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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Boat (2)

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πλοῖον: Authorized Version ‘ship,’ Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘boat.’ πλοιάριον: Mark 3:9 Authorized Version ‘a small ship,’ Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘a little boat’; John 6:22 Authorized Version and Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘boat,’ (Revised Version margin) ‘little boat’; v. 24 ἐνεβησαν εἰς τα τλοιάρια Authorized Version ‘took shipping,’ Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘got into the boats,’ marg. ‘little boats’; 21:8 τῶ τλοιαριω Authorized Version ‘in a little ship,’ Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘in the little boat.’ [Luke 5:2 Tisch., WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] marg. τλοιάρια: WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] , TR [Note: R Textus Receptus.] τλοῖα. John 6:23 Tisch., TR [Note: R Textus Receptus.] , Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 τλοιαρια: WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] τλοῖα].

The word ‘ship’ is rightly expelled from the Gospels by the Revisers. It corresponds to ναῦς, which occurs nowhere in the Gospels, and in the NT only in Acts 27:41. Being a small lake, the Sea of Galilee had no ‘ships’; but it had numerous ‘boats’ mostly employed in fishing (termed πλοῖα in the Gospels, also [τὰ] σκάφη in Josephus). Some of these were biggish craft, and usually swung at anchor on the Lake (cf. Josephus Vit. 33), being attended by πλοιάρια, ‘punts’ (cf. John 21:3; John 21:8). In Acts 27:16; Acts 27:30; Acts 27:32 the small-boat of St. Paul’s ship is called ἡ σκάφη). To quell the revolt in Tiberias, Josephus mustered all the boats on the Lake, and they numbered as many as 230 (Josephus BJ ii. xxi. 8). A boat which could accommodate Jesus and the Twelve must have been of considerable dimensions; and in the battle on the Lake, under Vespasian, the Romans fought on rafts and the pirates on boats. Though small and weak in comparison with the rafts, the boats must have been of considerable size (Josephus BJ iii. x. 9).

Jesus had much to do with boats during His Galilaean ministry, and one use that He made of them is peculiarly noteworthy. In two recorded instances He employed a boat as His pulpit (Luke 5:1-3, Matthew 13:1-2 = Mark 4:1). Getting into it to escape the pressure of the multitude, He pushed out a little way from the land and addressed the people ranged along the sloping beach, as St. Chrysostom puts it, ‘fishing and netting those on the land (ἁλιεύων καὶ σαγηνεύων τοὺς ἐν τῇ γῇ).’ Only two instances of His resorting to this device are recorded, but it seems to have been His practice. Early in His ministry, St. Mark says (Mark 3:9), ‘He spake to his disciples that a little boat should wait on him because of the crowd, lest they should throng him’; and it is interesting to observe how the Evangelist subsequently alludes to ‘the boat’ (Mark 4:36; Mark 6:32. Cf. Matthew 8:23 τὸ πλοῖον TR [Note: R Textus Receptus.] , Tisch.; πλοῖον WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] ), meaning the boat which had been put at His disposal.

David Smith.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Boat (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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