In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him, and said to them,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)VIII.
(1) In those days.—See Notes on Matthew 15:32-38Mark 8:1-4. In those days, the multitude being very great — The multitude mentioned Matthew 15:30; and having nothing to eat — They had, as on a former occasion, consumed all the provision they had brought with them; Jesus said — I have compassion, Greek, σπλαγχνιζομαι, my bowels yearn, or, are moved, toward the multitude — Who thus flock eagerly about me, and express such zeal in their attendance, as to expose themselves thereby to many inconveniences and hardships. It is pleasing to observe the strong compassion which our blessed Lord continually discovered in all his actions toward mankind. Because they have now been with me three days — It is probable that the multitude, intent on hearing Christ and seeing his miracles, had lodged two nights together in the fields, as the season of the year was pleasant, this event happening quickly after the passover; and besides, the great number of the cures which had been wrought but just before, might animate them to continue with him, concluding, perhaps, that the miraculous power of Christ, which was displayed in so many glorious instances around them, would either preserve their health from being endangered by the large dews which fell in the night, or restore them from any disorder they might contract by their eagerness to attend on his ministry. If I send them away fasting, they will faint, &c. — Our Lord by his power could as easily have preserved them from fainting without food, as have created food by multiplying the loaves and fishes for their support, but he chose to take the latter method. For divers of them came from far — This our Lord knew, and he knew also that they were but ill furnished for procuring provisions, or accommodations abroad, for themselves. His disciples answered, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread, &c. — The disciples, it seems, did not reflect on the miracle which Christ had lately wrought for the relief of the five thousand, or they did not imagine he would repeat such a miracle; or perhaps they thought that Christ proposed to feed this great multitude in the natural way, and, therefore, thus intimated their surprise that he should think of doing a thing so impracticable. Jesus did not reprove them for their forgetfulness of what he had so lately done, or for their wrong notions, but meekly asked what meat they had, and upon their telling him, he ordered it to be brought, and out of seven loaves and a few little fishes made a second dinner for an immense multitude by a miracle, few or none of them having been present at the former dinner. They seem to have been mostly such as followed Jesus from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, and the neighbouring heathen country; hence they are said, on seeing his miracles, to have glorified the God of Israel. This dinner was in all respects like the first, except in the number of loaves and fishes of which it was made, the number of persons who were present at it, and the number of baskets that were filled with the fragments that remained. “One cannot but remark,” says Dr. Macknight, “with what wisdom Jesus chose to be so much in deserts during this period of his ministry. He was resolved, in the discharge of the duties of it, to make as little noise as possible, to avoid crowds, and to be followed only by such as had dispositions proper for profiting by his instructions. And, to say the truth, not a great many others would accompany him into solitudes, where they were to sustain the inconveniences of hunger, and the weather, for several days together. As the multitude on this and the like occasions remained long with Jesus, doubtless his doctrine distilled upon them all the while like dew, and as the small rain upon the tender herb. If so, what satisfaction and edification should we find in the divine discourses which he then delivered, were we in possession of them! The refreshment we receive from such of them as the inspired writers have preserved, raises an ardent desire of the rest. At the same time it must be acknowledged, that we are blessed with as much of Christ’s doctrine as is fully sufficient to all the purposes of salvation.” Matthew 15:32-39.
In those days - While in the wilderness, where he had cured the deaf-mute man.
Mr 8:1-26. Four Thousand Miraculously Fed—A Sign from Heaven Sought and Refused—The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees—A Blind Man at Bethsaida Restored to Sight. ( = Mt 15:32-16:12).
This section of miscellaneous matter evidently follows the preceding one in point of time, as will be seen by observing how it is introduced by Matthew.
Feeding of the Four Thousand (Mr 8:1-9).
1. In those days the multitude being very great, &c.Mark 8:1-9 Christ miraculously feedeth four thousand persons.
the multitude being very great: for the number of men that ate, when the following miracle was wrought, were about four thousand; see Mark 8:9. The Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions add, "again"; referring to the former miracle of the five thousand, who were fed with five loaves, and two fishes, Mark 6:44.
And having nothing to eat; what they might have brought with them being expended, and they in a desert, where nothing was to be had, nor bought for money:
Jesus called his disciples to him, and saith unto them; See Gill on Matthew 15:32.In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Mark 8:1-10. See on Matthew 15:32-39.
ἐν ἐκ. τ. ἡμέρ.] An unessential difference from Matthew, but still a difference.
