John 6:13
Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten.
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(13) Comp. Note on Matthew 14:20.

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.Gather up the fragments - This command is omitted by the other evangelists. It shows the care of Jesus that there should be no waste. Though he had power to provide any quantity of food, yet he has here taught us that the bounties of Providence are not to be squandered. In all things the Saviour set us an example of frugality, though he had an infinite supply at his disposal; he was himself economical, though he was Lord of all. If he was thus saving, it becomes us dependent creatures not to waste the bounties of a beneficent Providence. And it especially becomes the rich not to squander the bounties of Providence. They often feel that they are rich. They have enough. They have no fear of want, and they do not feel the necessity of studying economy. Yet let them remember that what they have is the gift of God - just as certainly as the loaves and fishes created by the Saviour were his gift. It is not given them to waste, nor to spend in riot, nor to be the means of injuring their health or of shortening life. It is given to sustain life, to excite gratitude, to fit for the active service of God. Everything should be applied to its appropriate end, and nothing should be squandered or lost. 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" Therefore they gathered them together,.... The several broken bits of bread, which lay about upon the grass, which the people had left, after they had been sufficiently refreshed:

and filled twelve baskets; every disciple had a basket filled:

with the fragments of the five barley loaves; and it may be of the fishes also:

which remained over and above unto them that had eaten; such a marvellous increase was there, through the power of Christ going along with them; insomuch that they multiplied to such a degree, either in the hands of the distributors, or of the eaters.

Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
John 6:13. Συνήγαγον οὖνβεβρωκόσιν, the superabundance, the broken pieces of the five loaves which were in excess of the requirements, ἃ ἐπερίσσεύσε, filled δώδεκα κοφίνους, that is to say, far exceeded the original five loaves.—κόφινος [French, Coffin, petit panier d’osier; cf. our “coffin” and “coffer”], a large wicker basket or hamper used in many countries by gardeners for carrying fruit, vegetables, manure, soil; and identified with the Jew by Juvenal (John 3:14), “Judaeis quorum cophinus foenumque supellex”. (See further Mayor’s note on the line, and Sat., vi. 541.) This gives colour to the idea that each of the apostles may have carried such a basket, which would account for the twelve. But why they should have had the baskets with nothing to carry in them does not appear.13. baskets] All four accounts have the same word for basket, cophinus, i.e. the wallet which every Jew carried when on a journey, to keep himself independent of Gentile food, which would be unclean. Comp. Juvenal iii. 14. Each of the Twelve gathered into his own wallet, and filled it full. Moreover in referring to the miracle the word cophinus is used (Matthew 16:9). In the feeding of the 4000 (Matthew 15:37; Mark 8:8), and in referring to it (Matthew 16:10), a different word for basket, spuris, is used. Such accuracy is evidence of truth. See note on Mark 8:8. S. Mark tells us that fragments of fish were gathered also. The remnants far exceed in quantity the original store.

The expedients to evade the obvious meaning of the narrative are worth mentioning, as shewing how some readers are willing to ‘violate all the canons of historical evidence,’ rather than admit the possibility of a miracle: (1) that food had been brought over and concealed in the boat; (2) that some among the multitude were abundantly supplied with food and were induced by Christ’s example to share their supply with others; (3) that the whole is an allegorical illustration of Matthew 6:33. How could either (1) or (2) excite even a suspicion that He was the Messiah, much less kindle such an enthusiasm as is recorded in John 6:15? And if the whole is an illustration of Matthew 6:33, what meaning in the allegory can be given to this popular enthusiasm? There are “rationalising expedients that are considerably more incredible than miracles.” S. p. 126.John 6:13. Κλασμάτων) fragments.Verse 13. - Therefore they gathered together, and filled twelve baskets with the broken pieces of the five barley loaves which remained over to them that had eaten, says, "For (οϋν) they gathered together, and had filled [ἐγέμισαν, first aorist, not pluperfect] twelve baskets with the fragments [the more than enough food that had been gathered and prepared for eating] of the five loaves;" and he makes John here speak, not of remnants left after the meal, but of bread broken before the meal. Such a treatment of the text cannot be justified on any pretext. The twelve baskets full (δώδεκα κοφίνους) are interesting in two ways. The number "twelve" naturally suggests that each one of the twelve apostles had been employed in the collection of the fragments. There is no need, with Luthardt, to imagine an unconscious reference to the twelve tribes of Israel, further than that the twelve apostles themselves were at first chosen with that reference. The number twelve points to the fact that the apostles had already been selected, though this Gospel is silent about that fact. Again, the word used for "basket" is that which is used in the three synoptic narratives, and contrasts with the σπύριδες, the word used in the later account of the feeding of the four thousand. It means the ordinary wallet, or corbis, in which Jews, on the march, were accustomed to carry their food. In Matthew 16:8-12, where the two miracles are compared with each other, the two words are again used. The "fragments," the superabundance of provision of love for all mankind, was an idea specially conveyed by our Lord as antithetic to the monopolizing doctrine of the scribes and Pharisees. It is unsatisfactory to suppose that the author of this Gospel manipulated the story as given in Mark, adapting it to his own purpose. John's narrative is full of fresh life, though not so pictorial as that of the Second Gospel. The incident of Philip and Andrew is calculated to throw much light upon the event without conflicting with the synoptists. The mythical hypothesis suggests that we have here a Messianic reproduction of the story of Elijah and the cruse of oil (1 Kings 17:16), or the augmentation of the oil by Elisha (2 Kings 4:1-7), and still more the feeding by Elisha of a hundred men with twenty loaves of bread and fresh ears of corn (2 Kings 4:42-44). The suggestion simply shows that there were anticipations in the prophetic career of the great prophets of the northern kingdom of that which the greater than Elijah. accomplished in vindication of his own mission. Baskets (κοφίνους)

See on Matthew 14:20. Wyc., coffins.

With the fragments, etc.

John goes into fuller detail than the Synoptists. Mark alone notes the gathering of the remains of the fishes. John also uses ἐγέμισαν, filled, for they took up, or were taken up, of the Synoptists.

Five barley loaves

A detail peculiar to John, emphasizing the identity of the fragments with the original loaves.

Unto them that had eaten (βεβρωκόσιν)

Only here in the New Testament.

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