Acts 27:8
And, hardly passing it, came to a place which is called The fair havens; near whereunto was the city of Lasea.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) And, hardly passing it.—The Greek adverb is the same as the “scarce” of Acts 27:7, and should be translated as before, with difficulty.

A place which is called The fair havens.—It was obvious that the ship would have been again exposed, after passing Crete, or even its central promontory, Cape Matala, to the full force of the northwest gales. About two miles to the east of the promontory, however, and therefore sheltered by it, there was tolerably good anchorage, in a harbour known then and now as the Fair Havens (Limeônes kaloi).

Nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.—The comparative obscurity of the place has led to a large variety of readings of the name—Lassœa, Alassa, Thalassa, and other forms. Pliny mentions a city in Crete named Lasos, but does not describe its position. The remains of buildings, columns, the walls and foundations of temples have been found about two hours’ walk from the Fair Havens, under Cape Leonda, and are locally known as Lasea (Rev. G. Brown, in Smith’s Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul, Appendix 3).

27:1-11 It was determined by the counsel of God, before it was determined by the counsel of Festus, that Paul should go to Rome; for God had work for him to do there. The course they steered, and the places they touched at, are here set down. And God here encourages those who suffer for him, to trust in him; for he can put it into the hearts of those to befriend them, from whom they least expect it. Sailors must make the best of the wind: and so must we all in our passage over the ocean of this world. When the winds are contrary, yet we must be getting forward as well as we can. Many who are not driven backward by cross providences, do not get forward by favourable providences. And many real Christians complain as to the concerns of their souls, that they have much ado to keep their ground. Every fair haven is not a safe haven. Many show respect to good ministers, who will not take their advice. But the event will convince sinners of the vanity of their hopes, and the folly of their conduct.And, hardly passing it - Scarcely being able to pass by it without being wrecked. Being almost driven on it. They passed round the east end of the island because they had been unable to sail directly forward between the island and the mainland,

The fair havens - This was on the southeastern part of the island of Crete. It was probably not so much a harbor as an open roadstead, which afforded good anchorage for a time. It is called by Stephen, the geographer, "the fair shore." It still retains the name which it formerly had. It is called in ancient Dutch and French Sailing Directions "the beautiful bay."

Nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea - There was no town or city at the "Fair Havens," but the city of Lasea seems to have been well known, and it is mentioned here to identify the place.

8. And hardly passing it—"with difficulty coasting along it," from the same cause as before, the westerly current and head winds.

came to … the Fair Havens—an anchorage near the center of the south coast, and a little east of Cape Matala, the southern most point of the island.

nigh whereunto was the city Lasea—identified by the Reverend George Brown [Smith, Voyages and Shipwreck of St. Paul, Appendix 3, Second Edition, 1856]. (To this invaluable book commentators on this chapter, and these notes, are much indebted).

The fair havens; or, the fair or good shore, that being accounted the best which is safest for ships to ride in or enter into. A place of this name remains to this day (as some tell us) in the island of Candia.

Lasea; called Lasos, and more inland; yet some think that this town is not certainly known, not having been mentioned by any ancient geographer. And hardly passing it,.... That is, Salmone, with great difficulty, because of the winds:

came unto a place which is called the Fair Havens; called by other writers Cale Acte, or the fair shore, and is placed by Ptolomy (c) in Eubaea, and by Herodotus (d) in Sicily; but by Stephanus (e) is said to be a city of the Cretians, and which agrees with this account;

nigh whereunto was the city of Lasae; there was a city in Crete called by Solinus (f) Lisson, and by Ptolomy (g) Lyssus, which he places on the south side of the island; and by Pliny (h) Lasos, which comes pretty near to this name, but then he places it in the midland part of Crete; who also makes mention of an island called Lasia over against Troezenium, and another that was one of the Cyclades; the Syriac version here read, "Lasia": Jerom (i) says, Lasea is a city on the shore of the island of Crete, near the place which is called the Fair Havens, as Luke himself explains it; for which some corruptly read "Thalassa"; as do the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions; and the Alexandrian copy "Alassa": Beza conjectures that it is the same with Eloea, which Pliny makes mention of in the above cited place, as a city in Crete.

(c) De ordis Situ. l. 3. c. 15. (d) L. 6. c. 22. (e) De urbibus. (f) Polyhist. c. 16. (g) Ib. l. 3. c. 17. (h) L. 4. c. 12. (i) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 96. D.

And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 27:8. Παραλέγεσθαι] corresponds entirely to the Latin legere (oram), to sail along the coast, Diod. Sic xiii. 3, xiv. 55. This keeping to the coast was only with difficulty (μόλις) successful.

αὐτήν refers to τ. Κρήτην.

Nothing is known from antiquity of the anchorage Καλοὶ λιμένες (Fair Havens[168]). The name is perhaps, on account of Acts 27:12 (ἀνευθέτου κ.τ.λ.), to be considered as euphemistic. The view that the place is identical with the town called by Stephanus Byzantinus Καλὴ ἀκτή, is improbable, because the Fair Havens here was not a town, as may be inferred from the appended remark: ᾯ ἘΓΓῪς ἮΝ ΠΌΛΙς ΛΑΣ.

