|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:10-17 The people followed Jesus, and though they came unseasonably, yet he gave them what they came for. He spake unto them of the kingdom of God. He healed those who had need of healing. And with five loaves of bread and two fishes, Christ fed five thousand men. He will not see those that fear him, and serve him faithfully, want any good thing. When we receive creature-comforts, we must acknowledge that we receive them from God, and that we are unworthy to receive them; that we owe them all, and all the comfort we have in them, to the mediation of Christ, by whom the curse is taken away. The blessing of Christ will make a little go a great way. He fills every hungry soul, abundantly satisfies it with the goodness of his house. Here were fragments taken up: in our Father's house there is bread enough, and to spare. We are not straitened, nor stinted in Christ.
Verse 17. - And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them, twelve baskets. A very impressive lesson from the Creator himself against waste or extravagance. St. John expressly tells us that this order to gather up the fragments of their meal emanated from Jesus himself. Carefulness, thrift, and economy in small things as in great, form part of the teaching of the loving Master. From such passages as Mark 6:37 and John 13:29, it seems probable that the disciples, acting under their Master's direction, were in the habit of distributing, out of their comparative abundance, food to those persons in the villages who were poorer than themselves. It was, no doubt, for some such hallowed object as this that the careful collection of the fragments which filled twelve baskets was made. The "baskets" (cophinus) were usually carried by travelling Jews to keep their food from contracting Levitical pollution in Gentile places. Juvenal, in a well-known passage ('Sat.,' 3:14), writes of the Jews travelling about Italy with no baggage save a little bundle of hay to serve as a pillow, and this cophinus, or basket, for their food. So abundant had been the provision created by Jesus, that the fragments collected far exceeded the original stock of food which the disciples gave to Jesus to bless, to break, and to distribute among the five thousand and upward who were fed that memorable afternoon. This miracle is the only one in the entire Galilaean ministry which is told by all the four evangelists. It evidently had a very prominent place in the teaching of the first days. Rationalizing interpretation in the case of this miracle is singularly at fault. After eighteen centuries of unremitting hostility to the teaching of Jesus Christ, not even a plausible explanation of this miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes has been found by adverse critics. In our own days, Renan, following the ancient interpretation of Paulus, simply suggests that the multitudes were fed by materials provided by themselves. "Every one took his little store of provision from his wallet; they lived on very little" - an explanation, as it has been happily termed, "ludicrously inadequate." After the relation of the great miracle of feeding the five thousand, St. Luke omits in his Gospel a variety of incidents and several discourses told at greater or lesser length by the other evangelists. For instance, the reverential amazement of the people when the nature of the stupendous miracle in connection with the creation of the loaves and fishes flashed upon them, - they wished to recognize him as King Messiah; the walking on the sea; the long and important discourse on the true Bread at Capernaum, the text of which was the late great miracle of the loaves; the journey among the heathen as far as Tyre and Sidon; the meeting with the Syro-phoenician woman; the feeding of the four thousand, etc. These incidents are related in Matthew 14-16:12; Mark 6:45 - 8:80; John 6. No commentator has satisfactorily explained the reason of this omission of important portions of our Lord's public ministry. The reason for St. Luke's action here probably will never be guessed. We must, however, in all theories which we may form of the composition of these Gospels, never lose sight of this fact, that while SS. Matthew and Peter (Mark) were eyewitnesses of the events of the life, St. Luke, and his master, Paul, simply reproduced what they had heard or read. We may, therefore, suppose that St. Luke exercised larger discretionary powers in dealing with materials derived from others than the other two, who desired, no doubt, to reproduce a fairly general summary of their Divine Master's acts. On such a theory of composition, a gap in the story like the one we are now alluding to, in the more eclectic Gospel of St. Luke, would seem scarcely possible in the first two Gospels. We, of course, make no allusion here to the Fourth Gospel; the whole plan and design of St. John was different to that upon which the first three were modelled.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they did eat, and were all filled,.... Every one had a part, and enough:
and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them, twelve baskets; See Gill on Matthew 14:20.
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