Matthew 15:32
Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(32) I have compassion on the multitude.—The obvious resemblance between the details of this narrative and that of the feeding of the Five Thousand has led the schools of critics, who do not regard either as the record of a fact, to treat this as only another version of the same incident, or rather, from their point of view, of the same legend. The notes of distinctness are, however, too numerous to admit of that explanation. The number of the people fed, their three days’ waiting till their food was exhausted, the number of the loaves at hand, and of the baskets in which the fragments were collected after the meal, are all different. More than this, the words rendered in both narratives by “basket” in the Authorised version are not the same in the Greek. Here the word is σπνρις (spuris), the hamper in which provisions were packed as for a party travelling together, large enough, as in St. Paul’s escape from Damascus (Acts 9:25), to hold a man; while in the other it was the κόφινος (cophinus), or smaller basket, which a man carried in his hand. Lastly, our Lord’s words in Matthew 16:9-10, distinctly recognise the two miracles, and connect the close of each with the word which was thus specially appropriate to it. Unless we adopt the incredible hypothesis that the one narrative was first so disguised that it lost the marks of its identity, and that the Evangelists, having combined the two, then invented our Lord’s words, with all their apparent freshness and adaptation to the special circumstances of the hour, they must be admitted to be decisive as proving that there had been two events, like in kind, to which He thus referred. It is significant that here, as so often before, the display of miraculous power in its highest form originates not in answer to a challenge, or as being offered as a proof of a divine mission, but simply from compassion. Three days had passed, and still the crowds hung on His words and waited for His loving acts, and now they began to show signs of exhaustion that moved His sympathy.

Matthew 15:32-39. Jesus called his disciples, and said, I have compassion, &c. — For some observations on the contents of these verses, see the notes on Mark 8:1-9.

15:29-39 Whatever our case is, the only way to find ease and relief, is to lay it at Christ's feet, to submit it to him, and refer it to his disposal. Those who would have spiritual healing from Christ, must be ruled as he pleases. See what work sin has made; what various diseases human bodies are subject to. Here were such diseases as fancy could neither guess the cause nor the cure of, yet these were subject to the command of Christ. The spiritual cures that Christ works are wonderful. When blind souls are made to see by faith, the dumb to speak in prayer, the maimed and the lame to walk in holy obedience, it is to be wondered at. His power was also shown to the multitude, in the plentiful provision he made for them: the manner is much the same as before. All did eat, and were filled. Those whom Christ feeds, he fills. With Christ there is bread enough, and to spare; supplies of grace for more than seek it, and for those that seek for more. Christ sent away the people. Though he had fed them twice, they must not look for miracles to find their daily bread. Let them go home to their callings and their own tables. Lord, increase our faith, and pardon our unbelief, teaching us to live upon thy fulness and bounty, for all things pertaining to this life, and that which is to come.The miracle recorded here - the feeding of the four thousand - took place on a mountain near the Sea of Galilee. The same account is recorded in Mark 8:1-10. The circumstances of the miracle are so similar to the one recorded in Matthew 14:14-21, as to need little additional explanation.

Matthew 15:32

Three days, and have nothing to eat - This is not, perhaps, to be taken literally, but only that during that time they had been deprived of their ordinary or regular food.

They had had only a very scanty supply, and on the third day even that began to fail.

Mt 15:29-39. Miracles of Healing—Four Thousand Miraculously Fed.

For the exposition, see on [1313]Mr 7:31; [1314]Mr 8:10.

See Poole on "Matthew 15:39".

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him,.... Who were at some little distance from him, to impart his mind unto them, whom he had made, and used, as his familiar friends; and to try their faith, and raise their attention, and prepare them for the following miracle; as well as to teach them by his example, and accustom them to show bowels of mercy and compassion to persons in any kind of want and distress:

and said, I have compassion on the multitude; which must be understood of him as man, whose bowels yearned towards them, having been so long without any food for their bodies, or very little; as he had compassion on the sick, and diseased, and healed them, so on the sound and whole, and was willing to feed them. Christ, our high priest, is a merciful one, and is touched with the feeling of the infirmities of men, of every sort, both of soul and body:

because they continue now with me three days; which time had been spent in healing their bodily disorders, and in preaching to them for the good of their souls; which shows the diligence and indefatigableness of Christ, as well as the attachment of the people to him; who were so struck with his miracles and ministry, that though they had been so long from their habitations and families, knew not how to leave him; nor did they talk, or show any signs of departing from him, and returning to their houses, and business of life;

and have nothing to eat; not that they had been so long without eating anything, though very likely it was but little, and what they brought with them, and was now expended; nor could they provide themselves in a desert place, and many of them were a great way off from home:

and I will not send them away fasting; he might have done it, nor did the multitude ask any food of him; but he could not bear the thoughts of dismissing them in such a condition; having had but very little sustenance all this while, and so might be said to be in a manner fasting during this time, at least now:

lest they faint by the way; to their own houses, not having strength and spirit enough to travel, and get home: for "divers of them", as Mark says, "came from far".

