Matthew 14:17
And they say to him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
14:13-21 When Christ and his word withdraw, it is best for us to follow, seeking the means of grace for our souls before any worldly advantages. The presence of Christ and his gospel, makes a desert not only tolerable, but desirable. This little supply of bread was increased by Christ's creating power, till the whole multitude were satisfied. In seeking the welfare of men's souls, we should have compassion on their bodies likewise. Let us also remember always to crave a blessing on our meals, and learn to avoid all waste, as frugality is the proper source of liberality. See in this miracle an emblem of the Bread of life, which came down from heaven to sustain our perishing souls. The provisions of Christ's gospel appear mean and scanty to the world, yet they satisfy all that feed on him in their hearts by faith with thanksgiving.We have here but five loaves ... - These loaves were in the possession of a lad, or young man, who was with them, and were made of barley, John 6:9

It is possible that this lad was one in attendance on the apostles to carry their food, but it is most probable he was one who had provision to sell among the multitude. Barley was a cheap kind of food, scarcely one-third the value of wheat, and was much used by poor people. A considerable part of the food of the people in that region was probably fish, as they lived on the borders of a lake that abounded in fish.

Mt 14:12-21. Hearing of the Baptist's Death, Jesus Crosses the Lake with Twelve, and Miraculously Feeds Five Thousand. ( = Mr 6:30-44; Lu 9:10-17; Joh 6:1-14).

For the exposition of this section—one of the very few where all the four Evangelists run parallel—see on [1302]Mr 6:30-44.

See Poole on "Matthew 14:21". And they say unto him,.... In order to excuse themselves, and to show the impossibility of feeding such a large number of people;

we have here but five loaves; and these barley ones, coarse bread;

and two fishes; small ones, which were dried and salted, and fit for present eating; which they either brought along with them for their own refreshment, or rather, were brought thither by a boy to sell, as is usual where a great concourse of people are got together: these words seem to be spoken by Andrew, Simon Peter's brother; who added, "but what are they among so many?" see John 6:8 not thinking of the power of Christ, who was able to multiply, and make this provision a sufficiency for the whole company.

And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 14:17. πέντε ἄρτους κ. δ. ἰχ· A very modest supply even for the disciple circle. They seem, under the influence of Jesus, to have been a care-free company, letting to-morrow look after itself. “Learn the philosophy of the Twelve, and how they despised food. Being twelve they had only so much, and they readily gave up these” (Chrysos., H. xlix.). Five loaves and two fishes, all that was known to be in that vast gathering.Matthew 14:17. Ἄρτους, loaves) obtained for the present exigency one by one.Verse 17. - And they say unto him, We have here (ῶδε) but five loaves (Matthew 4:3, note), and two fishes (Matthew 7:9, note). St. Matthew omits the question, "Shall we go and buy?" etc., which comes in Mark and Luke, and essentially in John (ver. 5).
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