Mark 6:35-44

6:35 When it was already late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is an isolated place 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, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “Should we go and buy bread for two hundred silver coins 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 gave them to his 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 there were five thousand men who ate the bread.

Mark 8:1-10

The Feeding of the Four Thousand

8:1 In those days there was another large crowd with nothing to eat. So 10  Jesus 11  called his disciples and said to them, 8:2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have already been here with me three days, and they have nothing to eat. 8:3 If I send them home hungry, they will faint on the way, and some of them have come from a great distance.” 8:4 His disciples answered him, “Where can someone get enough bread in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” 8:5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven.” 8:6 Then 12  he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. After he took the seven loaves and gave thanks, he broke them and began giving them to the disciples to serve. So 13  they served the crowd. 8:7 They also had a few small fish. After giving thanks for these, he told them to serve these as well. 8:8 Everyone 14  ate and was satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 8:9 There were about four thousand 15  who ate. 16  Then he dismissed them. 17  8:10 Immediately he got into a boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha. 18 

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

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

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

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.

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

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).

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

13 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.

14 tn Grk “They.”

15 sn The parallel in Matt 15:32-39 notes that the four thousand were only men, a point not made explicit in Mark.

16 tn The words “who ate” are not in the Greek text but have been supplied for clarity.

17 sn Mark 8:1-10. Many commentators, on the basis of similarities between this account of the feeding of the multitude (8:1-10) and that in 6:30-44, have argued that there is only one event referred to in both passages. While there are similarities in language and in the response of the disciples, there are also noticeable differences, including the different number present on each occasion (i.e., 5,000 in chap. 6 and 4,000 here). In the final analysis, the fact that Jesus refers to two distinct feedings in 8:18-20 settles the issue; this passage represents another very similar incident to that recorded in 6:30-44.

18 sn The exact location of Dalmanutha is uncertain, but it is somewhere close to the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.