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Reflections on the incredulity
of the Jews and the disciples.
you to draw, how shall ye believe my words, against which ye oracles. Their incredulity is, therefore, no mean proof of the bave taken up the most ungrounded prejudice? It is no won- divine authority of the law and the prophets. The apostles, der that we find the Jews still in the gall of bitterness, and who were all Jews, partook deeply of the same spirit, as various bond of iniquity: as they believe not Moses and the Prophets places in the gospel prove; and had not they had the fullest in reference to the Messiah, it is no marvel that they reject evidence of the divinity of their master, they would not have Christ and the Apostles. Till they see and acknowledge from beliered, much less have sealed the truth with their blood. the law and the prophets, that Christ must have come, they Thus their incredulity is a strong proof of the authenticity of will never believe the gospel. St. Paul says, 2 Cor. iii. 15. the gospel. that even until this day, when Moses (i. e. the law) is read, the 2. When a man through prejudice, bigotry, or malevoveil is upon their hearts :—so that they see not to the end of thut lence, is determined to disbelieve, both evidence and demonwhich is abolished : ver. 13. Nor will this veil be taken away, stration are lost upon him: he is incapable of conviction, till they turn from worldly gain and atheism (which appears to because he is determined not to yield. This was, this is the be their general system) to the Lord : ver. 16. and then the case with the Jews—there are facts before their eyes suffilight of the glory of God shall shine on them in the face cient to convince and confound them; but they have made a (through the mediation and merits) of Jesus Christ.
covenant with unbelief, and therefore they continue blind, It appears that this discourse of our Lord had effectually ignorant, and wicked; obstinately closing their eyes against confounded these Jews, for they went away without replying the light, and thus the wrath of God is coming upon them to ma manifest proof they had nothing to say.
the very uttermost. But shall not a rebellious and wicked
Christian be judged worthy of more punishment ? certainly: 1. In all periods of their history, the Jews were both an incre- for he professes to believe that truth which is able to make him dulous and disobedient people : perhaps it was on this ground wise unto salvation, by faith in Jesus Christ. Reader, it is an that God first chose them to be keepers of his testimonies; for awful thing to trifle with the gospel! the God of it is pure, had they not had the most incontrovertible proofs that God jealous, and holy. Come unto him and implore forgiveness did speak, they would neither have credited, nor preserved his It of thy past sins, that thou mayest have eternal life.
CHAPTER VI. Jesus passes the sea of Tiberias, and a great multitude follow him, 1—4. He feeds five thousand with five loares
and two fishes, 5—13. They acknowledge him to be the prophet that should come into the world, 14. They purpose to force him to become their king; and he withdraws from the multitude, 15. The disciples take ship, and go towards Capernaum, and are overtaken with a storm, 17, 18. Christ comes to them, walking upon the water, 19–21. The people take bouts and follow him, 22-24. He reproves their fleshly motives, 25—27. They profess a desire to be instructed, 28. Christ preaches to them, and shews them that he is the bread of life, and that they who reject him are without ercuse, 29—40. They are offended, and caril, 41, 42. He asserts and illustrutes kis foregoing discourse, 43–51. They again .cavil, and Christ gives further explanations, 52–59. Several of the disciples are stumbled at his assertion, that unless they ate his ficsh and drank his blood they could not have life, 60. He shew's them that his words are to be spiritually understood, 61–65. Several of them withdraw from "him, 66. He questions the twelve, whether they also were disposed to forsake kim, and Peler answers for the whole, 67-69. Christ exposes the perfidy of Judas, 70, 71.
2 And a great multitude followed him, 4. M. 432
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did on them that were diseased.
a Matt. 14. 15. Mark 6. 35. Luke 9. 10, 12.
Luke 6. 17. & 9. 11.
NOTES ON CHAP. VI.
time in which these things happened. It refers no doubt to Verse 1. After these things] This is a sort of indefinite transactions in the succeeding year. expression, from which we can gather nothing relative to the Jesus rent over the sea of Galilee] Or, as some translate Jesus questions his disciples
feeding the multitude,
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3 And Jesus went up into a moun- 6 And this he said to prove him: A. 11.-4032. An. Olymp. tain, and there he sat with his dis- for he himself knew what he would An. Olymp. ciples.
do. 4 · And the pass-over, a feast of the Jews, was 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred pennynigh.
worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that 5 ° When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and every one of them may take a little. saw a great company come unto him, he saith 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that brother, saith unto him, these may eat?
