After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.…
The disciples understood their instructions, and immediately arranged the vast throng on the sloping sides of the mountain, in ranks, a hundred in number, each rank containing fifty persons in file. The ranks, as we may easily conceive, were placed at such convenient distances from each other, that the disciples could easily pass between them. In this form the five thousand men were disposed of — the women and children being, in all probability, placed by themselves in some convenient situation. As when He created the wine at Cana, the six waterpots were set in order preparatory to that miracle, so here His request for order was obeyed, preparatory to the work which He was about to do. As the many thousands of Israel, in their encampings and marches were so arranged that all alike enjoyed the full advantage of having the tabernacle, and pillar of cloud, and brazen serpent lifted up full in their view, so now the whole multitude, by the arrangement effected, were placed in a position to enable every man to see and to hear Him who was the True Tabernacle, the True Pillar of Cloud, and the True Brazen Serpent lifted up. He stands at the bottom of that green mountain slope, and the twelve are round about Him. Receding from the place which they occupy, fifty men are seated, each behind, but a little raised above, his companion, in file, and in close order. On the right hand there are fifty ranks thus arranged. On the left hand there are fifty ranks. Jesus stands in the centre, and His eye with ease ranges over the whole company, whilst His voice distinctly reaches them. If we may suppose the sun about to set, the surrounding mountains glowing with his departing rays, the waters of the lake still retaining the lingering reflection of the sun's fading beauty, we have before us a scene such as we may believe Jesus Himself delighted to survey, and such as we may well long to see often recurring in our fallen world — multitudes waiting for the "true bread," and the Lord Himself present to bestow it in rich abundance.
(A. Beith, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.