Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 21:5

So Jesus *said to them, "Children, you do not have any fish, do you?" They answered Him, "No."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Galilee;   John;   Peter;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ships;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Palestine;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Hospitality;   Miracle;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Fishing, the Art of;   Peter;   Resurrection of Christ;   Holman Bible Dictionary - John, the Gospel of;   Martha;   Presence of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John, Gospel of;   Peter;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Children;   Discourse;   Draught of Fishes;   James ;   John (the Apostle);   Little Ones;   Luke, Gospel According to;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Miracles;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Food;   Smith Bible Dictionary - John, Gospel of;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Thomas;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Andrew;   Child;   Fishing;   James;   Thomas;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Christianity in Its Relation to Judaism;   New Testament;   Simon Cephas;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 19;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Children - Παιδια, a term of familiarity and affectionate kindness: it is the vocative case plural of παιδιον, which is the diminutive of παις, and literally signifies little children, or beloved children. How the margin has made sirs out of it I cannot conceive.

Any meat - Προσφαγιον from προς, besides, and φαγω, I eat; any thing that is eaten with bread, or such like solid substances, to make the deglutition the more easy: here it evidently means any kind of fish; and our Lord seems to have appeared at first in the character of a person who wished to purchase a part of what they had caught: see the note on John 6:9.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 21:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Children - A term of affection and friendship, 1 John 2:18.

Any meat - This word (Greek) means anything eaten with bread. It was used by the Greeks especially to denote fish (Schleusner).

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-21.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 21:5

Jesus said unto them, Have ye any meat?

The tender love of the risen Christ

The question pertained to the wants of the body. Christ’s resurrection body was still in sympathy with theirs. The higher He rose the deeper and more perfect were His sympathies. He could hunger no more, be weary no more: yet this made Him more keenly alive to the privations of His brethren. He did not need to put the question: yet He wishes to speak to them as a human friend interested in their welfare. He awakens their confidence as a stranger, but soon drops the stranger’s dress. Blessed surprise! Such as that of Mary and the Emmaus travellers; as if He delighted in the surprises of love.

I. THE WATCHFULNESS OF THE RISEN CHRIST. He marks each sheep and lamb of His flock with more than a shepherd’s eye. The glory with which He is surrounded does not make Him unwatchful. Amidst His plenty He remembers the penury of His own. You never lacked a meal but Jesus asked this question to supply it. You never lacked a spiritual meal but He puts the same question for the same purpose. He watches the hunger of every congregation, and asks, “Children, have ye any meat?”

II. THE PITY OF THE RISEN CHRIST. “I have compassion on the multitudes,” He once said. Such was His pity after His resurrection; and we are sure that the throne has not lessened that pity. He pities His Church’s and each saint’s hunger and leanness. Let us learn this and imitate it.

III. THE BOUNTY OF THE RISEN CHRIST. His is no empty pity. He does not say merely, “Be ye warmed and filled”: He opens His treasure-house and supplies us. His stores are boundless. He delights to dispense them; nay, to provide channels for them, as in the case of the disciples when He filled their nets, kindled the fire, and prepared the meal. He fills the cruse and barrel of His widowed Church, and feeds us with the finest of the wheat. (H. Bonar, D. D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 21:5". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-21.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Jesus therefore saith unto them, Children, have ye aught to eat? They answered him, No.

Children ... This shows the tender affection Jesus had for his disciples. John himself adopted this address to Christians (1 John 2:13,18).

Have ye aught to eat ...? Jesus was not asking them for food, but he was rather emphasizing the fact that their return to their old tasks (however momentarily) had resulted in failure. The Lord was not yet through with those men; and Jesus had no intention of permitting them to return to the fishing business, even if they had desired that. The whole sequence of events in this chapter shows conclusively that their long night of failing to catch anything was providential, in the same manner as their astounding catch a little later acting upon the Lord's instructions.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-21.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then Jesus saith unto them, children,.... And still they knew him not, though he used this endearing and familiar appellation, and which they had been wont to hear from him; and he had called them by a little before his departure from them, John 13:33 and which he uses here as expressive of his tender affection for them, their relation to him, and that he might be known by them:

have ye any meat? that is, as the Syriac renders it, מדם למלעס, "anything to eat"; meaning fish that they had caught; and whether they had got a sufficient quantity to make a meal of for him and them.