ἮΝ] not ἘΣΤΊ. The preterite belongs to the graphic description. They saw the neighbouring city. Comp. Krüger, and Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 4. 9; Breitenb. ad Xen. Hier. xi. 4. The town Λασαία also is entirely unknown;[169] hence the many variations, ΛΑΣΈΑ (B. min.; so Tischendorf), ἌΛΑΣΣΑ (A, 40, 96, Syr. p. on the margin; so Grotius, Lachmann, Ewald), Thalassa (Vulgate, Aethiopic), Thessala (codd. Lat.), et al. The evidence in support of these other forms is not strong enough to displace the Recepta (G H), seeing that it is also supported by B א* (which has ΛΑΣΣΑΊΑ). Beza conjectured ἘΛΑΊΑ (Plin. N. H. iv. 12); but such a conjecture, especially in the case of Crete with its hundred cities, was uncalled for.

[168] It is certainly the bay still called Limenes kali, Pococke, Morg. II. p. 361. Comp. Smith, p. 88, ed. 2. See, moreover, on the above localities generally, Hoeck, Kreta, I. p. 439 ff.

[169] Yet see on ruins with this name, Smith, p. 262.Acts 27:8. μόλις τε παραλεγ. αὐτὴν: “and with difficulty coasting along it,” i.e., Crete on the southern side—with difficulty because under the same conditions as in their journey along the coast of Asia Minor (Breusing) (this is better than to refer αὐτήν to Σαλμώνην, and render to work past, to weather, cf. Grimm-Thayer); παραλέγομαι, oram legere, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo.—Καλοὺς Λιμένας: a small bay two miles east of Cape Matala, in modern Greek, Λιμεῶνας Καλούς, J. Smith, p. 82, and Appendix, p. 251 ff., 4th edition; not mentioned, however, elsewhere. This harbour would afford them shelter for a time, for west of Cape Matala the land trends suddenly to the north, and they would have been again exposed to the north-westerly winds; see further for a description of the place Findlay’s Mediterranean Directory, p. 66, quoted by Breusing and Goerne, who also have no doubt that the place is identical with that mentioned by St. Luke (see also Wendt, 1898 and 1899).—Λασαία, see critical note; like the Fair Havens not mentioned by name in any ancient writer. but since 1856 it may be fairly said that its identification has been established with a place some four miles to the east of Fair Havens, or rather the ruins of a place to which the name Lasea was still given, see J. Smith, 4th edition, p. 82, and p. 268 (Appendix); Alford, Proleg. to Acts, p. 27. If Lasea was one of “the (ninety or) hundred towns of Crete,” and one of the smaller amongst them, it ceases to be strange that no precise mention of it should occur in ancient writers (Grimm).8. and hardly passing it] “Hardly” is in the original the same word which was rendered “scarce” in the previous verse. Read (with R. V.) “with difficulty coasting along it.” The verb represents the voyage as made by keeping close in to the southern shores of the island.

came unto a place] i.e. on the coast of Crete. The Gk. gives (as R. V.) “a certain place.”

which is called The fair havens] R. V. “called Fair Havens.” This place, though mentioned nowhere else in literature, yet is known by the same name still. It is on the south of Crete, four or five miles east of Cape Matala, which is the largest headland on that side of the island.

Lasea] This city has also been identified very recently. Its ruins were discovered in 1856, a few miles east of Fair Havens. See Smith’s Voyage and Shipwreck of St Paul, App. iii. pp. 262, 263.Acts 27:8. Μόλις, hardly) Construed with ἤλθομεν, we came.—καλοὺς) Perhaps this epithet was given by antiphrasis; comp. Acts 27:12, “the haven was not commodious:” as the name, Pontus Euxinus.[148]—Λασαία) So the best MSS.: two have Ἄλασσα: whence the Latin Vulg. has Thalassa.[149] The word civitas, immediately preceding (in the Vulg.), may have caused the prefixing of the letter t from its third syllable.[150] We assign more weight to the Asiatic MSS. than to the African, when the question is concerning the names of places. Crete is said to be ἑκατόμπολις, as is remarked in the Periplus of Scylax. Among the hundred towns, how many are unknown in our days?

[148] Which means hospitable to strangers, whereas it was a sea notoriously inhospitable, ἄξεινος, and inclement: but was called the former from a superstitious feeling to avoid a bad omen.—E. and T.

[149] Rec. Text and Tisch. read Λασαία, with the sanction of the two Syr. Versions alone of the oldest authorities. B and Memph. read Λασέα. A has Ἄλασσα; and so Lachm. Vulg. has Thalassa, and in other MSS. Thassala.—E. and T.

[150] Before Ἄλασσα, which would favour the reading of A: Alassa, Talassa, Thalassa.—E. and T.Verse 8. - With difficulty coasting along it for hardly passing it, A.V.; we came for came, A.V.; a certain place called for a place which is called, A.V.; Fair for the Fair, A.V. With difficulty coasting along it; παραλεγόμενοι, only here and ver. 13. It is a nautical phrase, meaning to sail alongside of the coast. In Latin legere has the same meaning. The difficulty arose from their being under the lee of the island, which sheltered them from the north-west wind, but left them without any motive power. However, they managed to get as far as Fair Havens, where they anchored in the roadstead so called, near to an obscure and otherwise unknown town called Lasea, possibly the same as Lasos, mentioned by Pliny as one of the inland cities of Crete ('Nat. Hist.,' 4. 12:20), or as Elaea (ibid.).
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