παμπ. ὄχλου ὄντος] when very many people were there. The presence of such a crowd is intelligible enough after the miraculous cure that has just been related (in opposition to Holtzmann, p. 85). On εἶναι, equivalent to παρεῖναι, comp. Mark 15:40; John 7:39; Dorvill. Charit. p. 600. On πάμπολυς, only found in this place in the N. T., see Wetstein. Comp. Plato, Legg. vii. p. 819 A (πάμπολυς … ὄχλος), Polit. p. 291 A; Lucian, Herm. 61.
Mark 8:2. In the nominative ἡμέραι τρεῖς, Hilgenfeld finds an indication of dependence on Matthew 15:32. Why not the converse?
Mark 8:3. τινὲς γὰρ κ.τ.λ.] information peculiar to Mark concerning the previous ἐκλυθ. ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, but still belonging to the words of Jesus: hence ἥκασιν (Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 744), have come; not: had come (Luther).
Mark 8:4. πόθεν] With surprise the disciples thus ask, as on the desert surface (ἐπʼ ἐρημίας) there is no place whence loaves for their satisfaction were to be obtained.
Mark 8:7. Mark (it is otherwise in Matthew) narrates in this place (otherwise at Mark 6:41) two separate actions in respect of the loaves and the fishes.
According to the reading: καὶ εὐλογήσας αὐτὰ εἶπεν καὶ ταῦτα παρατιθέναι (see the critical remarks), we must translate: and after He had blessed them, He bade set these also before them.
With the small fishes thus, according to Mark, Jesus performs a special consecration (comp. on Matthew 14:19), as to which, however, in εὐλογ. there is nothing to be found of itself higher than in εὐχαρ. (Lange: “the pre-celebration of the glorious success”). The thanksgiving of Jesus was a prayer of praise (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:16). On εὐλογεῖν, with accusative of the object, comp. Luke 9:16, 1 Corinthians 10:16,—in the sense, namely, of uttering over the object a prayer of praise (ברכה), blessing it.
Mark 8:8. περισσ. κλασμ. ἑπτὰ σπυρ., remains left over in pieces seven baskets. The definition of measure is added, according to the Greek usage, in the form of an apposition; Kühner, II. p. 117.
Mark 8:10. Δαλμανουθά, named nowhere else, was doubtless (comp. Matthew 15:39) a village or hamlet on the western side of the lake, in the neighbourhood of Magdala (or else Magada; see on Matthew 15:39). See Robinson, III. p. 530 f. Ewald, indeed, Gesch. Chr. p. 376 (comp. Lightfoot), conjectures that in Dalmanutha we have the Galilean pronunciation of the name of the town צלמון, where, according to the Mishna, many Jews dwelt. But comp. on Matthew 15:39. The present village Delhemija (Robinson, III. p. 514, 530) lies too far to the south, immediately above the influx of the Hieromax, eastward from the Jordan.
The specification of a better-known place in Matthew betrays itself as later; although Baur thinks, that by such variations Mark probably only wished to give himself a semblance of being independent.Mark 8:1-10. Second feeding (Matthew 15:32-39).Mark 8:1-9. The Feeding of the Four Thousand
1. the multitude being very great] The effect of these miraculous cures on the inhabitants of the half-pagan district of Decapolis was very great. So widely was the fame of them spread abroad, that great multitudes brought their sick unto the Lord (Matthew 15:30), and upwards of four thousand, without counting women and children (Matthew 15:38), gathered round Him and His Apostles, and continued with Him upwards of three days (Mark 8:2).Verses 1, 2. - The opening words of the first verse seem to imply that our Lord remained for some time on this, the north-east, side of the Sea of Galilee. The multitude being very great. The word here rendered "very great" is παμπόλλου, a word not to be found anywhere else in the New Testament. But according to the best authorities, the true reading is πάλιν πόλλου; so that the words would run, when there was again a great multitude. It has been supposed with some reason that, as an old ecclesiastical Lection began with this chapter, this may have led to the substitution of παμπόλλου for πάλιν πόλλου, in order to make the Lection more complete in itself, avoiding this reference to the context. In the original Greek construction the word ὄχλος, in the singular, is disintegrated in the next clause by a passage into the plural (καὶ μὴ ἐχόντων τί φάγουσι). This is properly marked in the Revised Version by the words, a great multitude, and they had nothing to eat. Our Lord has compassion on them. He desires not only to heal the sick, but to feed the hungry. We may here notice the burning zeal of the multitude. They were so intent upon hearing Christ, that they forgot to provide themselves with the necessaries of life. They continued with him for three days and had nothing to eat. Whatever small supplies they might have Brought with them at first were now exhausted; and still they remained, "esteeming his words to be more than their necessary food." Our Lord on his part was so. full of zeal for their good, that during all that time, with little interval, he had been preaching to them, denying himself rest, refreshment, and sleep. So true were those words of his, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."
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