Matthew 15:34
"How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked. "Seven," they replied, "and a few small fish."
Feeding of the Four ThousandMarcus Dods Matthew 15:29-39
The Compassion of JesusJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 15:32-39
The Miracle of the Loaves and FishesP. Brooks, D. D.Matthew 15:32-39
The Miraculous Feeding of Four ThousandExpository OutlinesMatthew 15:32-39
The Necessities of Man and the All-Sufficiency of ChristJ. Parker.Matthew 15:32-39

Having let fall that crumb under the table, in the parts of Tyre and Sidon, Jesus returns to make a full feast for the children. When he had here performed miracles of healing, he proceeds to the performance of a miracle of feeding. The removal of evil is a prelude to the communication of good.


1. Quick to discern a need.

(1) "I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat." Three hours, under ordinary conditions, would be a long service; especially so should the dinner hour be invaded. But here is a service of three days, in which dinner is the last thought with the congregation. The Minister, however, able, and withal considerate.

(2) "They have nothing to eat." This world is a desert, where nothing can be found to satisfy the soul of man, but the salvation which Christ has purchased.

(3) Christ suffered the multitude to hunger, as Israel of old, to teach them great lessons (see Deuteronomy 8:3). That is sweet to the hungry soul which the full soul loathes. Fasting precedes feasting. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is the prelude to being satisfied with the bounties of God's table.

2. Quick to provide against calamity.

(1) "They may faint in the way." Note: It is fitting and religious to give due attention to the wants of the body. "Our prayers should be for a sound mind in a sound body" (Juvenal).

(2) The wants of the body restrain the desires of the spirit. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Jesus still, from the loftier elevation of the mount of glory, compassionately sees.

(3) The compassion of Jesus provides for the everlasting future. Through his merciful provisions we may avoid the hungering and thirsting of perdition. The spiritual body of the better resurrection will have no wants to impair the desires of the spirit. "They hunger no more, neither thirst any more" (see Revelation 7:16-18). So can they "serve God day and night in his temple."


1. Its potency had been evinced. Within the year or two of his public ministry how many miracles had Jesus wrought! Yet how few that were not miracles of mercy!

2. Some of these were recent. Within these "three days" how numerous were the "lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others," the healing of whom "astonished" this multitude (see vers. 30, 31)]

3. The potency of the compassion of Jesus was now to receive additional illustration. Here are eight thousand hungry people. Four thousand men, "besides women and children," who were probably as many more. For the nourishment of these there are "seven loaves, and a few small fishes." But "they did all eat, and were filled;" and moreover of the fragments left there were seven hampers. The spyris was larger than the cophinus of the miracle. It seems to have been a load for a porter (see Acts 9:25). A hamper of fragments forevery loaf.


1. The circumstances of the miracle are instructive.

(1) "He gave thanks." In the former miracle with the five loaves "he blessed." It comes to the same. Giving thanks to God is a proper way to ask the blessing of God. Thanks given before taking food (see Acts 27:35) acknowledges his past bounty, craves his blessing upon the present, anticipates the future. All good comes from God. His blessing makes little go far.

(2) He used all the provision he had. God works miracles only, and in so far as there is necessity. So are we to use the means Providence sets before us. When these fail, then trust God. What his ordinary providence denies his miraculous power will supply. All spiritual blessings are immediately from God, so miraculous.

(3) The multitude sat down in faith. They saw but little. Yet took advice and prepared themselves for a banquet. So they were all "filled." Those whom Jesus feeds he fills (see Psalm 65:4; Isaiah 55:2). Not only was Jesus from Bethlehem; he is Bethlehem himself, the House of bread.

(4) He then "sent the multitude away." Though he had twice fed them, they must not expect miracles to give them daily food. Meanwhile he himself entered the boat and came to Magdala. He generally withdrew after working a miracle, lest the people should attempt to raise a sedition and make him a King (cf. Matthew 14:22; John 6:15). How different from the conduct of a pseudo-Messiah!

2. There are lessons in the service of the disciples.

(1) To them he first expressed his tender sympathy for the people. This was a mark of his friendship. The disciples of Christ know most of his goodness. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him" (cf. Genesis 18:17-19; Psalm 25:14; Amos 3:7; John 7:17; John 15:15).

(2) The communication was also intended to quicken their compassions, to teach them generosity, and to strengthen their faith. Their answer showed that they needed the lesson, "Whence should we have so many loaves." etc.? (ver. 33). "They walked in a world of wonders, spiritual and physical, where they felt strange, until the Holy Ghost came and brought to their minds all that Christ had done" (Olshausen, John 14:26). Forgetting former experience leaves us in present doubt. Here is no stinginess of today in forethought for tomorrow.