{7} Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they {i} continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

(7) By doing this miracle again, Christ shows that he who follows Christ will never be in need, not even in the wilderness.

(i) Go not from my side.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 15:32. In this second instance of feeding the multitude, and which is likewise recorded in Mark 8:1 ff. (and that in a more authentic form), Jesus takes the initiative, as in John 6:5; not so in Matthew 14:15.

ἡμέραι τρεῖς] because they have remained with me, it is now three days, and, and so on. For this elliptical way of inserting the time in the nominative, see Winer, p. 523 [E. T. 704]; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 122 [E. T. 139]; Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 310 f.

καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσι. κ.τ.λ.] for in the course of the three days they had consumed the provisions they had brought along with them.

Matthew 15:32-38. Second feeding (Mark 8:1-9).

32–38. Four thousand Men, besides women and children, are miraculously fed

Mark 8:1-936. gave to his disciples] St Matthew uses the aorist, St Mark the more vivid imperfect “kept giving.”

Matthew 15:32. Σπλαγχνίζομαι, I have compassion) Whilst the people forget hunger in admiration, Jesus pities them, and is not affected by their praise of His miracles. Glory and mercy elsewhere seldom meet.—προσμένουσί Μοι, they remain with Me[702]) It was the interest of the people to remain with Jesus; and yet He embraces that as a reason for conferring a fresh benefit upon them. The people were ready to remain longer.—τί, what) for , that which, see the LXX. in Genesis 38:25.—νήστεις, fasting) Our Lord never dismissed any one without relieving their necessities.

[702] Fresh patients being ever and anon laid down in the midst, one after the other.—V. g.

Verse 32. - Called his disciples unto him. Seeing the necessities of the multitude, Jesus, as it were, takes his disciples into council, treating them not as servants, but as friends. They were doubtless dispersed among the crowd, and Jesus summons them around him, and puts before them the special point to which his attention is turned. Thus he tries their faith, and shows that there were no human means available for feeding these famishing people. Thus God, so to speak, takes Abraham into his confidence before visiting the iniquity of Sodom: "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?" (Genesis 18:17). I have compassion (σπαλαγχνίζομαι) on the multitude. The human heart of Jesus felt for these distressed followers; his perfect sympathy was aroused in their behalf. We observe references to this tender feeling in many other instances (see Matthew 9:36; Matthew 14:14; Matthew 20:34; Mark 1:41; Mark 5:19; Luke 7:13. And in the Old Testament, e.g. Isaiah 49:15; Jeremiah 12:15; Micah 7:19). They continue with me now three days. The verb used here (προσμένειν) implies close attendance persevered in against obstacles; it is used in Acts 11:23 in a spiritual sense, "He exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave (προσμένειν) unto the Lord." The three days, according to the Hebrew formula of computation, would consist of one whole day and parts of two others. Thus constantly employed in healing and teaching, Jesus thinks not of himself; his whole care is centred on the people who, in their anxiety to see and hear him, forget their own necessities. There would be nothing strange in the people camping out for a night in Palestine. Men and women ordinarily lie down to rest in the clothes which they have worn during the day, and need no special preparation for sleeping. Thus a man covers himself with his heavy outer garment, lies on the dry ground, like Jacob at Bethel, with a stone or his arm for a pillow, and sleeps comfortably and safely till awakened by the morning sun. I wilt not send them away fasting. Like a good master of a household, in his tender pity, Christ takes the circumstances of the multitude into consideration, and cannot endure the idea of dismissing them wearied and unfed to find their way to their own homes, which, as St. Mark adds, were, in the case of many of them, at a long distance. Faint. Travellers tell us that out of the motley crowd of pilgrims that flock to Jerusalem at Easter-tide, many run short of provisions and perish on the road. Christ's thoughtful care regards the possibility of such disaster, and prepares the remedy. He had treated the sicknesses of the multitude; he had instructed their ignorance; now he will feed their bodies. They had sought nothing from him, nor begged for food; probably they had no idea of looking to him to supply their want. But they who follow Jesus shall never lack. They were seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and temporal blessings were added to them. Matthew 15:32I will not (οὐ θέλω)

The A. V. might easily be mistaken for the simple future of the verb send. But two verbs are used: the verb I will expressing Jesus' feeling or disposition. The Greek order is, and to send them away fasting I am not willing. Therefore Rev. is better: I would not.

Faint (ἐκλυθῶσιν)

Lit., be unstrung or relaxed.

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