9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley
• Lev, 23, 5, 7. Deut. 16. 1. ch. 2. 13. & 5. 1.
• Matt. 14. 14. Mark 6. 35. Luke 9. 12. See Numb. 11. 21, 22.
the words, by the side of the sea of Galilee. From Luke, chap. Philip was probably the provider for the disciples, as Judas ix. 10. we learn that this was a desart place in the vicinity of was the treasurer. Bethsaida. The sea of Galilee, Genesaret, and Tiberias, are Whence shall we buy bread] Instead of a yogarojev, shall we the same in the New Testament with the sea of Cinnereth in buy, I should read ayogaswjiy, may we buy, which is the readthe Old. Tiberias was a city in Galilee, situated on the west- | ing of ABDEHLS. Mt. BV. and many others. As Philip was ern side of the lake. See on ver. 22.
of Bethsaida, chap. i. 44. xii. 21, he must have been much Verse 2. They saw his miracles which he did] John does better acquainted with the country in which they then were not mention these miracles; but Matthew details them from than any other of the disciples. chap. xii. 2. to chap. xiv. 13. John seems more intent on Verse 6. This he said to prove him] To try his faith, and supplying the deficiencies of the other Evangelists, than in to see whether he and the other apostles had paid proper writing a connected history himself.
attention to the miracles which they had already seen him Verse 3. Went up into a mountain] This mountain inust | work; and to draw their attention more particularly to that have been in the desart of Bethsaida, in the territories of Philip, || which he was now about to perform. This is an observation Tetrarch of Galilee. Our Lord withdrew to this place for a of the Evangelist himself, who often interweaves his own little rest ; for he and the disciples had been so thronged with judginent with the facts he relates, which St. Matthew rarely the multitudes continually coming and going, that they had ever does. The other Evangelists say, that previously to this not time to take necessary food. See Mark vi. 31.
miracle, he continued to instruct and heal the multitudes till it Verse 4. And the pass-over-was nigh.] This happened was near the close of the day. Matt. xiv. 14, 15, Mark vi. about ten or twelve days before the third pass-over which 34, 35. Luke ix. 11, 12. Christ celebrated after his baptism. Calmet. For a parti- Verse 7. Two hundred pennyworth] This sum, rating the cular account of our Lord's four pass-overs see the note on denarius at 7d. would amount to £6. 9s. 2d. of our money, chap. ii. 13.
and appears to have been more than our Lord and all his disFor thirty days before the pass-over there were great pre- ciples were worth of this world's goods. See the notes on parations made by the Jews, but especially in the last nine- Matt. xviii. 28. teen days, in order to celebrate the feast with due solemnity. Verse 8. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith] The other Lightfoot supposes that what is here related happened within Evangelists attribute this answer to the apostles in general: the last fifteen days. See Calmet’s opinion above.
See the passages referred to above. Verse 5. Saw a great company] See this miracle explained Verse 9. There is a lad here] II osseusov, a little boy, or serat large on Matt. xiv. 13, &c. Mark vi. 31, &c. Luke ix. 10, &c. vant, probably one who carried the apostles' provisions, or
In speaking of the pass-overs, and various other matters, it who came on purpose to sell his bread and fish. does not appear that John follows any strict chronological Five barley loures) Barley scarcely bore one-third of the order.
value of wheat in the East : see Rev. vi. 6. That it was a very From ver. 15. it appears that our Lord had come down mean fare, appears from Ezek. xiii. 19. where the false profrom the mountain, and fed the multitudes in a plain at the phetesses are said to pollute the name of God for handfuls of foot of it.
barley, i. e. for the meanest reward. And Plutarch in Apoph. Saith unto Philip] This, with what follows to the end of || p. 174, speaking concerning the flight of Artarerxes Mnemor, the seventh verse, are not mentioned by any of the other says he was reduced to such distress as to be obliged 10 eat Evangelists.
barley breud. See Kypke. From this and other circum
Five thousand fed with five
barley loaves and two fishes.
