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DIFFERENCES OF FIRST AND SECOND MIRACULOUS FEEDING.
self was about to depart from the place; and that, sending them CHAP. to their homes, He could not send them to faint by the way. Yet another marked difference lies even in the designation of the baskets' in which the fragments left were gathered. At the first feeding, they were, as the Greek word shows, the small wickerbaskets which each of the Twelve would carry in his hand. At the second feeding they were the large baskets, in which provisions, chiefly bread, were stored or carried for longer voyages. For, on the first occasion, when they passed into Israelitish territory—and, as they might think, left their home for a very brief time—there was not the same need to make provision for storing necessaries as on the second, when they were on a lengthened journey, and passing through, or tarrying in Gentile territory.
But the most noteworthy difference seems to us this—that on the first occasion, they who were fed were Jews-on the second, Gentiles. There is an exquisite little trait in the narrative which affords striking, though utterly undesigned, evidence of it. In referring to the blessing which Jesus spake over the first meal, it was noted, that, in strict accordance with Jewish custom, He only rendered thanks once, over the bread. But no such custom would rule His conduct when dispensing the food to the Gentiles; and, indeed, His speaking the blessing only over the bread, while He was silent when distributing the fishes, would probably have given rise to misunderstanding. Accordingly, we find it expressly stated that He not only gave thanks over the bread, but also spake the blessing over the fishes. Nor should we, when marking such undesigned • St. Mark evidences, omit to notice, that on the first occasion, which was immediately before the Passover, the guests were, as three of the Evangelists expressly state, ranged on the grass,' while, on the present ost. Matt occasion, which must have been several weeks later, when in the St. Mark vi. East the grass would be burnt up, we are told by the two Evangelists vi. 10 that they sat on the ground.'3 Even the difficulty, raised by some, as to the strange repetition of the disciples' reply, the outcome, in part, of non-expectancy, and, hence, non-belief, and yet in part also of such doubt as tends towards faith : Whence should we have,
39; St. John
The kópivos (St. Matt. xiv. 20) was the small handbasket (see ch. xxix.), while the on upis (the term used at the feeding of the four thousand) is the large provision-basket or hamper, such as that in which St. Paul was let down over the wall at Damascus (Acts ix. 25). What
makes it more marked is, that the dis-
? See ch. xxix.
in a solitary place,' so many loaves as to fill so great a multitude ?' seems to us only confirmatory of the narrative, so psychologically true is it. There is no need for the ingenious apology, that, in the remembrance and tradition of the first and second feeding, the similarity of the two events had led to greater similarity in their narration than the actual circumstances would perhaps have warranted. Interesting thoughts are here suggested by the remark, that it is not easy to transport ourselves into the position and feelings of those who had witnessed such a miracle as that of the first feeding of the multitude. “We think of the Power as inherent, and, therefore, permanent. To them it might seem intermittent-a gift that came and went. And this might seem borne out by the fact that, ever since, their wants had been supplied in the ordinary way, and that, even on the first occasion, they had been directed to gather up the fragments of the Heaven-supplied meal.
But more than this requires to be said. First, we must here once more remind ourselves, that the former provision was for Jews, and the disciples might, from their standpoint, well doubt, or at least not assume, that the same miracle would supply the need of the Gentiles, and the same board be surrounded by Jew and Gentile. But, further, the repetition of the same question by the disciples really indicated only a sense of their own inability, and not a doubt of the Saviour's power of supply, since on this occasion it was not, as on the former, accompanied by a request on their part, to send the multitude away. Thus the very repetition of the question might be a humble reference to the past, of which they dared not, in the circumstances, ask the repetition.
Yet, even if it were otherwise, the strange forgetfulness of Christ's late miracle on the part of the disciples, and their strange repetition of the self-same question which had once-and, as it might seem to us, for ever-been answered by wondrous deed, need not surprise
To them the miraculous on the part of Christ must ever have been the new, or else it would have ceased to be the miraculous. Nor did they ever fully realise it, till after His Resurrection they understood, and worshipped Him as God Incarnate. And it is only realising faith of this, which it was intended gradually to evolve during Christ's Ministry on earth, that enables us to apprehend the Divine Help as, so to speak, incarnate and ever actually present in Christ. And yet, even thus, how often do we, who have so believed
2 Of Bleek.
| The word épnula means a specially lonely place.
