Matthew 14:13-21

Matthew 14:13-21
Ordinary A36


13 Now when JesusA heardB this, he withdrewC from there in a boatD to a desertedE placeF by himself.G

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.
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 crowds heard it, they followedH him on footI from the towns.J 

Notes on verse 13b

H “followed” = akoloutheo. From a (with, fellowship, union) + keleuthos (road, way). This is to accompany or follow someone, especially the way a disciple does.
I “on foot” = peze. 2x in NT. 2x in NT. From pous (foot, footstool). This is by foot or by land.
J “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 went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassionK for them and curedL their sick.M 

Notes on verse 14

K “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.
L “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.
M “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 was evening, the disciplesN came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hourO is now late; send the crowds awayP so that they may go into the villagesQ and buyR foodS for themselves.” 

Notes on verse 15

N “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.
O “hour” = hora. This is a set time or period, an hour, instant, or season. This is where the word “hour” comes from.
P “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.
Q “villages” = kome. This is a village as contrasted with a city that has a wall.
R “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.
S “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 needT not go away; you give them something to eat.” 

17 They replied, “We have nothing here but five loavesU and two fish.”V 

18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 

Notes on verses 16-18

T “need” = chreia. From the base of 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.
U “loaves” = artos. Perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is bread or a loaf. It is a loaf as raised.
V “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

19 Then he orderedW the crowds to sit downX on the grass.Y Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven,Z and blessedAA and brokeBB the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 

Notes on verse 19

W “ordered” = keleuo. From kelomai (to urge on). This is to command, order, or direct.
X “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.
Y “grass” = chortos. 15x in NT. This is food, grass, hay, wheat. It can also be a place of feeding, garden, court, or pasture.
Z “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. 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.
AA “blessed” = eulogeo. 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 (to speak, tell, mention)}. 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.
BB “broke” = klao. 14x in NT. This is to break, to break in pieces as one breaks bread.

20 And all ate and were filled;CC and they took up what was left overDD of the broken pieces,EE twelve baskets full.FF 

Notes on verse 20

CC “were filled” = chortazo. Related to “grass” in v19. From chortos (see note Y above). This is to feed, fodder, fill, or satisfy. It carries the sense of abundantly supplied food – even gorging on food.
DD “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.
EE “broken pieces” = klasma. Related to “broke” in v19. 9x in NT. From klao (see note BB above). This is a fragment, bit, or broken piece.
FF “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 ate were about five thousand men,GG besides womenHH and children.II

Notes on verse 21

GG “men” = aner. This is man, male, husband, or fellow. It can also refer to an individual.
HH “women” = gune. Perhaps from ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
II “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: “Loaves and Fish” by Helen Moloney, 1971.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply