Four thousand men ate the bread (Mt 15:37-15:38)

“All of them ate.

They were filled.

They took up

The broken pieces left over,

Seven baskets full.

Those who had eaten

Were four thousand men,

Besides women

And children.”

 

καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν, καὶ τὸ περισσεῦον τῶν κλασμάτων ἦραν ἑπτὰ σπυρίδας πλήρεις.

οἱ δὲ ἐσθίοντες ἦσαν τετρακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων.

 

Mark, chapter 8:8-9, has a similar statement about how many ate at this multiplication of the bread loaves.  Every one of them ate (καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες) the bread and the fishes, so that they were filled or satisfied (καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν).  They then collected 7 overflowing full baskets of the fragments or these broken pieces (καὶ τὸ περισσεῦον τῶν κλασμάτων ἦραν ἑπτὰ σπυρίδας πλήρεις).  In comparison with the feeding of the 5,000 earlier in chapter 14:20-21, there were 12 baskets of food left over, while here it is only 7 baskets.  Matthew used a different word for the baskets here as opposed to the preceding chapter.  The “σπυρίδας” here was a very large basket, while the other story had a “κοφίνους”, a smaller wicker basket.  Those who had eaten were 4,000 men (οἱ δὲ ἐσθίοντες ἦσαν τετρακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες), besides the women and the children (χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων).  The count there was 5,000 men, but here there is only 4,000 men.  Obviously, there was no exact count taken.  Once again, Matthew added the remark about women and children not being part of the semi-official count of the men, because they would have been on the edges of this crowd of men.  Certainly, it was a miraculous feeding of a very large crowd like earlier.  However, there was no mention of anything to drink.  Both Matthew and Mark have this second multiplication of the loaves for the 4,000 people, indicating two separate multiplications of bread.  This does not seem to be the same event described twice.

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