Mark 6:37
He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
6:30-44 Let not ministers do any thing or teach any thing, but what they are willing should be told to their Lord. Christ notices the frights of some, and the toils of others of his disciples, and provides rest for those that are tired, and refuge for those that are terrified. The people sought the spiritual food of Christ's word, and then he took care that they should not want bodily food. If Christ and his disciples put up with mean things, surely we may. And this miracle shows that Christ came into the world, not only to restore, but to preserve and nourish spiritual life; in him there is enough for all that come. None are sent empty away from Christ but those who come to him full of themselves. Though Christ had bread enough at command, he teaches us not to waste any of God's bounties, remembering how many are in want. We may, some time, need the fragments that we now throw away.Two hundred pennyworth of bread - About twenty-eight dollars, or 6 British pounds. See the notes at Matthew 14:16. As the disciples had a common purse in which they carried their little property, consisting of the donations of their friends and money to be given to the poor (compare John 12:6; Matthew 26:8-9; Luke 8:3), it is not improbable that they had at this time about this sum in their possession. Philip - for it was he who asked the question John 6:7 - asked, with a mixture of wonder and agitation, whether they should take all their little property and spend it on a single meal? And even if we should, said he, it would not be sufficient to satisfy such a multitude. It was implied in this that, in his view, they could not provide for them if they wished to, and that it would be better to send them away than to attempt it.37. He answered and said unto them—"They need not depart" (Mt 14:10).

Give ye them to eat—doubtless said to prepare them for what was to follow.

And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?—"Philip answered Him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little" (Joh 6:7).

See Poole on "Mark 6:35"

He answered and said unto them, give ye them to eat,.... This he said to try their faith, and make way for the following miracle:

and they say unto him, shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? This might be just the sum of money they now had in the bag, as Grotius, and others conjecture; and the sense be, shall we lay out the two hundred pence, which is all we have in hand, to buy bread for this multitude? is it proper we should? is it thy will that so it should be? and if we should do so, as Philip suggests, John 6:7, it would not be enough to give every one a little: wherefore they say this, as amazed that he should propose such a thing unto them: or the reason of mentioning such a sum, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, might be, because that this was a noted and celebrated sum among the Jews, and frequently mentioned by them. A virgin's dowry, upon marriage, was "two hundred pence" (c); and so was a widow's; and one that was divorced (d), if she insisted on it, and could make good her claim: this was the fine of an adult man, that lay with one under age; and of a male under age, that lay with a female adult (e); and of one man that gave another a slap of the face (f). This sum answered to six pounds and five shillings of our money.

(c) Misn. Cetubot, c. 1. sect. 2. & 4. 7. & 5. 1.((d) Ib. c. 2. sect. 1. & 11. 4. (e) Ib. c. 1. sect. 3.((f) Misn. Bava Kama, c. 6. sect. 8.

He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, {r} Shall we go and buy {s} two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?

(r) This is a kind of demand and wondering, with a subtle mockery, which men commonly use when they begin to get angry and refuse to do something.

(s) Which is about twenty crowns, which is five pounds.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 6:37. δηναρ. διακ. ἄρτους, loaves of (purchasable for) 200 denarii; the sum probably suggested by what the Twelve knew they were in possession of at the time = seven pounds in the purse of the Jesus-circle (Grotius, Holtz., H. C.).

37. Shall we go and buy] With one mouth they seem to have reiterated what St Philip had said earlier in the day.

two hundred pennyworth] The specifying of this sum is peculiar to St Mark and St John. The word translated penny is the denarius, a silver coin of the value originally of 10 and afterwards of 16 ases. The denarius was first coined in b. c. 269, or 4 years before the first Punic war, and originally was of the value of 8½d. of our money, later it = 7½d. It was the day-wages of a labourer in Palestine (Matthew 20:2; Matthew 20:9; Matthew 20:13). “It so happens that in almost every case where the word denarius occurs in the N. T. it is connected with the idea of a liberal or large amount; and yet in these passages the English rendering names a sum which is absurdly small.” Prof. Lightfoot on the Revision of the N. T. p. 166.

Mark 6:37. Ἀγοράσωμεν, are we to buy) The disciples intimate, by this question, that there is on their part no want of the will, both to give their exertion in going away, and their money, as much as they had, in buying what was needed; but what is wanting is the ability to satisfy such a multitude. Therefore, in their question, they fix on the sum two hundred denarii,[48] not so much according to the supply which was in their purse at the time, as according to the number of the multitude. See what can be elicited from the data furnished to us: 5000 men is to 200 denarii, as one man is to 1/25th of a denarius, i.e. about half of a German kreuzer (halfpenny). We have, besides the argument of changing the old money [mintage] into new, that expression of John 6:7, “that every one of them may take a little” especially at that time of year, about the Passover, John 6:4, when the price of provisions is usually higher; we have also the rational computation of the disciples, whereby in contrast on the opposite side is illustrated the omnipotence of our Lord. The sum of 200 zuzœi, or denarii, was among the Hebrews very frequent in the case of a dowry or fine: but this does not oppose the analogy of the 200 denarii and 5000 men.

[48] Pence: though the denarius, originally so called from being = 10 asses, is really somewhat more than 71/2 pence; or, according to its earlier value, 81/2 pence.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 37. - Two hundred pennyworth of bread. The penny, or "denarius," was the chief Roman silver coin, worth about eight-pence halfpenny. Upon the breaking up of the Roman empire, the states which arose upon its ruins imitated the coinage of the old imperial mints, and in general called their principal silver coin the "denarius." Thus the denarius found its way into this country through the Anglo-Saxons, and it was for a long period the only coin. Hence the introduction of the word into the Authorized Version. Two hundred pennyworth would be of the value of nearly seven pounds. But considering the constant fluctuation in the relation between money and the commodities purchased by money, it is in vain to require what number of loaves the same two hundred denarii would purchase at that time, although it was evidently the representation of a large supply of bread. Mark 6:37Shall we go and buy, etc

This question and Christ's answer are peculiar to Mark.

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