4. M.403 loaves, and two small fishes: but what i filled twelve baskets with the frag. AM.482 An. Olymp. are they among so many ?
ments of the five barley loaves, which An. Olymp. 10 And Jesus said, Make the men remained over and above unto them sit down. (Now there was much grass in the that had eaten. place.) So the men sat down, in number about 14 Then those men, when they had seen the five thousand.
miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he truth that prophet that should come into the had given thanks he distributed to the disciples, world. and the disciples to them that were set down; 15 | When Jesus therefore perceived that and likewise of the fishes as much as they they would come and take him by force, to would.
make him a king, he departed again into a 12 When they were filled, he said unto his mountain himself alone. disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, 16 . And when even was now come, his disthat nothing be lost.
ciples went down unto the sea, 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and 17 And entered into a ship, and went over
* 2 Kings 4. 43.
_Gen. 49. 10. Deut. 18. 15, 18. Matt. 11. 3.
Ch. 1. 21. & 4. 19, 25. & 7. 40.
- Matt. 14. 03. Mark 6. 47.
stances, we may plainly perceive that the self-denying doc- Verse 14. This is of a truth that prophet Spoken of, trine preached by Christ and his apostles, was fully exemplified Deut. xviii. 15. viz. the Messiah. How near were these in their own manner of living.
people at this time to the kingdom of heaven! Two small fishes] Avo ofago. The word ofaşsoy signifies Verse 15. Take him by force, to make him a king] The whatever is eaten with bread, to perfect the meal, or to make it | Jews had often suffered by famine in those times in which their easy of deglutition, or to help the digestion. There is no enemies were permitted to prevail over them: but finding that word in the English language for it, which is a great defect. || Jesus had such power as to multiply a few loaves to feed thouThe inhabitants of Scotland, and of the north and north-west sands, they took it for granted that while he was at their head of Ireland, use the word kytshen, by which they express what- no evil could possibly happen to them; and therefore were ever is eaten with bread or potatoes, as flesh, fish, butter, milk, determined immediately to proclaim him king, and rid themeggs, &c. no satisfactory etymology of which word I am selves at once of Herod and the Romans. Our Lord perceiving able to offer. 'In the parallel places in the other three Evan- | this, either by some words which they had dropped, or by his gelists, instead of ofapice, uxovas is used; so that the word evi-l penetration of their hearts, retired before the project had been dently means fish in the text of St. John : see on chap. xxi. 5.) fully formed, or could be put into execution. It was not till
Verse 10. There was much grass in the place.] Perhaps a considerable time afterwards, that even the disciples fuly newly mown grass, or hay, is meant, (so the Vulgate fænum) understood that his kingdom was not of this world. and this circumstance marks out more particularly that the Into a mountain] That on which he was with his disciples pass-over was at hand. In Palestine the grass is ready for previously to his working this miracle : see ver. 3. mowing in March ; and this miracle seems to have been St. Matthew, chap. xiv. 22, 23. and Mark vi. 45, 46. say, that wrought only a few days before the commencement of that before this Jesus constrained his disciples to embark in the festival : : see ver. 4.
vessel, and go along the sea coast towards Capernaum, or Verse 11. Jesus took the louves] See the notes on Matt. xiv. Bethsaida : see here ver. 17. and the note on Mark vi. 45. 19–21. As there were five loaves and five thousand people, and, that after they were gone, he dismissed the multitudes, so there was one loaf to every thousand men, independently of having, no doubt, given them such advices as the nature of the the women and children.
case required; after which he went into the mountain to pray. Verse 12. Gather up the fragments] “ Great will be the Worldly wisdom would have said, " Declare thyself king: punishment of those who waste the crumbs of food, scatter | yield to the desires of the people: this will be the readiest way seed, and neglect the law.” Synops. Sohar. Among the of converting the Jews.” No. Jesus must die for the sin of Jews the nxo peah, or residue after a meal, was the property of the world.—No man's heart can be turned to God by outward the servitors.
pomp or splendor-no saving change can be brought about by
The disciples taken in a storm.
Multitudes follow Christ.
