Today’s Scripture Reading (February 25, 2018): Acts 27
For those who live on the north-east shore of North America, there is a mystical wind that almost everyone knows to avoid; the dreaded noreaster (or northeaster). Sailors are familiar with the wind which is essentially a northern cyclone (although noreasters have been known to hit as far south as the Gulf of Mexico). The wind takes its name from the place of highest wind speed for a storm that is partially over water, much like a hurricane, and is spinning in a counterclockwise direction. From the perspective of those on the ground, this circular cyclone produces a violent wind that appears to be coming out of the north-east as it hits the shore. Noreasters are usually winter storms, hitting the coast between November and March. And when the noreaster begins to blow, it is best if you leave your ships anchored and head for someplace warm to wait out the storm.
There are things to like and dislike about newer translations of the Bible. I love that they make the Bible more accessible and understandable. In many cases, I believe the newer translations are not just easier to read, but they are often more accurate than the older versions, and especially the King James Version. But there are times when the modern language becomes a little too familiar or uses language that might not be universally understood, and this passage is one of those times.
For me, the King James use of the word “Euroclydon” is more accurate than the NIV’s “Northeaster.” While “Northeaster” is an interesting and somewhat accurate word to use in the place of “Euroclydon,” it delivers the emotional impact that it is trying to relay to only a small subset of people; namely, those living on the North Atlantic seaboard in the United States and Canada. “Euroclydon” is a little less known but a little more accurate. A “Euroclydon” is a wind from the east (north, mid or south-east) arising out of an area that is known by the geographical term “The Levant.” A “Euroclydon” causes a violent agitation of the Mediterranean Ocean. In modern times, this wind is not known locally as a “Northeaster,” but rather a “Levanter” – a Mediterranean wind arising out of the Levant in the east.
The important thing to note, no matter what we call the wind, is that this was a storm in which no one wanted to travel. It would have been characterized by high and broad waves that would cause problems for even more modern boats, let alone the ancient boat in which Paul was trying to complete his journey to Rome.
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 28