They answered him no; they had got nothing at all; or at least what they had was far from being enough to make a breakfast of; for so a meal early in a morning may be most properly called, though it is afterwards called dining. Christ's children, true believers, are sometimes without spiritual food; there is always indeed enough in Christ, and he has an heart to give it; but either through prevailing iniquity they feed on something else, or do not go to him for food, or go elsewhere; but he will not suffer them to starve; for as he has made provisions for them in the ministry of the word and ordinances; and he himself is the bread of life; if they do not ask him for food, he will ask them whether they have any; will kindly invite them to the provisions he himself makes; will bid them welcome, and bless them to them.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 21:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-21.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Children — This term would not necessarily identify Him, being not unusual from any superior; but when they did recognize Him, they would feel it sweetly like Himself.

have ye any meat? — provisions, supplies, meaning fish.

They answered … No — This was in His wonted style, making them tell their case, and so the better prepare them for what was coming.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-21.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

5. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

[Children.] By what word soever Christ expressed this children to them, it seems to be a very familiar and gentle compellation, that his disciples, from that very salutation of his, might discern him. They did not know him by sight, as appears, verse 4: he would have them know him, therefore, by the title he gave them.

[Any meat.] Very usual amongst the Rabbins may not unfitly be rendered meat for one single repast: as if Christ should have said, "Children, have ye any meat with you sufficient for a breakfast or a dinner?" But if any meat should signify any sort of meat that must be eaten with bread, as Camerarius thinks, then Christ's words seem to have this meaning: "Here, I have bread with me: have you taken any thing, that we may eat this bread?" and so meat may be distinguished from bread.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 21:5". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-21.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Children (ΠαιδιαPaidia). Diminutive of παιςpais and used here alone by Jesus in addressing his disciples. It is a colloquial expression like “my boys.” The aged Apostle John uses it in 1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:18.

Have ye aught to eat? (μη τι προσπαγιον εχετεmē ti prosphagion echete). The negative answer is expected by this polite inquiry as in John 4:29. The rare and late word προσπαγιονprosphagion from the root παγphag (εστιωesthiō to eat) and προςpros (in addition) was used for a relish with bread and then for fish as here. So in the papyri. Nowhere else in the N.T.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-21.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Children ( παιδία )

Or, little children. Used also by John, in address, twice in the First Epistle (1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:18), where, however, the more common word is τεκνία , little children.

Have ye any meat ( μή τι προσφάγιον ἔχετε )?

The interrogative μή τι indicates that a negative answer is expected: you have not, I suppose, anything. Προσφάγιον is equivalent to ὀψάριον , what is added to bread at a meal, especially fish. See on John 6:9. Only here in the New Testament. Wyc, any supping-thing.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-21.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

The Fourfold Gospel

Jesus therefore saith unto them, Children, have ye aught to eat1? They answered him, No2.

  1. Jesus therefore saith unto them, Children, have ye aught to eat? Jesus does not use the affectionate Greek word "teknia" ("children"), but the familiar and colloquial "paidia" ("boys"). His question was like that of a stranger, or neighbor, who wished to buy fish.

  2. They answered him, No. Their brevity bespeaks their disappointment at having a purchaser, but nothing to sell him.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 21:5". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-21.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Meat; food.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-21.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

Ver. 5. Children, have ye any meat?] This he saith as seeming to be some housekeeper, who passing by fishermen, calls to them, as willing to buy their fish for the use of his family. Galeacius Caracciolus, that noble marquis of Vico (that left all for Christ, preferring the blessing of God before the world’s warm sun), would go into the market at Geneva and cater for his household; grieving for nothing more than that he had not wherewithal to keep a better house for the relief of the poor. And in that respect only he wished himself as great a man at Geneva as he was in Italy. (His Life by Crashaw.)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 21:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-21.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

5.] λέγ. οὖν is in John’s manner.

