured? Was it from new contributions collected in the Churches? That seems most improbable, both from their general poverty, from Paul’s personal character, and from the silence of Luke on the point. Luke himself was probably a man dependent on his profession for his livelihood. His name is not that of a man of high position. There seems no alternative except that Paul’s hereditary property was used in those four years. As to the exact facts, we must remain in ignorance. If Paul hitherto voluntarily abstained from using his fortune, he now found himself justified by the importance of the case in acting differently. If, on the other hand, he had for the time been disowned by his family, then either a reconciliation had been brought about during his danger (perhaps originating in the bold kindness of his young nephew), or through death property had come to him as legal heir (whose right could not be interfered with by any will). But, whatever be the precise facts, we must regard Paul as a man of some wealth during these years.
He appeared to Felix5656Procuratorship of Felix. The remarkable contradiction between Josephus (who makes Cumanus governor of Palestine 48–52, Felix being his successor in 52), and Tacitus (who makes Felix governor of Samaria [and probably of Judea], contemporary with Cumanus as governor of Galilee, the latter being disgraced in 52, and the former acquitted and honoured at the same trial), is resolved by Mommsen in favour of Tacitus as the better authority on such a point; and most students of Roman history will agree with him. and to Festus, then, as a Roman of Jewish origin of high rank and great learning, engaged in a rather foolish controversy against the whole united power of his nation (winch showed his high standing, as well as his want of good judgment). That is the spirit of Festus’s words, “Paul! Paul! you are a great philosopher, but you have no common sense”.
On the details given of the incidents in Jerusalem and Cæsareia, I shall not enter. I am not at home on the soil of Palestine; and it seems better not to mix up second-hand studies with a discussion of incidents where I stand on familiar ground.
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