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A.M. 4032 the sea toward Capernaum. * And it which stood on the other side of the A.M. 1032. An. Olymp. was now dark, and Jesus was not sea saw that there was none other boat An.Olynup. come to them.
there, save that one whereinto his dis18 And the sea arose by reason of a great ciples were entered, and that Jesus went not wind that blew.
with his disciples into the boat, but that his 19 So when they had rowed about five and disciples were gone away alone; twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walk- | 23 (Howbeit there came other boats from ing on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did ship: and they were afraid.
eat bread, after that the Lord had given 20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not thanks :) afraid.
24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus 21 Then they willingly received him into the was not there, neither his disciples, they also ship: and immediately the ship was at the land took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking whither they went.
for Jesus. 22 | The day following, when the people 25 And when they had found him on the
* Matt. 14. 25. Mark 6. 47.
• Matt. 14. 32. Mark 6. 51.
any might or any power, but by the spirit of the Lord of hosts. They see Jesus] See the notes on Matt. xiv. 25, &c. Zech. iv. 6.
Verse 21. Immediately the ship was at the land] How far Verse 17. Toward Capernaum] St. Mark says, chap. vi. they were from the place at which they landed when our Lord 45. that our Lord commanded them to go along to Bethsaida ; came to them, we know not. But the Evangelist seems to speak and in the course of the history we find they got neither to of their sudden arrival there, as extraordinary and miraculous. Bethsaida nor Capernaum, but landed in the country of Ge- Verse 22. The people which stood on the other side) Esexus rezaret : Matt. xiv. 34. Qur Lord seems to have desired themsgav ons banaoons, standing by the sea side. The people were 10 go either to Bethsaida or Capernaum, which were only a very | not on the other side, i. e. in Perea, as our Version states; but few miles distant, and on the same side of the sea. The reason on that side where Bethsaida lay: see the notes on Matt. xiv. why they could reach neither, was the storm which the Evan- | 25. and 34. and on Mark vi. 45. The Greek word, trigav, says gelists say rose at the time, and the wind being contrary: the Bishop Pearce, seems to signify in scripture sometimes on the storm being probably excited by the Prince of the power of side of, and sometimes on this side of : see Jos. v. 1. and the air. Capernaum lay at the northern part of this sea, and 1 Macc. ix. 34. The Hebrew word nay ábar, signifies by the they went along the Galilean or western coast probably expect- side: Exod. xxviii. 26. and is translated on this side in Deut. ing Christ to come to them, on which account they might keep || iv. 29. It has the same meaning in the Septuagint, Deut. i. 5. in close by the land. But there are great difficulties in fixing ii. 8. iv. 46. Ilegav, says Vorstius, is the same with sozu, near the places mentioned by the Evangelists. By some writers to. This is evidently the meaning of the word in Matt. ir. 15. Bethsaida and Capernaum are placed on opposite sides of this as it appears from what is said of the land of Zabulon and lake; by others on the same side. Sometimes when our trans-Nepthali, that by repow is not meant beyond, but by the side of'; lation speaks of passing over the sea, &c. a coasting voyage only because those two tribes inhabited the western side of Jordan, is meant, as we find the disciples landing on the same side from which was the side lying nearest to Judea and Galilee : see on which they had departed: see the note on ver. 22.
Matt. xix. 1. Verse 19. llad rowed] Their vessel was a small one only, Verse 23. There came other boats] After Jesus and his something of the boat kind: as to suils, if they had any, they disciples had departed. could not now venture to carry them, because of the storm. From Tiberias) Herod Antipas built this city near the lake
Fize and twenty or thirty furlongs] Between three and four of Genesaret, in the best parts of Galilee, and called it Tiberias, miles. The seit of Tiberias, on which they now were, was in honour of Tiberius, the Roman emperor : see Jos. Ant. according to Josephus, War, book iii. clap. 25. forty furlongs, book xviii. chap. 2. sect. 3. or five miles in breadth ; and one hundred and forty furlongs, Verse 24. They also took shipping ] That is, as many of or eighteen miles in length. Pliny, lib. v, chap. 15. makes it them as could get accommodated with boats took them, and about sir iniles broad, and sixteen long.
thus got to Capernaum: but many others doubtless went thi-
Christ exhorts the people
to labour for the bread of life.
