John 6:10
And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Much grass.—This is an addition in this account. St. Mark, who also represents the impression of an eye-witness, tells us that the grass was green (John 6:39). We know from John 6:4 that it was at the time of the Passover—i.e., about our April, when the hill-country on the west of the lake would naturally be clothed with verdure.

So the men sat down.—The word (ἄνδρες) means men as such, as distinct from women. (Comp. Note on John 1:51.) St. Matthew tells us there were five thousand men besides the women and children (John 14:21; see Note there).

6:1-14 John relates the miracle of feeding the multitude, for its reference to the following discourse. Observe the effect this miracle had upon the people. Even the common Jews expected the Messiah to come into the world, and to be a great Prophet. The Pharisees despised them as not knowing the law; but they knew most of Him who is the end of the law. Yet men may acknowledge Christ as that Prophet, and still turn a deaf ear to him.To prove him - To try him; to see if he had faith, or if he would show that he believed that Jesus had power to supply them. 4. passover … was nigh—but for the reason mentioned (Joh 7:1), Jesus kept away from it, remaining in Galilee. See Poole on "John 6:8" Jesus said, make the men sit down,.... The Syriac version reads, "all the men"; and the Persic version, "all the people"; men, women, and children: Christ, without reproving his disciples for their unbelief, ordered them directly to place the people upon the ground, and seat them in rows by hundreds and by fifties, in a rank and company, as persons about to take a meal:

now there was much grass in the place; at the bottom of the mountain; and it was green, as one of the evangelists observes, it being the spring of the year, and was very commodious to sit down upon:

so the men sat down, in number about five thousand; besides women and children, Matthew 14:21, so that there was but one loaf for more than a thousand persons.

And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 6:10-13. οἱ ἄνδρες] They were men only who formally sat down to the meal, as may be explained from the subordinate position of the women and children; but the feeding of these latter, whose presence we must assume from John 6:4, is not, as taking place indirectly, excluded.

τὸν ἀριθμόν] Accusative of closer definition. See Lobeck, Paralip. p. 528.

John 6:11. εὐχαρ.] The grace before meat said by the host. See on Matthew 14:19. There is no indication that it contained a special petition (“that God would let this little portion feed so many,” Luthardt, comp. Tholuck).

διέδωκε] He distributed the bread (by the disciples) collectively to those who were sitting; and of the fishes as much as they desired.[226]

John 6:12. It is not given as a command of Jesus in the synoptical account. As to the miracle itself,[227] and the methods of explaining it away, wholly or in part, see on Matthew 14:20-21, note, and on Luke 9:17, and observe besides on John 6:13, that according to John the twelve baskets were filled with fragments of bread only (otherwise in Mark 6:43).

Luthardt, without any sanction from the text, assumes a typical reference in the baskets to the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus will not have anything wasted, and each apostle fills his travelling wallet with the surplus. John indicates nothing further, not even that the Lord wished to provide ἵνα μὴ δόξῃ φαντασία τις τὸ γενόμενον (Euthymius Zigabenus, Erasmus, and most others).

[226] Luther’s translation, “as much as He would,” rests upon an unsupported reading in Erasmus, edd. 1 and 2.

