Matthew 14:13-21

Matthew 14:13-21
Proper 13A


13 Now when JesusA heardB this, he withdrewC from there

Notes on verse 13a

A “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
B “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
C “withdrew” = anachoreo. 14x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + choreo (to make space, receive, have room for, progress, depart so as to make room; figuratively, living open-heartedly); {from choros (a particular space or place); from chora (space, land, region, fields, open area); from chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn)}.  This is to withdraw, depart, retire, or leave. It can give a sense of seeking safety from harm or of retiring.

in a boatD to a desertedE placeF by himself.G

Notes on verse 13b

D “boat” = ploion. From pleo (to sail, voyage); probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow). This is a boat, ship, or vessel.
E “deserted” = eremos. Properly, a place that is not settled or farmed, not populated. It could be a deserted area or a desert place. It could be seen as secluded, solitary, or lonesome. Any kind of vegetation is sparse, but so are people generally.
F “place” = topos. This is a place or region. It is a smaller space that can only hold a limited number of people whereas chora is a larger place. Figuratively it could be an opportunity.
G “himself” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).

But when the crowdsH heard it, they followedI him on footJ from the towns.K 

Notes on verse 13c

H “crowds” = ochlos. Perhaps from echo (to have, hold, possess). This is a crowd, the common people, a rabble. Figuratively, it can refer to a riot.
I “followed” = akoloutheo. From a (with, fellowship, union) + keleuthos (road, way). This is to accompany or follow someone, especially the way a disciple does.
J “on foot” = peze. 2x in NT. From pous (foot, whether literal or figurative). This is on foot or by walking.
K “towns” = polis. This is a city or its inhabitants. It is a town of variable size, but one that has walls. This is where “metropolis” and “police” come from.

14 When he wentL ashore, he sawM a greatN crowd,

Notes on verse 14a

L “went” = exerchomai. From ek (from, from out of) + erchomai (to come, go). This is to go out, depart, escape, proceed from, spread news abroad.
M “saw” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
N “great” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.

and he had compassionO for them and curedP their sick.Q 

Notes on verse 14b

O “had compassion” = splagchnizomai. 12x in NT– 8x of Jesus having compassion on people or crowds. From splanxnon (inner organs, entrails; seen as the root of emotions). This is moved to compassion from deep within oneself – visceral empathy or sympathy, being deeply moved.
P “cured” = therapeuo. From therapon (servant, attendant, minister); perhaps from theros (properly heat and so used for summer); from thero (to heat). This is to serve, care, attend, heal, or cure. Since it means to attend to, it can be used for doctors, but also for those who serve God. So, it can mean worship. This is where the word “therapy” comes from.
Q “sick” = arrostos. 5x in NT. From a (not, without) + rhonnumi (to strengthen, be firm, have health; used as a salutation in letters at the end); {probably from rhoomai (to move quickly) probably akin to rhoumai (to pull to oneself, rescue from danger, snatch up, set free); akin to eruo (to drag) or rheo (to flow, to flow like water, overflow)}. This is literally not strong so it refers to a chronic illness that persists. It is infirmity, feeble, or sick person.

15 When it wasR evening,S the disciplesT cameU to him

Notes on verse 15a

R “was” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
S “evening” = opsios. Related to “saw” in v14. 15x in NT. From opse (after, late, in the end, in the evening); from opiso (back, behind, after); from the same as opisthen (after, back, from the rear); probably from opis (back); optanomai (to appear, be seen by); from horao (see note M above). This is afternoon, evening, nightfall, or late.
T “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.
U “came” = proserchomai. Related to “went” in v14. From pros (for, at, towards) + erchomai (see note L above). This is to approach, draw near, come up to. It is also used figuratively to mean worship.

and said,V “This isW a deserted place, and the hourX is now late;Y

Notes on verse 15b

V “said” = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.
W “is” = eimi. This is to be, exist.
X “hour” = hora. This is a set time or period, an hour, instant, or season. This is where the word “hour” comes from.
Y “late” = parerchomai. Related to “went” in v14 & “came” in v15. From para (from beside, by) + erchomai (see note L above). This is pass by, neglect, disregard. Figuratively, it can mean to perish or to become void.

send the crowds awayZ so that they may goAA into the villagesBB and buyCC foodDD for themselves.” 

Notes on verse 15c

Z “send…away” = apoluo. From apo (from, away from) + luo (to loose, release, untie; figuratively, to break, destroy, or annul; releasing what had been withheld). This is letting go, setting free, or releasing. So, it can be to discharge, dismiss, divorce, pardon, or set at liberty.
AA “go” = aperchomai. Related to “went” in v14 & “came” in v15 & “late” in v15. From apo (from, away from) + erchomai (see note L above). This is to depart, follow, or go off in a literal or figurative sense.
BB “villages” = kome. This is a village as contrasted with a city that has a wall.
CC “buy” = agorazo. From agora (assembly, forum, marketplace, town square, thoroughfare); from ageiro (to gather). This is to go and buy something at market with a focus on goods being transferred. It can also mean to purchase or redeem.
DD “food” = broma. 17x in NT. From bibrosko (to eat); related to bora (food); perhaps from bosko (to feed or pasture a flock; figuratively, to nourish spiritually). This is any kind of food in a literal or figurative sense.

