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Monday, December 18 2017

Hometowns: Malta

"The chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously ... Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary"

Malta (also known as Melita, from the Greek name pronounced Melite) is located at about the midway point of the east to west length of the Mediterranean Sea. As seen on the map below, Malta is about 100 kilometers / 60 miles south of Sicily. Libya (see also Hometowns: Cyrene) is the African country directly south of Malta.


The largest of the five islands, Malta, is about 28 kilometers / 17 miles long and 15 kilometers / 9 miles wide. The bay in which Paul's shipwreck occurred is today called "St. Paul's Bay" (see the map below). The other islands are Gozo, Comino, Comminotto and Filfla.

Malta Map

The apostle Paul arrived on Malta during his voyage to Rome (see Why Was Paul Sent To Rome?) as the result of a Mediterranean cyclone (see the Fact Finder question below). A satellite view of the very same sort of storm, in the very same place, is shown below.

Mediterranean cyclone

Paul remained on Malta for three months, during which the good people there treated him with much honor and hospitality.


The King James Version unfortunately and erroneously uses "the barbarous people" to describe the people of Malta. They were actually peaceful, civilized people (there were more "barbarians" on the ship than on Malta) who welcomed Paul's group with "kindness" and "received us every one." The King James Version was using the term as it existed centuries ago in which "barbarian" simply meant foreigner - but even then, on Malta, it was Paul and his group who were the foreigners.

"28:1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.

28:2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.

28:3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 28:4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. 28:5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. 28:6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

28:7 In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. 28:9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: 28:10 Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary." (Acts 28:1-10 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why do storms such as caused Paul's shipwreck happen at that time of year in the Mediterranean?
See Paul's Cyclone

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218 BC: The Battle of the Trebia during the Second Punic War; Hannibal's Carthaginian forces defeated those of the Roman Republic (see also The Roman Emperors: Julius Caesar and The Roman Emperors: Augustus).


1118: Alfonso the Battler, the King of Aragon, captured Saragossa from the Muslims who then held Spain (see also Daniel 11: The Abominations Of Desolations By The Kings Of The North And South).


1271: Kublai Khan renamed his empire "Yuan," thereby beginning the Yuan Dynasty of Mongolia and China (see also The First Chinese American War).


1398: Turkish warrior Timur Lenk (Tamurlane) conquered Delhi.

1642: Abel Tasman became the first (known) European to land in New Zealand (Tasmania is named after Tasman).

Abel Tasman

1737: Antonio Stradivari, the famous Italian violin-maker, died.

1813: Fort Niagara was captured by the British from the U.S. during the War of 1812 (1812-1814).

1863: Franz Ferdinand, the Archduke of Austria, was born. His assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 sparked the chain of events which ignited the First World War (see The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars).

Franz Ferdinand

1865: The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery, was proclaimed.

Washington's Slaves

1892: The first public performance of The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

1898: The first official automobile speed record was set: 39 miles / 63 kilometers per hour.

1912: Charles Dawson (not to be confused with Charles Darwin) discovered fossils which became known as the "Piltdown Man" in East Sussex, England, and claimed they were remains of primitive man. It was later discovered to be a hoax (see also Rescuing Charles Darwin From The Atheists).

1914: A few months after the start of the First World War (1914-1918), Britain declared Egypt its protectorate for the time that it would be freed from Ottoman occupation. Egypt was declared independent in 1922.

1916: During the First World War (1914-1918; see The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars), the Battle of Verdun ended after 10 months of fighting - France and Germany lost 330,000 killed and wounded.

1939: At the start of the Second World War (September 1, 1939 to August 15, 1945; the U.S. entered the war in December 1941, 2 years and 3 months after it began), the first contingent of Canadian troops arrived in Britain to join with the British in the war against Hitler. The troops of the First Canadian Division had sailed from Halifax on December 10 in 5 ocean liners, accompanied by the Royal Canadian Navy battleship Resolution. When they reached the Clyde there was a great array of British sea power to welcome them. Winston Churchill, then First Lord of The Admiralty, broadcast the news of the Canadians' safe arrival with His famous "It has warmed the cockles of our hearts."

1940: Adolf Hitler issued the orders for the invasion of the Soviet Union - known as Operation Barbarossa (see Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader? and The Terrorist Attack That Enabled Hitler To Become A Dictator).

1956: Japan was admitted to the United Nations (see also Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?).

1969: Britain abolished the death penalty.

1972: During the Vietnam War, U.S. President Richard Nixon (then under investigation for the criminal Watergate burglaries, and in need of a foreign bogeyman to divert attention) declared that the U.S. would attack North Vietnam during a series of Christmas bombings.

1989: The European Economic Community and the Soviet Union signed an agreement on trade, commercial and economic cooperation.

2006: The United Arab Emirates held its first-ever elections.

2008: Mark Felt died at age 95. Felt, an FBI agent before and during the Nixon administration, was identified as the Watergate "Deep Throat" informant to Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post. The leads that Felt provided eventually brought about Nixon's resignation and the criminal conviction of numerous of Nixon's associates.


Copyright © Wayne Blank