A city situated on the Resadiye Peninsula, which extends out from the SW corner of Asia Minor into the Aegean Sea, between the islands of Rhodes and Cos.
Though Cnidus is not named on either occasion, the apostle Paul likely passed the city when returning from his second missionary journey, in about 52 C.E. (Ac 18:21, 22), and again toward the close of his third trip, in about 56 C.E., when his ship came to Rhodes and Cos. (Ac 21:1) However, it is specifically mentioned in Acts 27 in connection with Paul’s voyage in about 58 C.E. to appear before Emperor Nero in Rome. Leaving Myra, the ship on which Paul and other prisoners were traveling came to Cnidus. (Ac 27:5-7) With favorable winds this trip of about 240 km (150 mi) might be only a day’s voyage, but the adverse wind mentioned in the account explains why “quite a number of days” were involved for that particular run. The “boat from Alexandria” on which they were sailing was a grain boat, perhaps one of many that regularly brought agricultural products from Egypt to Rome and which may have ordinarily sailed on a more direct route from Alexandria across the Mediterranean Sea to Rome. (Ac 27:38) However, the strong wind mentioned in verses 4 and 7 may have obliged this boat to alter course and put in at Myra. A large, unwieldy craft loaded with grain would make slow progress against the wind and, understandably, would finally arrive at Cnidus “with difficulty.” Recent excavations in the area have revealed much about this site. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Supplementary Volume, p. 169, describes the locality: “A low and narrow isthmus . . . joins the main body of the Cnidian peninsula to a high point of land sheltering in its lee on either side of the isthmus two fine harbors. The larger harbor on the S must have been the commercial harbor where west- or north-bound ships such as Paul’s (Acts 27:7) could wait for unfavorable weather to abate before continuing their journey beyond the windy cape. On the banks of the harbors were moorings; warehouses . . . , market places; small theaters; and a temple of Dionysus.”—Edited by K. Crim, 1976.
After referring to the arrival at Cnidus, the record states that “because the wind did not let us get on, we sailed under the shelter of Crete at Salmone.” (Ac 27:7) It seems that they could not “get on” with their proposed route of crossing the Aegean Sea past the southern tip of Greece and then on to Rome, being forced by the adverse winds to take a southerly route to Crete and to sail under lee of its shores. As Acts 27:9 shows, it was the fall of the year, and those in charge of the vessel doubtless felt the urgency to make as much progress as possible before seasonal conditions made sailing even more hazardous.