(3) The disciples had the custody of the provisions. To them also is committed the custody of the bread of God's Word. They have had to shield it. from the vigilance of the anti-Christian destroyer.

(4) They are the dispensers of the Word of grace for the nourishment of the world. In their hands it multiplies both in the dispensing and in the store. - J.A.M.

And Jesus said unto them, How many loaves have ye?
economy: — Want in men moves Christ's whole nature. His help leaves no injury. Here generosity and frugality meet. Observe in this miracle two principles.

I. CONTINUITY. That which is comes out of that which has been.

II. FRUGALITY. There is no waste.

1. These two principles are exhibited in nature. Mere spontaneity nature disowns. The field says, "Give me seed, and I will give you back harvest." Nature disowns waste, all things are utilized.

2. These principles are found in history. God does not fling loaves from the sky; they are growths. Not one life is lost.

3. These principles are seen in the moral world. There is no dropping of truths than of great men from heaven. Hence out of the few loaves grow the feast. He who holds in sincerity a little truth has the promise of all.In applying the truth of the text we learn —

1. To hope. The less will become more.

2. The effect of this law upon character. Your future must come out of your past.

3. A lesson in helping others. We help by bringing the better out of some good in men. How many loaves have you? One has a feeble resolution; that, with the blessing of God, may be sufficient.

(P. Brooks, D. D.)

Expository Outlines.

1. It was a miracle of mercy.

2. Its publicity is another feature worthy of notice.

3. The scale on which it was wrought was most extensive.

4. It was the result of no previous arrangement, but was done in order to meet a pressing emergency.

5. The consciousness He evinced that His resources were adequate to the occasion.


1. Reliance.

2. Gratitude.

3. Charity.

4. Economy.

(Expository Outlines.)

I. THAT CIRCUMSTANCES ARE CONTINUALLY REMINDING MAN OF HIS NECESSITOUS CONDITION. Man can go but a short way into life's wilderness without feeling that his is a craving nature. Life-long dependence should teach life-long humility.

II. THAT MAN'S NECESSITOUS CONDITION IS FULLY MET BY CHRIST'S SUFFICIENCY. Christ knows the necessities of our human constitution. In Christ dwells all fulness. Man needs pardon, purity, freedom, peace.

III. THAT IF MAN WILL NOT AVAIL HIMSELF OF CHRIST'S SUFFICIENCY HE WILL BE CHARGEABLE WITH THE RUIN OF HIS OWN SOUL. These men did not refuse to eat because they could not understand the mystery by which the bread was multiplied, Refuse to eat and they die.

(J. Parker.)

Canaanitish, David, Isaiah, Jesus, Peter
Genneseret, Jerusalem, Magadan, Sea of Galilee, Sidon, Tyre
Bread, Cakes, Fish, Fishes, Loaves, Replied, Says, Seven
1. Jesus reproves the Scribes and Pharisees
7. for transgressing God's commandments through their own traditions;
10. teaches how that which goes into the mouth does not defile a man.
21. He heals the daughter of the woman of Canaan,
29. and other great multitudes;
32. and with seven loaves and a few small fish feeds four thousand men

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 15:34

     4418   bread

Matthew 15:32-37

     5939   satisfaction

Matthew 15:32-38

     1330   God, the provider
     4418   bread
     5279   crowds

Matthew 15:33-36

     5962   surprises

Matthew 15:34-38

     4642   fish

Mother's Love
Eversley, Second Sunday in Lent, 1872. St Matthew xv. 22-28. "And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying,
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

Crumbs and the Bread
'Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24. But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25. Then came she and worshipped
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xv. 21,"Jesus Went Out Thence, and Withdrew into the Parts of Tyre and Sidon. And Behold, a Canaanitish Woman,"
1. This woman of Canaan, who has just now been brought before us in the lesson of the Gospel, shows us an example of humility, and the way of godliness; shows us how to rise from humility unto exaltation. Now she was, as it appears, not of the people of Israel, of whom came the Patriarchs, and Prophets, and the parents of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh; of whom the Virgin Mary herself was, who was the Mother of Christ. This woman then was not of this people; but of the Gentiles. For,
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

The Perseverance of Faith
"Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour."--Matthew 15:28. I HAVE frequently spoken to you concerning the faith of this Canaanitish woman, of the way in which Christ tried it, and of the manner in which, at length, he honoured it, and granted all that the suppliant sought. The story is so full of meaning, that one might turn it this way, and that way, and the other way, and always see
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Genesis xxvii. 38
And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father. MATTHEW xv. 27. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table. Of these two passages, the first, as we must all remember, is taken from the first lesson of this morning's service; the second is from the morning's gospel. Both speak the same language, and point out, I think, that particular view of the story of Jacob obtaining the blessing
Thomas Arnold—The Christian Life