16 Jesus said to them, “They needEE not go away;FF you giveGG them something to eat.”HH 

Notes on verse 16

EE “need” = chreia + echo. Chreia is from chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request); related to chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary). This is the is task, business, or affair. It can also be need, want, or destitution. Echo is related to “crowds” in v13. See note H above.
FF “go away” = aperchomai. Same as “go” in v15. See note AA above.
GG “give” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
HH “eat” = phago. This is to eat or figuratively to consume like rust does.

17 They replied,II “We haveJJ nothing here but fiveKK loavesLL and twoMM fish.”NN 

Notes on verse 17

II “replied” = lego. Same as “said” in v15. See note V above.
JJ “have” = echo. Same as “need” in v16. See note EE above.
KK “five” = pente. This is five. It may be symbolically associated with the Temple or redemption.
LL “loaves” = artos. Perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is bread or a loaf. It is a loaf as raised.
MM “two” = duo. This is two or both.
NN “fish” = ichthus. This means fish. It was also an early, secret Christian symbol – the “sign of the fish.” It was short for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” in Greek. See

18 And he said, “BringOO them here to me.” 19 Then he orderedPP the crowds to sit downQQ on the grass.RR TakingSS the five loaves and the two fish,

Notes on verses 18-19a

OO “bring” = phero. This is to bear, bring, lead, or make known publicly. It is to carry in a literal or figurative sense.
PP “ordered” = keleuo. From kelomai (to urge on). This is to command, order, or direct.
QQ “sit down” = anaklino. 6x in NT. From ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew) + klino (to slant, rest, recline, approach an end, wear; to bend in a literal or figurative sense – to lay down, a day ending, causing an opposing army to flee). This is to lay down, recline, lie back, or sit down.
RR “grass” = chortos. 15x in NT. This is food, grass, hay, wheat. It can also be a place of feeding, garden, court, or pasture.
SS “taking” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.

he looked upTT to heavenUU and blessedVV and brokeWW the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 

Notes on verse 19b

TT “looked up” = anablepo. From ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew) + blepo (to see, used primarily in the physical sense; figuratively, seeing, which includes attention and so to watchfulness, being observant, perceiving, beware, and acting on the visual information). This is to look up or regain sight.
UU “heaven” = ouranos. Related to “loaves” in v17. May be related to oros (mountain, hill); probably related to airo (see note LL above). This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
VV “blessed” = eulogeo. Related to “said” in v15. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); {from lego (see note V above)}. Properly, this is speaking well of – speaking so that the other is benefited. It can mean praise, bless, thank, or call for a blessing. This is where “eulogy” comes from.
WW “broke” = klao. 14x in NT. This is to break, to break in pieces as one breaks bread.

20 And allXX ate and were filled,YY and they took upZZ what was left overAAA

Notes on verse 20a

XX “all” = pas. This is all or every.
YY “were filled” = chortazo. Related to “grass” in v19. 16x in NT. From chortos (see note RR above). This is to feed, fodder, fill, or satisfy. It carries the sense of abundantly supplied food – even gorging on food.
ZZ “took up” = airo. Related to “loaves” in v17 & “heaven” in v19. See note LL above.
AAA “was left over” = perisseuo. From perissos (abundant, more, excessive, advantage, vehemently); from peri (all-around, encompassing, excess). This is more than what is ordinary or necessary. It is abounding, overflowing, being leftover, going above and beyond. It is super-abounding in number or quality.

of the broken pieces,BBB twelveCCC basketsDDD full.EEE 

Notes on verse 20b

BBB “broken pieces” = klasma. Related to “broke” in v19. 9x in NT. From klao (see note WW above). This is a fragment or broken piece.
CCC “twelve” = dodeka. Related to “two” in v17. From duo (see note MM above) + deka (ten). This is twelve – also shorthand for the apostles.
DDD “baskets” = kophinos. 6x in NT. This is a wicker basket.
EEE “full” = pleres. 16x in NT. From pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is to be full, complete, abounding in, or occupied with.

21 And those who ateFFF were about five thousandGGG men,HHH

Notes on verse 21a

FFF “ate” = esthio. This is to eat or figuratively to devour or consume like rust.
GGG “five thousand” = pentakischilioi. Related to “five” in v17. 6x in NT. From pentakis (five times); {from pente (see note KK above)} + chilioi (1,000; figuratively, can mean completely). This is 5,000.
HHH “men” = aner. This is man, male, husband, or fellow. It can also refer to an individual.

besidesIII womenJJJ and children.KKK

Notes on verse 21b

III “besides” = choris. Related to “withdrew” in v13. From chora (see note C above). This is apart from, separate from.
JJJ “women” = gune. Related to “was” in v15. Perhaps from ginomai (see note R above). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
KKK “children” = paidion. From pais (child, youth, servant, slave); perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). This is a child as one who is still being educated or trained. Perhaps one seven years old or younger. Used figuratively for an immature Christian.

Image credit: “Jesus Feeds the Multitude” by Gavin Thomson of Little Zebra Books.

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