Acts 27:38
And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.
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(38) And when they had eaten enough . . .—More accurately, when they were filled with food. The words describe a full and hearty meal. The first effect of this was seen in renewed activity for work. In spite of all that had been done before (Acts 27:18-19), the ship still needed to be lightened. The tense implies a process of some continuance. The “wheat” which they now cast out may have been part of the cargo which had been reserved by way of provisions. As it was clear that they could no longer continue in the ship, this was no longer required, and the one essential point was to keep her floating till they reached the shore.

27:30-38 God, who appointed the end, that they should be saved, appointed the means, that they should be saved by the help of these shipmen. Duty is ours, events are God's; we do not trust God, but tempt him, when we say we put ourselves under his protection, if we do not use proper means, such as are within our power, for our safety. But how selfish are men in general, often even ready to seek their own safety by the destruction of others! Happy those who have such a one as Paul in their company, who not only had intercourse with Heaven, but was of an enlivening spirit to those about him. The sorrow of the world works death, while joy in God is life and peace in the greatest distresses and dangers. The comfort of God's promises can only be ours by believing dependence on him, to fulfil his word to us; and the salvation he reveals must be waited for in use of the means he appoints. If God has chosen us to salvation, he has also appointed that we shall obtain it by repentance, faith, prayer, and persevering obedience; it is fatal presumption to expect it in any other way. It is an encouragement to people to commit themselves to Christ as their Saviour, when those who invite them, clearly show that they do so themselves.They lightened the ship - By casting the wheat into the sea. As they had no hope of saving the cargo, and had no further use for it, they hoped that by throwing the wheat overboard the ship would draw less water, and that thus they would be able to run the vessel on the shore. 38-40. when they had eaten enough, &c.—With fresh strength after the meal, they make a third and last effort to lighten the ship, not only by pumping, as before, but by throwing the whole cargo of wheat into the sea (see on [2134]Ac 27:6). Cast out the wheat, the provision they had for their sustenance. This is the third time that they lightened the ship, being willing that all their goods should perish for them, rather than with them. Or these heathens were so far persuaded by St. Paul, that they ventured their lives upon the credit of what he had foretold them; and parted with their food, and all they had to live upon, only upon his word, that they should want them in the ship no more. And when they had eaten enough,.... Were satisfied, having eaten a full meal:

they lightened the ship; of its burden, that it might the better carry them to the shore, and that by the following method:

and cast out the wheat into the sea; which seems to have been part of the ship's provision; or one part of their lading, which they brought from Egypt, and were carrying to Italy: they had cast out some of the goods of the ship before, and also the tackling of the ship, and now, last of all, the wheat; for what was eatable they reserved till last, not knowing to what extremity they might be reduced.

And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.
Acts 27:38. Now, seeing that for some time (and in quite a brief period must the fate of those on board be decided) further victuals were unnecessary—now they ventured on the last means of lightening the ship (which, with the decreasing depth, Acts 27:28, was urgently required for the purpose of driving it on to the land), and cast the provisions overboard, which, considering the multitude of men and the previous ἀσιτία, was certainly still a considerable weight. Chrysostom aptly remarks: οὕτω λοιπὸν τὸ πᾶν ἔῤῥιψαν ἐπὶ τὸν Παῦλον, ὡς καὶ τὸν σῖτον ἐκβαλεῖν. Σῖτος may denote either corn, or also, as here and often with Greek writers, provisions particularly prepared from corn (meal, bread, etc.). Others (Erasmus, Luther, Beza, et al., including Baumgarten, Smith, Hackett) have explained it as the corn with which, namely, the ship had been freighted. But against this it may be urged, first, that this freighting is not indicated; secondly, that κορεσθ. δὲ τροφῆς corresponds to the throwing out of the provisions, and not of the freight; and thirdly, that the throwing out of the freight had already taken place, Acts 27:18, as this indeed was most natural, because the freight was the heaviest.Acts 27:38. κορεσθ., 1 Corinthians 4:8, nowhere else in N.T., with genitive of the thing with which one is filled, as in classical Greek. Alford refers to LXX, Deuteronomy 31:20, but see Hatch and Redpath, sub v.ἐκούφιζον: de nave, Polyb., i., 60, 8; LXX, Jonah 1:5.—τὸν σῖτον: “the wheat,” A. and R.V., Vulgate, triticum; so Ramsay, Breusing, Vars, J. Smith, Page, and so too Erasmus, Bengel, etc., i.e., the cargo, cf. Acts 27:6. Blass thinks that the word used is decisive in favour of this interpretation; otherwise we should have had σιτία or ἄρτοι if merely food had been meant; not only was the cargo of sufficient weight really to lighten the ship, but there was need for the ship being as clear as possible for the operations in Acts 27:40. Wendt 1899 appears also to favour this view, cf. his comments with those in 1888 edition, where he adopts the view of Meyer and Weiss, that the word means provisions of food, as at first sight the context seems to indicate. But the latter would not have made much appreciable difference in weight, nor would those on board have been likely to throw them away, since they could not tell on, what shore they might be cast, whether hospitable or not, or how long they would be dependent on the food which they had in the ship. In Acts 27:18 the reference may be to the cargo on deck, or at all events only to a part of the cargo (Holtzmann). Naber conjectured ἱστόν, but no such emendation is required (Wendt).38. And when they had eaten enough] Gk. “And having been satisfied with food.” When they had satisfied their present need, there was no use in trying to save more of the food which they had. So they set about lightening the ship. This is implied by the tense of the verb, and the next clause tells us the way they did it. They cast into the sea the corn which had been the first cargo of the vessel from Alexandria. No doubt this was the heaviest part of the freight, and would relieve the vessel greatly.Acts 27:38. Τὸν σῖτον, the corn) having a sure hope of getting to land.Verse 38. - Throwing out for and cast out, A.V. They lightened the ship; ἐκούφισαν, only here in the New Testament; but it is the technical word for lightening a ship so as to keep her afloat. So in Polybius, 1:39, Ἐκρίψαντες ἐκ τῶν πλοίων πάντα τὰ βάρη μόλις ἐκούφισαν τὰς ναῦς: and Jonah 1:5, "They cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them (τοῦ κουφισθῆναι ἀπ αὐτῶν (see ver. 18, note). Κουφίσαι τὴν ναῦν is one of the technical expressions for taking cargo out of a ship, given by Julius Pollux (Smith), The wheat (τὸν σῖτον). There is a difference of opinion as to what St. Luke here means by τὸν σῖτον. Meyer and others think it was merely "the ship's provision," and that, considering the number of persons in the ship, and the little consumption during the last fortnight, the weight of what was left would be considerable. They add that the cargo had been already thrown overboard in ver. 18. Others, as Howson, following Smith and Penroso, Farrar, Lewin, and many older commentators, with more reason, understand "the wheat" to mean the ship's cargo from Alexandria to Rome; they think it had been impossible to get at it while the ship was drifting; and that, even had it been possible, it was the last thing they would have recourse to. But now, when it was impossible to save the ship, and the only chance of saving their lives was to run her on the beach, it was an absolute necessity to lighten the ship as much as possible. They therefore cast her freight of Alexandrian corn into the sea, and waited for daylight (see note to ver. 18).
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