Sermon for the Second Sunday in Lent
(From the Gospel for the day) Tells us how God drives forward some of His children by the struggle between the inward and outward man. Matt. xv. 21-28.--"Jesus went thence and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away, for she
Susannah Winkworth—The History and Life of the Reverend Doctor John Tauler

How to Make Use of Christ for Cleansing of us from Our Daily Spots.
Having spoken of the way of making use of Christ for removing the guilt of our daily transgressions, we come to speak of the way of making use of Christ, for taking away the guilt that cleaveth to the soul, through daily transgressions; "for every sin defileth the man," Matt. xv. 20; and the best are said to have their spots, and to need washing, which presupposeth filthiness and defilement, Eph. v. 27. John xiii. 8-10. Hence we are so oft called to this duty of washing and making us clean. Isa.
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Second Withdrawal from Herod's Territory.
^A Matt. XV. 21; ^B Mark VII. 24. ^b 24 And from thence ^a Jesus ^b arose, and went ^a out ^b away ^a and withdrew into the parts { ^b borders} of Tyre and Sidon. [The journey here is indicated in marked terms because it differs from any previously recorded, for it was the first time that Jesus ever entered a foreign or heathen country. Some commentators contend from the use of the word "borders" by Mark that Jesus did not cross over the boundary, but the point is not well taken, for Mark vii. 31
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Another Avoiding of Herod's Territory.
^A Matt. XV. 29; ^B Mark VII. 31. ^b 31 And ^a Jesus ^b again went out. ^a And departed thence, ^b from the borders of Tyre, and came through Sidon, ^a and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; ^b through the midst of the borders of Decapolis. ^a and he went up into a mountain, and sat down there. [From Tyre Jesus proceeded northward to Sidon and thence eastward across the mountains and the headwaters of the Jordan to the neighborhood of Damascus. Here he turned southward and approached the Sea of Galilee
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus Fails to Attend the Third Passover.
Scribes Reproach Him for Disregarding Tradition. (Galilee, Probably Capernaum, Spring a.d. 29.) ^A Matt. XV. 1-20; ^B Mark VII. 1-23; ^D John VII. 1. ^d 1 And after these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Judæa, because the Jews sought to kill him. [John told us in his last chapter that the passover was near at hand. He here makes a general statement which shows that Jesus did not attend this passover. The reason for his absence is given at John v. 18.] ^a 1 Then there
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Healing a Phoenician Woman's Daughter.
(Region of Tyre and Sidon.) ^A Matt. XV. 22-28; ^B Mark VII. 24-30. ^b And he entered into a house, and would have no man know it [Jesus sought concealment for the purposes noted in the last section. He also, no doubt, desired an opportunity to impact private instruction to the twelve]; and he could not be hid. [The fame of Jesus had spread far and wide, and he and his disciples were too well known to escape the notice of any who had seen them or heard them described.] 25 But { ^a 22 And} behold,
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Deaf Stammerer Healed and Four Thousand Fed.
^A Matt. XV. 30-39; ^B Mark VII. 32-VIII. 9. ^b 32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech [The man had evidently learned to speak before he lost his hearing. Some think that defective hearing had caused the impediment in his speech, but verse 35 suggests that he was tongue-tied]; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 33 And he took him aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue [He separated
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Third Withdrawal from Herod's Territory.
Subdivision A. Pharisaic Leaven. A Blind Man Healed. (Magadan and Bethsaida. Probably Summer, a.d. 29.) ^A Matt. XV. 39-XVI. 12; ^B Mark VIII. 10-26. ^b 10 And straightway he entered into the boat with his disciples, ^a and came into the borders of Magadan. ^b into the parts of Dalmanutha. [It appears from the context that he crossed the lake to the west shore. Commentators, therefore, pretty generally think that Magadan is another form of the name Magdala, and that Dalmanutha was either another
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Cavils of the Pharisees Concerning Purification, and the Teaching of the Lord Concerning Purity - the Traditions Concerning Hand-Washing' and Vows. '
As we follow the narrative, confirmatory evidence of what had preceded springs up at almost every step. It is quite in accordance with the abrupt departure of Jesus from Capernaum, and its motives, that when, so far from finding rest and privacy at Bethsaida (east of the Jordan), a greater multitude than ever had there gathered around Him, which would fain have proclaimed Him King, He resolved on immediate return to the western shore, with the view of seeking a quieter retreat, even though it were
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Jesus and the Syro-Phoenician Woman
THE purpose of Christ to withdraw His disciples from the excitement of Galilee, and from what might follow the execution of the Baptist, had been interrupted by the events at Bethsaida-Julias, but it was not changed. On the contrary, it must have been intensified. That wild, popular outburst, which had almost forced upon Him a Jewish Messiah-Kingship; the discussion with the Jerusalem Scribes about the washing of hands on the following day; the Discourses of the Sabbath, and the spreading disaffection,
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

