The mention of the men taking a “sounding” refers to measuring the depth of the water by use of a “sounding line.” When they found that they were nearing land, the sailors (afraid of the ship hitting rocks) were lowering boats to abandon ship under the pretense of laying anchors. But Paul warned the centurion, saying that they would not make it if the sailors left the ship. So the soldiers cut the boats loose from the ship to prevent escape.
Having conserved all they could, the fourteenth day without having eaten approached, and Paul urged them all to eat, in order to gather their strength. He did so himself, giving thanks to God; and they were encouraged, and all ate some. There were 276 aboard (verse 27) – about the right amount for the vessel to have been a large grain ship , meaning it was probably not worthy of such a voyage.
Verses 39-44 detail the horrific shipwreck on the reefs, and the escape to land that all of them made safely, hanging on to the wreckage. Verses 42-43 tell us that the soldiers had planned to kill the prisoners, so that none could escape. But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, prevented them. God had, as always, made good on his promise to save them.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.