“But by this time,
Battered by the waves,
Was far from the land.
Was against them.”
τὸ δὲ πλοῖον ἤδη σταδίους πολλοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς ἀπεῖχεν, βασανιζόμενον ὑπὸ τῶν κυμάτων, ἦν γὰρ ἐναντίος ὁ ἄνεμος.
This incident about the disciples in the boat at sea can be found in Mark, chapter 6:47, and John, chapter 6:18-19. By this time, instead of the disciples waiting near shore, their boat was far from the land, many “stadiums” “σταδίους” from the shoreland (τὸ δὲ πλοῖον ἤδη σταδίους πολλοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς). A stadium was about 1/8 of a mile based on the race tracks in the Roman arenas. The waves tossed the boat (ἀπεῖχεν βασανιζόμενον ὑπὸ τῶν κυμάτων) and the wind was against them (ἦν γὰρ ἐναντίος ὁ ἄνεμος). In other words, they were in a little trouble.
“In those days Simon encamped against Gazara. He surrounded it with troops. He made a siege engine. He brought it up to the city so that he battered and captured one tower. The men in the siege engine leaped out into the city as a great tumult arose in the city. The men in the city, with their wives and children, went up on the wall with their clothes torn. They cried out with a loud voice, asking Simon to make peace with them. They said.
‘Do not treat us according to our wicked acts
But according to your mercy.’
So Simon reached an agreement with them. He stopped fighting against them. However, he expelled them from the city. He cleansed the houses in which the idols were located. He then entered it with hymns and praise. He removed all the wickedness from it. He settled in it men who observed the law. He also strengthened its fortifications. He then built in it a house for himself.”
Apparently this Gazara was Gaza. Simon surrounded it with his troops. The siege war engine was like a tower on wheels with catapults and battering rams that could break fortifications. As the people in Gaza saw this, they tore their clothes and asked for mercy. Simon decided not to kill them, but to expel them from the Gaza strip. He then put law abiding Jewish people there and built a house for himself. Does that sound familiar? Before he entered the city of Gaza, he cleansed the houses that had idols so that all the wicked things were gone when he entered the town singing hymns.