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Publius was the governor of Malta at the time when the apostle Paul was shipwrecked on the island while on a voyage to Rome as a prisoner of the Romans (see Paul's Journey To Rome). Publius welcomed Paul into his home for three days, during which time Paul, by means of the Holy Spirit, healed Publius' father of an illness, and thereafter numerous other people as well. Paul remained on the island for 3 months, until the storm season had passed, and they were able to continue their voyage on another ship which became available.

Malta Map

The Shipwreck On Malta

After riding out a severe storm for 14 days, the ship ran aground on Malta:

"Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach [today known as St. Paul's Bay - see map above at right], on which they planned if possible to bring the ship ashore. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders; then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. But striking a shoal they ran the vessel aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was broken up by the surf."

"The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape; but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their purpose. He ordered those who could swim to throw themselves overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all escaped to land." (Acts 27:39-44 RSV)

Paul Welcomed By Publius and The People of Malta

After an incident with a deadly viper on the beach, that bit Paul but miraculously did no harm, Paul was welcomed by Publius:

"After we had escaped, we then learned that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, when a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live." He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They waited, expecting him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead; but when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god."

"Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery; and Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. They presented many gifts to us; and when we sailed, they put on board whatever we needed."

"After three months we set sail in a ship which had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the Twin Brothers as figurehead." (Acts 28:1-11 RSV)

Fact Finder: Before which 3 high Roman officials did Paul make his defense, prior to his voyage to Rome as a prisoner?
See Festus, Felix and The Herods (Herod Agrippa II)

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