Lectionary Year A
August 1, 1999
Matthew 14:13-21

Step II: Disposition


(DH) A. GENRE
Bailey and Vander Broek [Literary Forms of the New Testament, 137-8] suggest that we are confronted in this pericope with a "miracle story," i.e., some sort of narrative which is built around a "miracle." This "miracle" can also be divided in several ways: one might say it is a "provision" story or a "gift miracle." While I can see elements of all of the above in our pericope, I want suggest that this is a story that narrates and shows how Jesus "answers" to violence (see also step III), a "counter-action story." It is a "compassion story" that is narrated within the framework of the ancient Jewish custom of table blessing that is prayed by the head of the household before each meal.

(DH) B. PERSONAL INTERACTION

- v.15 "apoluo" seems to be a rather strange verb here. If one translates, as I have chosen, as "release," I wonder if Jesus held the people "hostage?"
- The disciples seem to be rather demanding here (v.15) ... note the imperative!
- Why "did" Jesus "say" (past tense) but the disciples "are saying" (present tense)?
- Who is "them" in v.18? The loaves and the fishes, or the crowds?
- Is this a story about food "quantity" (feeding of 5,000 people) or food "quality" (you! give them to eat)? Or perhaps both?
- v.19 Note the row of participles (3) ... There is a lot of preparation before Jesus finally blesses the bread and gives it to the disciples to give to the hungry people.
- Why did Jesus not give the bread to the crowd himself?



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