About four thousand people.
Jesus sent them away.”
ἦσαν δὲ ὡς τετρακισχίλιοι. καὶ ἀπέλυσεν αὐτούς.
Matthew, chapter 15:38, has a similar statement about how many ate at this multiplication of the bread loaves. Those who had eaten were 4,000 people (ἦσαν δὲ ὡς τετρακισχίλιοι). Then Jesus sent them away (καὶ ἀπέλυσεν αὐτούς). The earlier count in Mark, chapter 6:30-44 was 5,000 people, but here there was only 4,000 people. Obviously, there was no exact count taken. 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, since this does not seem to be the same event described twice.
“They took up
Full of broken pieces
And of the fish.
Those who had eaten
Numbered five thousand men.”
καὶ ἦραν κλάσματα δώδεκα κοφίνων πληρώματα καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἰχθύων.
καὶ ἦσαν οἱ φαγόντες τοὺς ἄρτους πεντακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες.
This is the only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:20-21, Luke, chapter 9:17, and John, chapter 6:13, 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 women and the children. Mark said that they took up 12 full hand baskets of the broken pieces of bread (καὶ ἦραν κλάσματα δώδεκα κοφίνων πληρώματα), and the pieces of fish (καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἰχθύων). Those who ate the loaves (καὶ ἦσαν οἱ φαγόντες τοὺς ἄρτους) were about 5,000 men (πεντακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες). Without a doubt, this was a very large crowd to feed.
“A very large crowd
Spread their garments
On the road.
Others cut branches
From the trees.
They spread them
On the road.
The crowds went ahead of him.
Others followed him.
They were shouting.
To the Son of David!
Blessed is the one
Who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’”
ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.
οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἔκραζον λέγοντες Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυείδ· Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου· Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις.
Both Mark, chapter 11:8-10, and Luke, chapter 19:36-38, are similar but with slight differences. Once again, Matthew emphasized the large crowds, as he said that a very large crowd of people (ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος) that spread out their outer garments or coats on the road (ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ,). Meanwhile, others were cutting down branches from the surrounding trees (ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων). They also spread out these branches on the road (καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ). The crowds were in front of him and behind him (οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες). They were all shouting out (ἔκραζον λέγοντες) “Hosanna to the Son of David (Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυείδ)!” He was the blessed one who came in the name of the Lord (Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου). These hosannas should reach to the highest heaven (Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις). Hosanna was a Hebrew term of praise asking God to save them. This saying came from the Hallel chants that was used in the Passover celebration, based on Psalm 118:26. Later it became part of the Roman Catholic “Sanctus” chant in the Eucharistic celebration. This event has become the great Palm Sunday celebration, the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Actually only John, chapter 12:13, called these palm branches. This idea of laying garments on the road can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 9:13, to protect the feet of the king. Clearly, this was an attempt to connect Jesus with the Davidic kingship. Was Jesus to be the new king of Israel as a son of David?
“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,
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.