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26 Jesus answered them and said, 27 a Labour not for the meat which Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, perisheth, but "for that meat which endureth not because ye saw the miracles, but because unto everlasting life, which the Son of man
ther on foot; as it is not at all likely that five or six thousand the astonishing evidence of his miracles. But he came also persons could get boats enow to carry them.
as a priest to make an atonement for sin : and the bread which Verse 25. On the other side of the sea] That is, on the sea nourishes unto eternal life, he tells us, ver. 51. is luis body, coast, to the northward of it, where Capernaum lay in the land which he gives for the life of the world: and to this sacrifice of Genesaret : but see the note on ver. 17, 22. It was in one of himself, the words him hath God the Finther sealed, seem of the synagogues of Capernaum that he delivered the follow- especially to relate. It certainly was a custom among nations ing discourse : see ver. 59.
contiguous to Judca, to set a seal upon the victim which was Verse 26. Ye seek me, not because ye saw, &c.] Though deemed proper for sacrifice. The following account of the the miracle of the loaves was one of the most astonishing that method of providing white bulls among the Egyptians, for ever was wrought upon earth; and though this people had, sacrifices to their god Apis, taken from Herodotus, Euterpe, by the testimony of all their senses, the most convincing proof or b. ii. p. 117. casts much light upon this place." They of its reality; yet we find many of them paid little attention sacrifice white bulls to A pis; and for that reason make the to it, and regarded the omnipotent hand of God in it, no far- following trial. If they find one black hair upon him, they ther than it went to satisfy the demands of their appetite! consider him as unclean : that they may know this with cerMost men are willing to receive temporal good from the hands tainty, the priest appointed for this purpose, views every part of God; but there are few, very few who are willing to receive of the animal, both standing, and lying on the ground. After spiritual blessings.
this, he draws out his tongue, to see if he be clean by certain Verse 27. Labour not for the meat] That is, for that only, 17 signs : in the last place, he looks upon the hairs of his tail, but also for the bread, &c. Our Lord wills every man to be that he may be sure they are as by nature they should be. If active and diligent in that employment, in which providence after this search, the bull is found unblemished, he signifies it has placed him : but it is his will also, that that employment, by tying a label to his horns; then having applied war, he seals and all the concerns of life, should be subservient to the inter- || it with his ring, and they lead him away : for it is death to est of his soul.
sacrifice one of these animals, unless he have been marked But for that meat, &c.] He who labours not in the work with such a seal.” of his salvation, is never likely to enter into the kingdom of The Jews could not be unacquainted with the rites and God. Though our labour cannot purchase it, either in whole ceremonies of the Egyptian worship; and it is possible, that or in part, yet it is the way in which God chuses to give sal such precautions as these were in use among themselves; esvation; and he that will have heaven must strive for it. Every pecially as they were so strictly enjoined, to have their sacrithing that can be possessed, except the salvation of God, is a fices without spot, and without blemish. Infinite justice found perishing thing: this is its essential character: it can last to Jesus Christ to be without spot or blemish, and therefore sealus, no longer than the body lasts. But when the earth and ed, pointed out, and accepted him, as a proper sacrifice and its produce are burnt up, this bread of Christ, his grace and atonement for the sin of the whole world. Collate with this salvation, will be found remaining unto eternal life. This is passage, Heb. vii. 26, 27, 28. Eph. v. 27. 2 Pet. iii. 14. and the portion, after which an immortal spirit should seek, especially Heb. ix. 13, 14. For if the blood of BULLS and of
Him hath God the Father sealed.] By this expression, our goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctiLord points out the commission, which, as the Messiah, he fieth—how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the received from the Father, to be prophet and priest to an ig- eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your norant, sinful world. As a person who wishes to communicate consciences from deud works? The Rabbins talk much of the bis mind to another who is at a distance, writes a letter, seals seal of God, which they suppose to be rex emeth, or truth ; it with his own seal, and sends it directed to the person for and that this is a representation of the unoriginated and endwhom it was written : so Christ, who lay in the bosom of the less perfections of God. This doctrine is just ; but their meFather, came to interpret the divine will to man, bearing the thod of proving it, is not so satisfactory. Aleph x, say they, image, superscription, and seal of God, in the immaculate is the first letter of the alphabet; men the middle; and tau boliness of bis nature, unsullied truth of his doctrine, and in Ilo the last: these three letters make nag emeth, Trutu, because