[227] By Ewald (Gesch. Chr. p. 442 sq. ed. 3) apprehended ideally, like the turning of the water into wine at Cana, as a legend, upon the formation of which great influence was excited by the holy feeling of higher satisfaction, which resulted from the participation in the bread of life partaken of by the disciples after Christ’s resurrection. This is incompatible with the personal recollection and testimony of John, whom Hase, indeed, supposes by some accident to have been absent from the scene. With equally laboured and mistaken logic, Schleiermacher (L. J. 234) endeavours to show that ver. 26 excludes this event from the category of σημεῖα. Weizsäcker leaves the fact, which is here the symbol of the blessing of Jesus, in perfect uncertainty; but the description by an eye-witness of the work effected in its miraculous character, which only leaves the how unexplained, does not admit of such an evasion.John 6:10. The moral ground for the miracle being thus prepared Jesus at once says, ποιήσατε τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἀναπεσεῖν. [For the form of speech cf. Soph., Philoct., 925, κλύεινμεποιεῖ.] This order was given for two reasons: (1) that there might be no unseemly crowding round Him and crushing out of the weaker; and (2) that they might understand they were to have a full meal, not a mere bite they could take in their hand in passing. Obedience to this request tested the faith of the crowd. They trusted Jesus.—ἦν δὲ χόρτος πολὺς ἐν τῷ τόπῳ, “now there was much grass in the place,” contrasting with the corn-lands and olive-yards of the opposite shore, where the large crowd could not easily have found a place to lie down. Mark rather brings out the contrast between the colours of the dresses and the green grass (John 6:39): ἐπέταξεν αὐτοῖς ἀνακλῖναι πάντας συμπόσια συμπόσια ἐπὶ τῷ χλωρῷ χόρτῳ. καὶ ἀνέπεσαν πρασιαὶ πρασιαί, like beds of flowers.—ἀνέπεσον [better ἀνέπεσαν] οὖν οἱ ἄνδρες … the men reclined, not counting women and children (χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων, Matthew 14:21), in number about five thousand; the women, though not specified, would take their places with the men. Some of the children might steal up to Jesus to receive from His own hand.10. much grass] As we might expect early in April (John 6:4). S. Mark (Mark 6:39-40) mentions how they reclined in parterres, by hundreds and by fifties, on the green grass. This arrangement would make it easy to count them.

the men sat down] The women and children were probably apart by themselves. S. Matthew (Matthew 14:21) tells us that the 5000 included the men only. Among those going up to the Passover there would not be many women or children.John 6:10. Ποιήσατε ἀναπεσεῖν, make to sit down) The faith of the disciples and of the people is put to trial.—χόρτος, grass) A convenience for sitting down.—οἱ ἄνδρες, the men) The number of them was counted, without the women and children.—διέδωκε, distributed) by the hand of the disciples.—ὅσον, as much as) This refers to the loaves and to the fishes.—ἤθελον, they were wishing) Comp. Psalm 145:16, “Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”Verse 10. - Jesus said (the omission of δὲ rather augments the vivid force of the statement), Make the people (ἀνθρώπους here. contrasted with the ἄνδρες of the next clause) recline. Now there was much grass in the place. As already said, this is in harmony with the note of time conveyed in ver. 4. The other evangelist (Mark 6:39) speaks of the people sitting down "upon the green grass" - a vivid touch this of an eyewitness; Matthew (Matthew 14:19) also speaks of the grass; and Mark and Luke add another rememberable feature which John omits. The men (ἄνδρες were distinguished from ἄνθρωποι, which last term may have included the "women and children" (Matthew 14:21), who in no great numbers probably formed, according to Eastern custom, a company by themselves). The men sat down (reclined), in number - the matter of the "number" is here put into the "accusative of closer definition" (Meyer) - about five thousand. Luke says, "in groups of fifty." Mark first declares that Jesus ordered them to sit down (συμπόσια συμπόσια) in parties, and describes the result as having the appearance of garden beds (πρασιαί πρασιαί), of fifty or of a hundred each. The πρασιά is area, forus (Gartenbett; Homer, "Od.," 7:127; 24:247). "Πρασιαί," says Theophylact, "are the different divisions in gardens, in which different herbs are often planted." The image of the garden plots, with different divisions between them, forced itself on the eyewitness (see Trench, "Miracles," p. 205). Sit down (ἀναπεσεῖν)

Literally, recline.

Grass (χόρτος)

Originally an enclosure. Thus Homer speaks of Peleus offering a sacrifice, αὐλῆς ἐν χόρτῳ, in the enclosure of the court ("Iliad," xi., 774). Hence a feeding-place, and so grass, provender. The sense is merely that of our abstract pasture. Matthew and Mark mention the grass, Mark with the epithet green. Wyc., hay.

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