About five thousand men.
To his disciples.
‘Make them sit down
In groups of
About fifty each.’”
ἦσαν γὰρ ὡσεὶ ἄνδρες πεντακισχίλιοι. εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ Κατακλίνατε αὐτοὺς κλισίας ὡσεὶ ἀνὰ πεντήκοντα.
Luke said that there were about 5,000 men (ἦσαν γὰρ ὡσεὶ ἄνδρες πεντακισχίλιοι). Jesus told his disciples (εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς) to make them sit down (Κατακλίνατε αὐτοὺς) in groups of about fifty each (κλισίας ὡσεὶ ἀνὰ πεντήκοντα). All four gospels have the people sitting on the grass in groups that totaled about 5,000 people. The exact details are slightly different in Matthew, chapter 14:19, Mark, chapter 6:39-41, and John, chapter 6:10, plus here. Mark did not mention the total number of people until the end of this story. Mark said that Jesus ordered or commanded them to get all the people to sit down or recline in groups on the green grass. Thus, they sat down or reclined in groups of 100s and of 50s. That is why there was an easy way to get a count of the crowd. Have you ever tried to count a large crowd?
To get all the people
To sit down
On the green grass.
They sat down
And of fifties.”
καὶ ἐπέταξεν αὐτοῖς ἀνακλιθῆναι πάντας συμπόσια συμπόσια ἐπὶ τῷ χλωρῷ χόρτῳ.
καὶ ἀνέπεσαν πρασιαὶ πρασιαὶ κατὰ ἑκατὸν καὶ κατὰ πεντήκοντα.
All four gospels have the people sitting on the grass in groups that totaled about 5,000 people. The exact details are slightly different in Matthew, chapter 14:19, Luke, chapter 9:14, and John, chapter 6:10, plus here. Mark does not mention the total number of people until the end of this story. Mark said that Jesus ordered or commanded them (καὶ ἐπέταξεν αὐτοῖς) to get all the people to sit down or recline in groups (ἀνακλιθῆναι πάντας συμπόσια συμπόσια) on the green grass (ἐπὶ τῷ χλωρῷ χόρτῳ). Thus, they sat down or reclined in groups (καὶ ἀνέπεσαν πρασιαὶ πρασιαὶ) of hundreds (κατὰ ἑκατὸν) and of fifties (καὶ κατὰ πεντήκοντα). That is why there was an easy way to get a count of the crowd.
“All of this has been set forth by Jason of Cyrene in five volumes. We shall attempt to condense it into a single book. There is a considerable flood of statistics involved. The difficulty is that those who wish to enter upon the narratives of history find a mass of material. We have aimed to please those who wish to read it by making it easier for those who are inclined to memorize, and thus profit all readers. For us who have undertaken the toil of abbreviating, it is no light matter but calls for sweat and loss of sleep. It is not easy for one who prepares a banquet and seeks the benefit of others. Nevertheless, to secure the gratitude of many we will gladly endure the uncomfortable toil. We leave the responsibility for exact details to the compiler, while devoting our effort to arriving at the outlines of the condensation.”
Apparently there was a 5 volume work on the history of the Maccabees by a Jason of Cyrene. That work is now lost. This anonymous biblical author wanted to condense it down into 1 volume. This might be called the “Reader’s Digest” of the Maccabees story. He claimed that there was a lot of statistics and material about Judas Maccabeus and his brothers. He was going to make it easy to read and memorize in his abbreviated version. However, doing so was not easy, but like an uncomfortable task, like preparing a banquet. He was not going to sweat the details since he was more concerned with the outline in his condensation.