The crowd sits down on the grass in groups (Mk 6:39-6:40)

“Then Jesus

Ordered them

To get all the people

To sit down

In groups

On the green grass.

Thus,

They sat down

In groups

Of hundreds

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.