John 6:7
Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
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(7) Philip answered him.—The answer proves that Philip has not really learnt the lessons of the earlier teaching. The question does not suggest to him the true answer of divine sufficiency, but leads him to think of the human difficulty. He looks on the vast throng of people. At the lowest estimate, it would take the value of 200 denarii to feed them—in present money-value nearly £7; in actual labour-value nearly a workman’s yearly wage. The denarius is the value of a day’s work in the parable (Matthew 20:2 et seq.). In A.D. 14, on the accession of Tiberius, one of the causes of revolt in the Pannonian legions is the smallness of their pay, and one of their demands (Tacit. Ann. i. 26) is a penny a day. For Philip this large sum seems an impossibility. He states the difficulty, and leaves it.

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. This discourse between our Saviour and Philip is reported by none of the other evangelists, and probably was after that which they report of the other disciples’ motion to Christ to dismiss the people, because it was now towards evening. The number (as we shall find afterward) was five thousand, besides women and children; amongst whom five hundred pennyworth of bread was very little to be divided.

Philip answered him,.... Very quick and short, and in a carnal and unbelieving way:

two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them. Two hundred pence, or "Roman denarii", which may be here meant, amount to six pounds five shillings of our money; and this sum is mentioned, because it might be the whole stock that was in the bag, or that Christ and his disciples had; or because this was a round sum, much in use among the Jews; See Gill on Mark 6:37. Or this may be said by Philip, to show how impracticable it was to provide for such a company; that supposing they had two hundred pence to lay out in this way; though where should they have that, he suggests? yet if they had it, as much bread as that would purchase would not be sufficient:

that everyone of them might take a little; it would be so far from giving them a meal, or proper refreshment, that everyone could not have a small bit to taste of, or in the least to stay or blunt his appetite: a penny, with the Jews, would buy as much bread as would serve ten men; so that two hundred pence would buy bread enough for two thousand men; but here were three thousand more, besides women and children, who could not have been provided for with such a sum of money.

Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
John 6:7. Philip swiftly calculating declares it impossible to provide bread for so vast a multitude, Διακοσίωνλάβῃ. “Two hundred denarii worth of loaves are not enough for them that each should receive a little.” “Denarius” means containing ten; and originally the denarius contained ten asses. The as was originally an ingot of copper, aes, weighing one lb.; but long before imperial times it had been reduced to one ounce, and the denarius was reckoned as equal to sixteen asses or four sesterces, and taking the Roman gold piece like our sovereign as the standard, the denarius was equivalent to about 9½d., which at that time was the ordinary wage of a working man; sufficient therefore to support a family for a day. If half was spent in food, then, reckoning the family at five persons, one denarius would feed ten persons, and 200 would provide a day’s rations for 2000; but as Philip’s calculation is on the basis not of food for a whole day, but only for one meagre meal, a short ration (βραχύ τι), it is approximately accurate. There were between five and ten thousand mouths. See Expositor, Jan., 1890.

7. Two hundred pennyworth] Two hundred shillingsworth would more accurately represent the original. The denarius was the ordinary wage for a day’s work (Matthew 20:2; comp. Luke 10:35); in weight of silver it was less than a shilling; in purchasing power it was more. Two hundred denarii from the one point of view would be about £7, from the other, nearly double that. S. Philip does not solve the difficulty; he merely states it in a practical way; a much larger amount than they can command would still be insufficient. See notes on Mark 8:4.

John 6:7. Βραχύ τι, a little) Septuag. βραχὺ μέλι, 1 Samuel 14:43.

Verse 7. - Philip took a calculating method of meeting the difficulty, and looked at the question as one which their entire resources were unable to solve. He did not so much as think of the "whence," or from what quarter the loaves could be procured, as how much money would be required to meet the ease. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of loaves are not sufficient for them, that each one may take a little. The denarius was equal to about eightpence halfpenny of our money; so that the sum spoken of, probably representing the entire contents of their common purse, was only six pounds fifteen shillings, and was utterly insufficient for the purpose. The conversation preserved by Mark (Mark 6:35-37) cannot well be made part of this language of Philip, but rather follows when the short afternoon was coming on, and the long shadows indicated the near approach of darkness. Philip had told the other disciples of the Lord's question, and they had discussed the possible perils of the case and the intentions of the Lord. It is interesting to see, in Mark, that the same sum was mentioned as being insufficient for the needs of the great multitudes. John has not only abridged the narrative of the synoptists, but added a feature which is of interest, and shows how for some hours the disciples had meditated on what they fancied would be necessary, and had come to the somewhat unwelcome conclusion that they must sacrifice their entire stock of funds. The Lord had first of all made the suggestion. They now go to him, to beseech his influence to send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves something to eat. When the enigmatic words burst from his lips, "Give ye them to eat," the two hundred pennyworth of bread is once more referred to by the disciples as insufficient (Luke 9:12, 13; Matthew 14:15-17). John 6:7Pennyworth (δηναρίων)

See on Matthew 20:2. Two hundred pennyworth would represent between thirty and thirty-five dollars.

That every one may take a little

Peculiar to John.

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