John Bengel Commentary - Mark 6:37 - 6:37

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John Bengel Commentary - Mark 6:37 - 6:37

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Mar 6:37. Ἀγοράσωμεν, are we to buy) The disciples intimate, by this question, that there is on their part no want of the will, both to give their exertion in going away, and their money, as much as they had, in buying what was needed; but what is wanting is the ability to satisfy such a multitude. Therefore, in their question, they fix on the sum two hundred denarii,[48] not so much according to the supply which was in their purse at the time, as according to the number of the multitude. See what can be elicited from the data furnished to us: 5000 men is to 200 denarii, as one man is to 1/25th of a denarius, i.e. about half of a German kreuzer (halfpenny). We have, besides the argument of changing the old money [mintage] into new, that expression of Joh 6:7, “that every one of them may take a little” especially at that time of year, about the Passover, Joh 6:4, when the price of provisions is usually higher; we have also the rational computation of the disciples, whereby in contrast on the opposite side is illustrated the omnipotence of our Lord. The sum of 200 zuzœi, or denarii, was among the Hebrews very frequent in the case of a dowry or fine: but this does not oppose the analogy of the 200 denarii and 5000 men.

[48] Pence: though the denarius, originally so called from being = 10 asses, is really somewhat more than 71/2 pence; or, according to its earlier value, 81/2 pence.-ED. and TRANSL.