|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:13-21 When Christ and his word withdraw, it is best for us to follow, seeking the means of grace for our souls before any worldly advantages. The presence of Christ and his gospel, makes a desert not only tolerable, but desirable. This little supply of bread was increased by Christ's creating power, till the whole multitude were satisfied. In seeking the welfare of men's souls, we should have compassion on their bodies likewise. Let us also remember always to crave a blessing on our meals, and learn to avoid all waste, as frugality is the proper source of liberality. See in this miracle an emblem of the Bread of life, which came down from heaven to sustain our perishing souls. The provisions of Christ's gospel appear mean and scanty to the world, yet they satisfy all that feed on him in their hearts by faith with thanksgiving.
Verse 20. - And they did all eat, and were filled (ἐχορτάσθησαν, Matthew 5:6, note). And they. Undefined, but seen from Matthew 16:9; John 6:12, to have been the disciples. Took up of the fragments that remained; that which remained over of the broken pieces (Revised Version); i.e. of the pieces broken by our Lord for distribution (ver. 19). Twelve baskets full. The disciples personally lost nothing by the miracle (ver. 15, note), the provision basket that each always carried was now replenished. Baskets; "cofyns" (Wickliffe); κοφίνους (cf. Luke 9:17, note; and the Talmudic saying, "He that has bread in his basket is not like him that has not bread in his basket," Talm. Bab., 'Yoma,' 74b).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they did all eat,.... Christ and his twelve disciples, and the five thousand men, with the women and children, of the five loaves and two fishes; everyone had their portion,
and were filled; they were satisfied, they had a full meal, they had enough, and to spare; see 2 Chronicles 31:10 which the Targumist paraphrases thus.
"And Azariah said unto him, who was appointed chief over the house of Zadok, and said, from the time that they began to separate the offering, to bring it into the sanctuary of the Lord, , "we have eat and are filled", and have "left much"; for "the word of the Lord" hath blessed his people, and what is left, lo! it is this plenty of good.''
The Jews used not to reckon it a meal, unless a man was filled, and account it an ill sign, if nothing was left: but here was fulness, and more left than was first had; which was gathered up, either for the use of the poor, or reserved for after service; teaching us liberality to the needy, and frugality, not to waste that which is left.
And they took up of the fragments that remained, twelve baskets full; according to the number of the disciples, every man had his basket full. It may be inquired, where they could have so many baskets in the wilderness? It is not likely, that everyone of the apostles had a basket with him; it is indeed not improbable, but that they might be furnished with them from some in the company, who might bring provisions with them, either for their own use, or to sell; see John 6:9 but perhaps the reason why they were so easily supplied with such a number of baskets in a desert place, might be a custom which the Jews (h) had of carrying baskets with hay and straw, in commemoration of what they did in Egypt; when they were obliged to carry bricks in baskets, and to go about and pick up straw in baskets to make bricks; hence the (i) Epigrammatist calls a "Jew", "cistifer", a "basket bearer", or "carrier"; and Juvenal (k) laughs at these people, as if all their household goods lay in a basket, and a little hay, or straw: it is said of R. Siraeon, that when he went to the school, , "he carried a basket" on his shoulders (l); the gloss suggests, it was to sit upon; but a basket is not very proper for a seat; very likely it was for the above reason: such a custom will account for it, how such a number of baskets could be come at in the wilderness.
(h) Nicholas de Lyra, in Psal. lxxxi. 6. (i) Nubere: nupsisti Gellia Cistifero. Martial. Epigram. 1. 5. Ephesians 17. (k) Judaeis: quorum Cophinus foenumque supellex. Juvenal. Satyr. 3. cum dedit ille locum, Cophino, foenoque relicto. ib. Satyr. 6. (l) T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 49. 2.
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