The leftovers from the large crowd of five thousand (Mt 14:20-14:21)

“They all ate.

They were satisfied.

They took up

What was left over

Of the broken pieces,

Twelve baskets full.

Those who ate

Were about five thousand men,

Besides women

And children.”

 

καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν, καὶ ἦραν τὸ περισσεῦον τῶν κλασμάτων δώδεκα κοφίνους πλήρεις.

οἱ δὲ ἐσθίοντες ἦσαν ἄνδρες ὡσεὶ πεντακισχίλιοι χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων.

 

This is the only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Mark, chapter 6:42-44, Luke, chapter 9:17, and John, chapter 6:11-13, plus here, but there are slight differences.  All agree that there were 12 baskets of food left over, symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles.  They also agree that it was about 5,000 men.  Obviously, there was no exact count taken.  Only Matthew added the remark about the women and the children.  Certainly, it was a miraculous feeding.  Everyone ate some food (καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες).  They were all satisfied or filled (καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν).  There was no mention of anything to drink.  They took up what was left over of the broken pieces or fragments of food, so that it filled 12 full baskets (αὶ ἦραν τὸ περισσεῦον τῶν κλασμάτων δώδεκα κοφίνους πλήρεις), a very symbolic number.  Those who ate were about 5,000 men (οἱ δὲ ἐσθίοντες ἦσαν ἄνδρες ὡσεὶ πεντακισχίλιοι), not counting the women and the children (χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων), who would have been on the edges of this large crowd of men.  Without a doubt, this was a very large crowd to feed.

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