Lectionary Year A
August 4, 2002
Matthew 14:13-21

IV: Broader Context


2 Kings 4:42-44
"A man came from Baal-shal-i-sha, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, 'Give it to the people and let them eat!.' But his servant said, "How can I set this before a hundred people?' So he repeated, 'Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the LORD, 'They shall eat and have some left.' He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD."

[source: Strack/Billerbeck, vol. I., 685f.]

"... he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to ... (Mt 14:19)"
It was Jewish custom never to sit down for a meal without giving thanks to God for the food provided, and also never to end a meal without thanksgiving either. The following words were spoken (and are still spoken in an observing Jewish household): "Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the world ... ." (baruch atah adonai, eloheinu melech olam). Furthermore, it was always the head of the household, who would pronounce this table blessing.

cf. Deuteronomy 8:10
"You shall eat your fill and bless the LORD your God for the good land that he has given you."

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