John 6:23
(Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) Howbeit there came other boats.—This is a parenthesis to explain the fact that while on the previous evening they saw only one boat, there were now several. The multitude came in part from the west of the lake, and the boats crossed over in the morning for them. It is possible that a harbour or centre of merchandise is pointed out by “nigh unto the place.”

The Lord had given thanks.—This act had impressed itself upon the writer. Because the Lord had blessed the bread it was that the multitude had whereof to eat.

6:22-27 Instead of answering the inquiry how he came there, Jesus blamed their asking. The utmost earnestness should be employed in seeking salvation, in the use of appointed means; yet it is to be sought only as the gift of the Son of man. Him the Father has sealed, proved to be God. He declared the Son of man to be the Son of God with power.There came other boats - After the disciples had departed. This is added because, from what follows, it appears that they supposed that he had entered one of those boats and gone to Capernaum after his disciples had departed.

From Tiberias - This town stood on the western borders of the lake, not far from where the miracle had been performed. It was so called in honor of the Emperor Tiberius. It was built by Herod Antipas, and was made by him the capital of Galilee. The city afterward became a celebrated seat of Jewish learning. It is now called Tabaria, and is a considerable place. It is occupied chiefly by Turks, and is very hot and unhealthy. Mr. Fisk, an American missionary, was at Tiberius (Tabaria) in 1823. The old town is surrounded by a wall, but within it is very ruinous, and the plain for a mile or two south is strewed with ruins. The Jordan, where it issues from the lake, was so shallow that cattle and asses forded it easily. Mr. Fisk was shown a house called the house of Peter, which is used as the Greek Catholic church, and is the only church in the place. The number of Christian families is 30 or 40, all Greek Catholics. There were two sects of Jews, each of whom had a synagogue.

The Jewish population was estimated at about 1,000. On the 1st of January, 1837, Tiberius was destroyed by an earthquake. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. ii. pp. 76, 77) says of this city: "Ever since the destruction of Jerusalem, it has been chiefly celebrated in connection with the Jews, and was for a long time the chief seat of rabbinical learning. It is still one of their four holy cities. Among the Christians it also early rose to distinction, and the old church, built upon the spot where our Lord gave his last charge to Peter, is a choice bit of ecclesiastical antiquity. The present city is situated on the shore, at the northeast corner of this small plain. The walls inclose an irregular parallelogram, about 100 rods from north to south, and in width not more than 40. They were strengthened by ten round towers on the west, five on the north, and eight on the south. There were also two or three towers along the shore to protect the city from attack by sea. Not much more than one-half of this small area is occupied by buildings of any kind, and the north end, which is a rocky hill, has nothing but the ruins of the old palace.

The earthquake of 1837 prostrated a large part of the walls, and they have not yet been repaired, and perhaps never will be. There is no town in Syria so utterly filthy as Tiberius, or so little to be desired as a residence. Being 600 feet below the level of the ocean, and overhung on the west by a high mountain, which effectually shuts off the Mediterranean breezes, it is fearfully hot in summer. The last time I was encamped at the Baths the thermometer stood at 100 at midnight, and a steam went up from the surface of the lake as from some huge, smouldering volcano. Of course it swarms with all sorts of vermin. What can induce human beings to settle down in such a place? And yet some 2,000 of our race make it their chosen abode. They are chiefly Jews, attracted hither either to cleanse their leprous bodies in her baths, or to purify their unclean spirits by contact with her traditionary and ceremonial holiness."

23. Howbeit, &c.—"Howbeit," adds the Evangelist, in a lively parenthesis, "there came other boats from Tiberias" (which lay near the southwest coast of the lake), whose passengers were part of the multitude that had followed Jesus to the east side, and been miraculously fed; these boats were fastened somewhere (says the Evangelist)

nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks—thus he refers to the glorious "miracle of the loaves"—and now they were put in requisition to convey the people back again to the west side. For when "the people saw that Jesus was not there, neither His disciples, they also took shipping [in these boats] and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus."

Ver. 23,24. They also took shipping, made use of some other boats that were come over the water, and went over to seek Jesus; not out of any love to his person or doctrine, (as we shall anon hear), but out of a curiosity to see some further miracles wrought by him. Our Lord disappoints them, but preacheth a most admirable sermon to them.

Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias,.... A city by the sea side, built by Herod, and called so in honour of Tiberius Caesar; though the Jews give a different etymology of it; they say, it is the same with Rakkath, Joshua 19:35, and that it was a fortified place from the days of Joshua, and that on one side, , "the sea was its wall" (d): and so Jonathan the Targumist on Deuteronomy 3:17 says, that Tiberias was near the sea of salt: this place became famous for many of the wise men that lived here; here was a famous university, and here the Misna and Jerusalem Talmud were written; and here the sanhedrim sat, after it removed from Jerusalem:

nigh unto the place where they did eat bread; where the day before they had been fed in so miraculous a manner: the meaning is, either that Tiberias was near to the place where the miracle was wrought, or the boats from Tiberias came near that place, and both were true: so that these men that were waiting by the sea side, had an opportunity of going over in these boats in quest of Christ, to whom they were now become greatly attached, by feeding them in so wonderful a manner:

after that the Lord had given thanks; which clause is added to show, that the multiplication of the bread, and the refreshment the men had by it, were owing to the power of Christ, and his blessing it; though this is wanting in Beza's most ancient copy, and in some others.

(d) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 5. 2. & Hieros. Megilla, fol. 70. 1.

(Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. Howbeit there came] This awkward parenthesis explains how there came to be boats to transport the people to the western shore after they had given over seeking for Christ on the eastern.

after that the Lord had given thanks] Unless the giving thanks was the turning-point of the miracle it is difficult to see why it is mentioned again here: see on John 6:11.

John 6:23. Ἐγγὺς τοῦ τόπου) nigh unto the place.

John 6:23Howbeit there came other boats (ἄλλα δὲ ἧλθεν πλοιάρια).

Some editors omit δὲ, howbeit, change ἄλλα, other, into ἀλλὰ, but, and read, but there came boats.

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