As they talked with the islanders, they discovered that they were on the island of
Melita (Malta), south of Italy. The islanders noticed that among these strangers were several soldiers and prisoners.
The fire began to burn low and Paul went to gather wood to keep it burning. As he laid his sticks on the fire, the heat from the
flames aroused a poisonous snake that was hidden among the sticks.
The snake bit Paul's hand.
The islanders knew that Paul was a prisoner. When they saw the snake hanging from his hand, they whispered to each other, "This
man must be a murderer. Even though he has escaped from the sea, the gods will not allow him to live."
They watched expecting to see Paul's arm swell or to see him drop over dead. But nothing happened; he had not been harmed at all.
In wonder the islanders looked at one another. They said, "This man
must be a god, for even a deadly snake does not hurt him."
Near by lived Publius, the ruler of the island. He invited Paul and his friends to his home and entertained them for three days.
While there Paul discovered that Publius' father was very ill. The
old man had a disease that often causes death. When Paul prayed for him, Publius was made well.
News of this healing spread quickly over the island. The people brought all their sick to Paul, and he healed them. The islanders and those from the ship saw God's power at work.
And Paul preached to them about Jesus. Those who received the good news were made happy. For three months Paul and the others
stayed on this island.