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Mark 6:30-44

Context
The Feeding of the Five Thousand

6:30 Then 1  the apostles gathered around Jesus and told him everything they had done and taught. 6:31 He said to them, “Come with me privately to an isolated place and rest a while” (for many were coming and going, and there was no time to eat). 6:32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to some remote place. 6:33 But many saw them leaving and recognized them, and they hurried on foot 2  from all the towns 3  and arrived there ahead of them. 4  6:34 As Jesus 5  came ashore 6  he saw the large crowd and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So 7  he taught them many things.

6:35 When it was already late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is an isolated place 8  and it is already very late. 6:36 Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” 6:37 But he answered them, 9  “You 10  give them something to eat.” And they said, “Should we go and buy bread for two hundred silver coins 11  and give it to them to eat?” 6:38 He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five – and two fish.” 6:39 Then he directed them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 6:40 So they reclined in groups of hundreds and fifties. 6:41 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He 12  gave them to his 13  disciples to serve the people, and he divided the two fish among them all. 6:42 They all ate and were satisfied, 6:43 and they picked up the broken pieces and fish that were left over, twelve baskets full. 6:44 Now 14  there were five thousand men 15  who ate the bread. 16 

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

2 tn Grk “ran together on foot.” The idea of συντρέχω (suntrecw) is “to come together quickly to form a crowd” (L&N 15.133).

3 tn Or “cities.”

4 tc The translation here follows the reading προῆλθον (prohlqon, “they preceded”), found in א B (0187) 892 2427 pc lat co. Some mss (D 28 33 700 pc) read συνῆλθον (sunhlqon, “arrived there with them”), while the majority of mss, most of them late (Ì84vid [A Ë13] Ï syh), conflate the two readings (προῆλθον αὐτοὺς καὶ συνῆλθον πρὸς αὐτόν, “they preceded them and came together to him”). The reading adopted here thus has better external credentials than the variants. As well, it is the harder reading internally, being changed “by copyists who thought it unlikely that the crowd on the land could have outstripped the boat” (TCGNT 78).

5 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tn Grk “came out [of the boat],” with the reference to the boat understood.

7 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “So” to indicate this action is the result of Jesus’ compassion on the crowd in the narrative.

8 tn Or “a desert” (meaning a deserted or desolate area with sparse vegetation).

9 tn Grk “answering, he said to them.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokriqeis) is redundant, but the syntax of the sentence has been changed for clarity.

10 tn Here the pronoun ὑμεῖς (Jumeis) is used, making “you” in the translation emphatic.

11 sn The silver coin referred to here is the denarius. A denarius, inscribed with a picture of Tiberius Caesar, was worth approximately one day’s wage for a laborer. Two hundred denarii was thus approximately equal to eight months’ wages. The disciples did not have the resources in their possession to feed the large crowd, so Jesus’ request is his way of causing them to trust him as part of their growth in discipleship.

12 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

13 tc ‡ Most mss (Ì45 A D W Θ Ë1,13 Ï lat sy) have αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) after τοῖς μαθηταῖς (toi" maqhtai", “the disciples”), but several excellent witnesses (א B L Δ 33 579 892 1241 1424 2427 pc) lack the pronoun. This kind of variant is often a predictable expansion of the text; further, that many important mss lack the pronoun gives support for the shorter reading. For these reasons, the pronoun is considered to be secondary. NA27 puts αὐτοῦ in brackets, indicating some doubts as to its authenticity.

tn Grk “the disciples”; the Greek article has been translated here as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).

14 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate a somewhat parenthetical remark by the author.

15 tn The Greek word here is ἀνήρ, meaning “adult male” (BDAG 79 s.v. 1). According to Matt 14:21, Jesus fed not only five thousand men, but also an unspecified number of women and children.

16 tc Many good mss (Ì45 א D W Θ Ë1,13 28 565 700 2542 lat sa) lack τοὺς ἄρτους (tous artous, lit. “the loaves” [here translated “the bread”]). On the other hand, just as weighty mss (A B L 33 2427 Ï) have the words. Although a decision is not easy, the most satisfactory explanation seems to be that scribes were more prone to delete than to add the words here. They may have been puzzled as to why “the bread” should be mentioned without a corresponding mention of “fish.” Since neither Matt 14:21 or Luke 9:17 explicitly mention the bread, a desire for harmonization may have motivated the copyists as well. On the other hand, D and W are prone to longer, explanatory readings. Since they both lack the words here, it is likely that their archetypes also lacked the words. But given Mark’s pleonastic style, the good witnesses with “the bread,” and a reasonable explanation for the omission, “the bread” is most likely part of the original text of Mark.



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