on Acts 27 :14
A tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon - Interpreters have been greatly perplexed with this word; and the ancient copyists not less so, as the word is variously written in the MSS. and versions. Dr. Shaw supposes it to be one of those tempestuous winds called levanters, which blow in all directions, from N.E. round by the E. to S.E. The euroclydon, from the circumstances which attended it, he says, "seems to have varied very little from the true east point; for, as the ship could not bear, αντοφθαλμειν, loof up, against it, Acts 27:15, but they were obliged to let her drive, we cannot conceive, as there are no remarkable currents in that part of the sea, and as the rudder could be of little use, that it could take any other course than as the winds directed it. Accordingly, in the description of the storm, we find that the vessel was first of all under the island Clauda, Acts 27:16, which is a little to the southward of the parallel of that part of the coast of Crete from whence it may be supposed to have been driven; then it was tossed along the bottom of the Gulf of Adria, Acts 27:27, and afterwards broken to pieces, Acts 27:41, at Melita, which is a little to the northward of the parallel above mentioned; so that the direction and course of this particular euroclydon seems to have been first at east by north, and afterwards, pretty nearly east by south." These winds, called now levanters, and formerly, it appears, euroclydon, were no determinate winds, blowing always from one point of the compass: euroclydon was probably then, what levanter is now, the name of any tempestuous wind in that sea, blowing from the north-east round by east to the south-east; and therefore St. Luke says, there rose against it (i.e. the vessel) a tempestuous wind called euroclydon; which manner of speaking shows that he no more considered it to be confined to any one particular point of the compass, than our sailors do their levanter. Dr. Shaw derives ευροκλυδων from ευρου κλυδων, an eastern tempest, which is the very meaning affixed to a levanter at the present day.
The reading of the Codex Alexandrinus is ευρακυλων, the north-east wind, which is the same with the euro-aquilo of the Vulgate. This reading is approved by several eminent critics; but Dr. Shaw, in the place referred to above, has proved it to be insupportable.
Dr. Shaw mentions a custom which he has several times seen practised by the Mohammedans in these levanters: - After having tied to the mast, or ensign staff, some apposite passage from the Koran, they collect money, sacrifice a sheep, and throw them both into the sea. This custom, he observes, was practised some thousand years ago by the Greeks: thus Aristophanes: -
Αρν', αρνα μελαιναν, παιδες, εξενεγκατε·
Τυφως γαρ εκβαινειν παρασκευαζεται.
Ran. Acts 3.s. 2, ver. 871.
A lamb! boys, sacrifice a black lamb immediately:
For a tempest is about to burst forth.
Virgil refers to the same custom: -
Sic fatus, meritos aris mactavit honores:
Taurum Neptuno, taurum tibi, pulcher Apollo;
Nigram hyemi pecudem, zephyris felicibus albam.
Aen. iii. ver. 118.
Thus he spake, and then sacrificed on the altars the proper eucharistic victims: -
on Acts 27 :14
Arose - Beat violently.
Against it - Against the vessel. Greek: seizing her, and whirling her around.
A tempestuous wind - Turbulent - violent - strong.
Called Euroclydon - Εὐροκλύδων Eurokludōn. Interpreters have been much perplexed about the meaning of this word, which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The most probable supposition is, that it denotes "a wind not blowing steadily from any quarter, but a hurricane, or wind veering about to different quarters." Such hurricanes are known to abound in the Mediterranean, and are now called Levanters, deriving their name from blowing chiefly in the Levant, or eastern part of the Mediterranean. The name euroclydon is derived probably from two Greek words, εῦρος euros, "wind," and κλύδων kludōn, "a wave"; so called from its agitating and exciting the waves. It thus answers to the usual effects of a hurricane, or of a wind rapidly changing its points of compass.
on Acts 27 :14
27:14 There arose against it - The south wind; a tempestuous wind, called in those parts Euroclydon. This was a kind of hurricane, not carrying them any one way, but tossing them backward and forward. These furious winds are now called levanters, and blow in all directions from the northeast to the southeast.