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Bible Gemz 1880 - Luke's account of Turning Circles in the Mediterranean (Acts 28:11-16)

November 25, 2018

 

Setting Sail for Rome

It was three months after the shipwreck that we set sail on another ship that had wintered at the island—an Alexandrian ship with the twin gods as its figurehead.

Our first stop was Syracuse, where we stayed three days.

From there we sailed across to Rhegium. A day later a south wind began blowing, so the following day we sailed up the coast to Puteoli.

There we found some believers, who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.

The brothers and sisters in Rome had heard we were coming, and they came to meet us at the Forum on the Appian Way. Others joined us at The Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he was encouraged and thanked God.

When we arrived in Rome, Paul was permitted to have his own private lodging, though he was guarded by a soldier. (Acts 28:11-16)

 

 

There is a very curious verse in this set that I want to draw your attention to. Luke wrote “Going around from there, we arrived at Rhegium. And after one day, a south wind having come on, on the second we came to Puteoli,” (Acts 28:13 - LITV) Luke used the word [perielontes]  seemingly from the verb [perierchomai] which means to go around in a circuit, circle, turn a circle, tack around in a circle. But really that makes no sense in the context. From Syracuse to Rhegium is a straight line. There is no need for tacking, no need to turn circles at all. What does Luke actually mean by what he wrote?

 

 (Greek NT)  ὅθεν περιελόντες κατηντήσαμεν εἰς ῾Ρήγιον, καὶ μετὰ μίαν ἡμέραν ἐπιγενομένου νότου δευτεραῖοι ἤλθομεν εἰς Ποτιόλους·

Περιελθοντες is in the body of the text but with no gloss. It is an unknown term. Some footnotes list it as an unknown nautical term.   

Other words are suggested: 

περιαιρέω
to remove all around
περιέρχομαι
to go around in a circuit, circle, turn a circle, tack around in a circle
 

Let’s turn to the versions to try to understand Acts 28:13 

(ABP)  From where having gone around   we arrived  at  Rhegium.   And  after   one   day  ensued  a south wind];   on the second day   we came  into   Puteoli; 

(ASV)  And from thence we made a circuit, and arrived at Rhegium: and after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli;

(BBE)  And from there, going about in a curve, we came to Rhegium: and after one day a south wind came up and on the day after we came to Puteoli:

 (CEV)  From there we sailed to Rhegium. The next day a south wind began to blow, and two days later we arrived in Puteoli.

(CJB)  From there, we arrived at Rhegium by tacking; but after one day, a south wind sprang up; so we made it to Puteoli the second day.

(ERV)  We came to the city of Rhegium. The next day a wind began to blow from the southwest, so we were able to leave. A day later we came to the city of Puteoli.

(ESV)  And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.

 (GNB)  From there we sailed on and arrived in the city of Rhegium. The next day a wind began to blow from the south, and in two days we came to the town of Puteoli.

 (GW)  We sailed from Syracuse and arrived at the city of Rhegium. The next day a south wind began to blow, and two days later we arrived at the city of Puteoli.

(ISV)  Then we weighed anchor and came to Rhegium. A day later a south wind began to blow, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.

 (JUB)  And having gone around, we came to Rhegium, and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli,

(KJV)  And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:

 (LITV)  Going around from there, we arrived at Rhegium. And after one day, a south wind having come on, on the second we came to Puteoli,

(MKJV)  Going around from there we arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind coming on, we came to Puteoli on the second,

(MSG)  and then went up the coast to Rhegium. Two days later, with the wind out of the south, we sailed into the Bay of Naples.

(Murdock)  And from there we made a circuit, and arrived at the city Rhegium. And, after one day, the south wind blew favorably for us, and in two days we came to Puteoli, a city of Italy.

(NLT)  From there we sailed across to Rhegium. A day later a south wind began blowing, so the following day we sailed up the coast to Puteoli.

(RV)  And from thence we made a circuit, and arrived at Rhegium: and after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli:

(TLB)  From there we circled around to Rhegium; a day later a south wind began blowing, so the following day we arrived at Puteoli,

(TLV)  From there we got underway and reached Rhegium; and a day later a south wind came up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.

(TS2009)  from which place we went round and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew, and the second day we came to Puteoli,

 

You can see from the versions that they either opt for the root word being [περιέρχομαι] or they take stab at the meaning of the unknown word [perielontes] or they ignore the word altogether as in the case of the ones I haven’t made bold. It is all quite amusing really.  

 

The options we have then for the unknown verb [perielontes] are: 

going about in a curve(BBE), by tacking(CJB), we sailed on (GNB), we weighed anchor (ISV), we fetched an anchor (KJV), went up the coast (MSG),  sailed across (NLT), we got underway (TLV) . 

 

All of this last group of versions were simply being creative.  The one that makes me laugh the most is the translation in the old King James – “we fetched an anchor”. Really! Come on. Notice that later in the MKJV it has switched back to “going around from there”in other words opting for the reading being from the word περιέρχομαι and not from the unknown [perielontes]  

 

Just what Luke was meaning by using the term [perielontes] we really don't know. You could translate this part of the verse however you like. Choose what you want and send me the end result. I will share the most creative ones in the next Gemz. 

 

If Luke indeed meant to go around, “sail in a circle” then something must have happened in order for them to circle around and go back for something. Perhaps there was a man overboard, maybe someone dropped the compass or the anchor and they had to go back for it. Hardly! It would have sunk by the time they got to it – instantly. 

 

Just an interesting little diversion for you in the text at this point because of Luke’s use of an unknown term.

 

 

Life is a circle, The end of one journey is the beginning of the next. Keep your circle small and your mind at peace.  Pinterest

 

If you find yourself turning circles it means you are stuck in a rut. Ian

 

There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world because you realize there is so much more to the book of life that the page you were stuck on. Ian

 

Life is a circle of happiness, sadness, hard times and good times. If you’re going through hard times, have faith that good times are on the way.  Helen Steiner Rice

 

It’s never too late to be who you might have been. George Elliot 

 

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