3 By Dean Plumptre, ad loc.
in Him, forget the Divine provision which has come to us so lately, CHAP. and repeat, though perhaps not with the same doubt, yet with the same want of certainty, the questions with which we had at first met the Saviour's challenge of our faith. And even at the last it is met, as by the prophet, in sight of the apparently impossible, by: *Lord, Thou knowest.'* More frequently, alas! is it met by non- • Ezek. belief, misbelief, disbelief, or doubt, engendered by misunderstanding or forgetfulness of that which past experience, as well as the knowledge of Him, should long ago have written indelibly on our minds.
On the occasion referred to in the preceding narrative, those who had lately taken counsel together against Jesus—the Pharisees and the Herodians, or, to put it otherwise, the Pharisees and Sadducees
were not present. For, those who, politically speaking, were 'Herodians,' might also, though perhaps not religiously speaking, yet from the Jewish standpoint of St. Matthew, be designated as, or else include, Sadducees. But they were soon to
reappear on the
scene, as Jesus came close to the Jewish territory of Herod. We suppose the feeding of the multitude to have taken place in the Decapolis, and probably on, or close to, the Eastern shore of the Lake of Galilee. As Jesus sent away the multitude whom He had fed, He took ship with His disciples, and came into the borders of Maga
or, as St. Mark puts it, “the parts of Dalmanutha.' The St. Vatt. borders of Magadan ’ must evidently refer to the same district as “the parts of Dalmanutha.' The one may probably mark the extreme point of the district southwards, the other northwards, in the locality where He and His disciples landed. This is, of course, only a suggestion, since neither Magadan,' nor · Dalmanutha,' has been identified. This only we infer, that the place was close to, yet not within the boundary of, strictly Jewish territory; since on His arrival there the Pharisees are said to come forth'c_ -a word which implies, that they resided elsewhere,' though, of course, in the neighbourhood. Accordingly, we would seek Magadan south of the Lake of Tiberias, and near to the borders of Galilee, but within the Decapolis. Several sites bear at present somewhat similar names. In regard to the strange and un-Jewish name of Dalmanutha, such utterly unlikely conjectures have been made, that one based on etymology may be hazarded. If we take from Dalmanutha the Aramaic termination -utha, and regard the initial de as a prefix, we have the
Compare, however, vol. i. pp. 238, ? It need scarcely be said that the best 210, and Book V.ch. iii. Where the poli- reading is Magadan, not Magdala. tical element was dominant, the religious 3 Canon Cook in the ‘Speaker's Com. distinction might not be so clearly marked. mentary,' ad loc.
e St. Mark viii, 11
root Laman, Limin, or Liminah (job, ;35, 3935 = Neunv), which, in Rabbinic Hebrew, means a bay, or port, and Dalmanutha might have been the place of a small bay. Possibly, it was the name given to the bay close to the ancient Tarichæa, the modern Kerak, so terribly famous for a sea-fight, or rather a horrible butchery of poor fugitives, when Tarichæa was taken by the Romans in the last war. Close by, the Lake forms a bay (Laman), and if, as a modern writer asserts,' the fortress of Tarichæa was surrounded by a ditch fed by the Jordan and the Lake, so that the fortress could be converted into an island, we see additional reason for the designation of Lamanutha.?
