Matthew 16:9
Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
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(9, 10) How many baskets.—The distinction between the two kinds of baskets—the cophini and the spurides—is, as before noticed (Note on Matthew 15:37), strictly observed here.

16:5-12 Christ speaks of spiritual things under a similitude, and the disciples misunderstand him of carnal things. He took it ill that they should think him as thoughtful about bread as they were; that they should be so little acquainted with his way of preaching. Then understood they what he meant. Christ teaches by the Spirit of wisdom in the heart, opening the understanding to the Spirit of revelation in the word.Take heed ... - That is, be cautious, be on your guard.

The leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees - Leaven is used in making bread.

It passes secretly, silently, but certainly through the mass of dough. See the notes at Matthew 13:33. "None can see its progress." So it was with the doctrines of the Pharisees. They were insinuating, artful, plausible. They concealed the real tendency of their doctrines; they instilled them secretly into the mind, until they pervaded all the faculties like leaven.

They reasoned ... - The disciples did not understand him as referring to the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees, because the word "leaven" was not often used among the Jews to denote doctrines, no other instance of this use of the word occurring in the Scriptures. Besides, the Jews had many particular rules about the leaven (yeast) which might be used in making bread. Many held that it was not lawful to eat bread made by the Gentiles; and the disciples, perhaps, supposed that he was cautioning them not to procure a supply from the Pharisees and Sadducees.

O ye of little faith! - Jesus, in reply, said that they should not be so anxious about the supply of their temporal wants. They should not have supposed, after the miracles that he had performed in feeding so many, that he would caution them to be anxious about procuring bread for their necessities. It was improper, then, for them to reason about a thing like that, but they should have supposed that he referred to something more important. The miracles had been full proof that he could supply all their wants without such anxiety.


Mt 16:1-12. A Sign from Heaven Sought and Refused—Caution against the Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

For the exposition, see on [1315]Mr 8:11-21.

See Poole on "Matthew 16:12".

Do ye not understand,.... Meaning either the sense of the advice he had now given; or rather his almighty power displayed in the two miracles of feeding five thousand at one time, and four thousand at another, with a very small quantity of provision; for to this the word "understand" refers, as well as the following:

neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Have you forgot what was so lately done, namely, the feeding five thousand men, besides women and children, with five loaves and two fishes, when ye took up, after all were filled and satisfied, no less than twelve baskets of fragments? And can you, after this, distrust my power in the care of you? Have I fed so many with so small a quantity of food? and am I not able to feed twelve of you, though you have but one loaf? Why all these anxious thoughts and carnal reasonings?

Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the {e} five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

(e) That five thousand men were filled with so many loaves?

Matthew 16:9 f. After those two miracles you have so recently witnessed (Matthew 14:15, Matthew 15:32), have you still so little penetration as not to understand that the thing to which I am alluding is not literal bread, which you ought to have depended (ὀλιγόπιστ.) on my being able to supply whenever occasion might require, but rather to something of a spiritual nature? Jesus lays no more stress here than He does elsewhere upon the physical benefit of His bread-miracle (de Wette), but simply makes use of it in the way of suggesting deeper reflection.

The difference between κόφ. and σπυρ. does not lie in σπυρίς being larger (Bengel, which does not follow from Acts 9:25), but in the fact that κόφινος is a general term, whereas σπυρίς denotes a food-basket in particular. See note on Matthew 14:20, Matthew 15:37.

Matthew 16:9-10. nd with so little excuse in view of quite recent experiences, of which the vivid details are given as if to heighten the reproach.

Matthew 16:9. Οὔπω, not yet) The fault of the slow learner is increased by his having heard long ago.—νοεῖτεμνημονεύετε, understand, remember) The verb νοεώ expresses something more voluntary than συνίημι; see Matthew 16:12; Mark 7:18; 2 Timothy 2:7. Sin affects also the mind and the memory. They ought to have understood, even if those two miracles had not been performed. We ought to remember even the circumstances of Divine works, and from former to hope for further help.[722]

[722] It is not such forgetfulness as they upbraided themselves with, Matthew 16:7, but one altogether distinct, arising from unbelief accompanied with stupidity, that is here attributed to them as a fault.—V. g.

Verses 9, 10. - Christ, in support of his reproof, refers to the two miracles of the multiplication of food, which ought to have assured them of his care and power. Do ye not yet understand? So he asked in Matthew 15:16, "Are ye also yet without understanding?" Their heart was hardened, and they failed to apprehend the spiritual bearing of the incidents. Neither remember? This was an additional ground for censure, that they even forgot the facts at the very time when they ought to have been recalled to their memory. Jesus reminds them of the distinctive differences between the two miracles, mentioning even the receptacles in which the fragments were collected - in the one case κόφινοι, small baskets, and in the other σπυρίδες, large panniers. It is surely wilful perversity that has deemed these two incidents, thus pointedly disjoined by our Lord, as versions of one story; and yet this is what some modern critics have suggested and upheld. Matthew 16:9Note the accurate employment of the two words for basket. See on Matthew 14:20.
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