Paul and his companions were booked as passengers on a grain ship bound for Rome. There was no such thing as a passenger ship, so this was a commercial vessel and Paul’s passage was likely commandeered by the Romans (Dunn, Beginning form Jerusalem, 995). It is possible these was a financial bonus for delivering grain to Rome before the end of the sailing season, explaining why the captain attempted to sail so late in the season. Acts 27:9 tells us that they did not sail until after the Day of Atonement (“the Fast”), which is late September, early October. Paul advises they not sail until spring, since after mid-November sailing to Rome would be impossible.
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