A Group of Miracles among a Semi-Heathen Population
If even the brief stay of Jesus in that friendly Jewish home by the borders of Tyre could not remain unknown, the fame of the healing of the Syro-Phoenician maiden would soon have rendered impossible that privacy and retirement, which had been the chief object of His leaving Capernaum. Accordingly, when the two Paschal days were ended, He resumed His journey, extending it far beyond any previously undertaken, perhaps beyond what had been originally intended. The borders of Palestine proper, though
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Feeding of the Four Thousand - to Dalmanutha - the Sign from Heaven' - Journey to Cæsarea Philippi - what is the Leaven of The
THEY might well gather to Jesus in their thousands, with their wants of body and soul, these sheep wandering without a shepherd; for His Ministry in that district, as formerly in Galilee, was about to draw to a close. And here it is remarkable, that each time His prolonged stay and Ministry in a district were brought to a close with some supper, so to speak, some festive entertainment on his part. The Galilean Ministry had closed with the feeding of the five thousand, the guests being mostly from
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Intercourse of Jesus with the Pagans and the Samaritans.
Following out these principles, Jesus despised all religion which was not of the heart. The vain practices of the devotees,[1] the exterior strictness, which trusted to formality for salvation, had in him a mortal enemy. He cared little for fasting.[2] He preferred forgiveness to sacrifice.[3] The love of God, charity and mutual forgiveness, were his whole law.[4] Nothing could be less priestly. The priest, by his office, ever advocates public sacrifice, of which he is the appointed minister; he
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

To the High and Mighty Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
Tolle malos, extolle pios, cognosce teipsum: Sacra tene, paci consule, disce pati. Christ Jesus, the Prince of princes, bless your Highness with length of days, and an increase of all graces, which may make you truly prosperous in this life, and eternally happy in that which is to come. Jonathan shot three arrows to drive David further off from Saul's fury; and this is the third epistle which I have written, to draw your Highness nearer to God's favour, by directing your heart to begin, like Josiah,
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Introductory Note.
[a.d. 145-220.] When our Lord repulsed the woman of Canaan (Matt. xv. 22) with apparent harshness, he applied to her people the epithet dogs, with which the children of Israel had thought it piety to reproach them. When He accepted her faith and caused it to be recorded for our learning, He did something more: He reversed the curse of the Canaanite and showed that the Church was designed "for all people;" Catholic alike for all time and for all sorts and conditions of men. Thus the North-African

Manifestly Also in the Gospel we Find the Mouth of the Heart...
32. Manifestly also in the Gospel we find the mouth of the heart: so that in one place the Lord is found to have mentioned the mouth both of the body and of the heart, where he saith, "Are ye also yet without understanding? Do ye not yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? but those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
St. Augustine—On Lying

Prayers on Pilgrimage. --"Lord Help Me. " --Matt. xv. 25
Prayers on Pilgrimage.--"Lord help me."--Matt. xv. 25. II. Blessed be Thy name, Jesus Christ!--the same Yesterday, to-day, for ever, What from Thee my soul shall sever, While I hear Thy voice, And in Thee rejoice? Guide me with Thine eye; Warn to fight or fly, When the foe, a lion raging, Or, with serpent guile assuaging, Comes in wrath to tear, Or by fraud ensnare. Hold me with Thine hand, For by faith I stand; On Thy strength my sole reliance, In Thy truth my whole affiance; Then where'er I
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

Luther's Fourth Preface
To Valentine Bapst's Hymn-book, Leipzig, 1545. The xcvi Psalm saith: "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth." The service of God in the old dispensation, under the law of Moses, was hard and wearisome. Many and divers sacrifices had men to offer, of all that they possessed, both in house and in field, which the people, being idle and covetous, did grudgingly or for some temporal advantage; as the prophet Malachi saith, chap. i., "who is there even among you that would shut
Leonard Woolsey Bacon—The Hymns of Martin Luther

The Woman of Canaan
Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying,
Richard Newton—The Life of Jesus Christ for the Young

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