It was from the Jewish territory of Galilee, close by, that the Pharisees now came with the Sadducees,' tempting Him with questions, and desiring that His claims should be put to the ultimate arbitrament of a sign from heaven.' We can quite understand such a challenge on the part of Sadducees, who would disbelieve the heavenly Mission of Christ, or, indeed, to use a modern term, any supra-naturalistic connection between heaven and earth. But. in the mouth of the Pharisees also, it had a special meaning. Certain supposed miracles had been either witnessed by, or testified to them, as done by Christ. As they now represented it-since Christ laid claims which, in their view, were inconsistent with the doctrine received in Israel, preached a Kingdom quite other than that of . Jewish expectancy-was at issue with all Jewish customs—more than this, was a breaker of the Law, in its most important commandments, as they understood them—it followed that, according to Deut. xiii., He was a false prophet, who was not to be listened to. Then, also, must the miracles which He did have been wrought by the power of Beelzebul, “ the lord of idolatrous worship,' the very prince of devils. But had there been real signs, and might it not all have been an illusion ? '
Let Him show them "a sign,'' and let that sign come direct from heaven!
Two striking instances from Rabbinic literature will show, that this demand of the Pharisees was in accordance with their notions and practice. We read that, when a certain Rabbi was asked by his disciples about the time of Messiah's Coming, he replied: 'I am afraid that you will also ask me for a sign. When they promised
Sepp, ap. Böttger, Topogr. Lex. zu analogous instances, be nix (Oth), and Fl. Josephus, p. 240.
not ja'd (Siman), as Wünsche suggests, · Bearing in mind that Tarichæa was
even though the word is formed from the the chief depôt for salting the fish for
Greek onueiov. But the Rabbinic Siman export, the disciples may have had some
seems to me to have a different shade of connections with the place.
meaning. : The word here used would, to judge by
THE SIGN FROM HEAVEN.
last 4 lines
b Baba Mez. 59 b, line 4
e St. Mark viii. 12
they would not do so, he told them that the gate of Rome would fall and be rebuilt, and fall again, when there would not be time to restore it, ere the Son of David came. On this they pressed him, despite his remonstrance, for “a sign, when this was given themthat the waters which issued from the cave of Pamias were turned into blood. Again, as regards a sign from heaven,' it is said that Sanh: 98 a, the Rabbi Elieser, when his teaching was challenged, successively appealed to certain 'signs. First, a locust-tree moved at his bidding one hundred, or, according to some, four hundred cubits. Next, the channels of water were made to flow backwards; then the walls of the Academy leaned forward, and were only arrested at the bidding of another Rabbi. Lastly, Elieser exclaimed: 'If the Law is as I teach, let it be proved from heaven!' when a voice fell from the sky (the Bath Kol): “What have ye to do with Rabbi Elieser, for the Halachah is as he teaches?'b
It was, therefore, no strange thing, when the Pharisees asked of from top, Jesus a sign from heaven,' to attest His claims and teaching. The answer which He gave was among the most solemn' which the leaders of Israel could have heard, and He spake it in deep sorrow of spirit. They had asked Him virtually for some sign of His Messiahship; some striking vindication from heaven of His claims. It would be given them only too soon. We have already seen, that there was a Coming of Christ in His Kingdom-a vindication of His kingly claim before His apostate rebellious subjects, when they who would not have Him to reign over them, but betrayed and crucified Him, would have their commonwealth and city, their polity and Temple, destroyed. By the lurid light of the flames of Jerusalem and the Sanctuary were the words on the Cross to be read again. God would vindicate His claims by laying low the pride of their rebellion. The burning of Jerusalem was God's answer to the Jews' cry, ' Away with Him-we have no king but Cæsar;' the thousands of crosses on which the Romans hanged their captives, the terrible counterpart of the Cross on Golgotha.
It was to this, that Jesus referred in His reply to the Pharisees and “Sadducean' Herodians. How strange! Men could discern by the appearance of the sky whether the day would be fair or stormy.3
| However, this (and, for that matter, St. Matt xvi. 2, beginning. When it is the next Haggadah also) may have been evening,'to the end of ver. 3, most critics intended to be taken in an allegoric or are agreed that they should be retained. parabolic sense, though there is no hint But the words in italics in vv. 2 and 3 given to that effect.
should be left out, so as to mark excla. : See ch. xxvii. vol. i. p. 647.
mations. Although some of the best MSS. omit