The name Mediterranean means "middle of the earth," and this sea lies at the center of the ancient world, bordering Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor, and Palestine. In Old Testament times, the Philistines built cities along the Mediterranean coast in southern Palestine. King Hiram of Tyre sent shipments of timber along the Mediterranean coast for Solomon's building projects. The Prophet Jonah tried to flee from God by boarding a ship at the Palestinian port of Joppa and was caught in a storm at sea. The lack of good natural harbors, however, meant that Israel never became a seafaring people.
In New Testament times, Herod the Great created an artificial harbor at Caesarea. The book of Acts tells of Christians in the coastal city of Joppa (Acts 9:36-43). Paul sailed on the Mediterranean when traveling to Cyprus and from Greece to Palestine. In Acts 27-28, Paul voyages on the Mediterranean and is shipwrecked on Malta before arriving at Rome.
AUTHOR: Robert Brusic, Seminary Pastor Emeritus