παιδία] See reff. In ch. John 13:33 we have τεκνία.

προσφάγιον is said by the grammarians to be the Hellenic form equivalent to the Attic ὄψον, signifying any thing eaten as an additament to bread, but especially fish. So that here the best rendering would be as in A.V.R., Have ye any fish?

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 21:5". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-21.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 21:5. παιδία, Children, Little sons) A name of age [i.e. such as would be used by an aged person]. He addresses them as though He were one unknown, lovingly, from an elevation above them, as being the eternal Wisdom.(400)προσφάγιον, meat) as for instance a fish.— οὐ, no) Human art is not always consistent with itself [cannot always produce the same results]: but John 21:6, the Divine blessing always is [always can].

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 21:5". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-21.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He asketh them if they had any thing to eat, not because he knew not, but in order to what he intended to do to make them more attentive to the miracle which he by and by intended to work.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 21:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-21.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Meat; the word in the original means something eaten with bread, as flesh or fish.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-21.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.Children—A term of endearment, translated little children in 1 John 2:18. It marks the absent Saviour’s love for his Church on earth. He is the Ancient of Days; they are ever being successively born into life.

Have ye any meat?—The word meat signifies any food eaten additionally to bread, and here fish. Chrysostom says our Lord addresses them as though he were one who wanted to buy fish. No—The question was to bring out their complete failure, preparatory to his giving the command that would ensure success. It is when we have fully realized our own insufficiency that we receive of the fulness of Christ.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-21.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jesus addressed the disciples with an affectionate masculine greeting (Gr. paidia). The translation "boys" captures the spirit of His word. The form of Jesus" question in the Greek text assumed a negative answer; He expected that they had caught nothing. One can sense the discouragement and mild embarrassment in the disciples" "no." Jesus was in the process of teaching these men their personal inadequacy even in the type of work they knew best and had most experience with. It was important that they articulate their failure.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-21.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 21:5. Jesus therefore saith unto them, Children, have ye anything to eat? They answered him, No. It is hardly possible to imagine that the word ‘children’ is here used because Jesus is addressing Himself as ‘a master to his workmen,’ or because He is. Speaking with the dignity of a superior. It is a word of tenderness and affection. At the same time it may perhaps have a deeper meaning, for the word ‘brethren’ of chap. John 20:17, which now expresses the relation of Jesus to His disciples, rather leads directly to the supposition that, in a certain sense, He speaks as One standing on a footing of equality with themselves. There is at least a striking coincidence between the word (‘children’) here used and that used in Hebrews 2:13 (Isaiah 8:18). He who speaks is engaged in the same occupation, takes the same position, is called to the same work as they. The question which He asks is important, especially the word which is rendered in the Authorised Version ‘meat,’ but which we have rendered by ‘to eat.’ For thus we observe the true point of the question,—not, ‘Have you caught fish?’ but, ‘Have you fish to eat?’ The term, however, was commonly used of fish. Here it seems to refer to provision of fish taken by them for eating when they started. It ought to be carefully noted also that, as is shown by the particular form of the question, it is the meal that is before the mind of Jesus: only when we see this do we gain the true point of view from which to contemplate the whole narrative. To the question of Jesus the disciples answer, ‘No.’ They thus acknowledge the fruitlessness of their labours, and their need of further light and guidance.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-21.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 21:5. ; The is not merely continuative, but indicates that what Jesus said was in some respect prompted by their ignorance of His identity. This is neglected by Lücke when he says that is not Johannine, and that is the regular term used by Jesus in addressing the disciples. Yes, when He openly addresses them; but here He uses the word any stranger might use, and the rendering “children” retained even in R.V[98] is wrong. It should be “lads”; being the common term of address to men at work, see Aristophanes, Clouds, 137, Frogs, 33; Euthymius, . Jesus appeared as an intending purchaser and cries, ; “Have you taken any fish?” (R.V[99]: “have ye anything to eat?” misapprehends both the words and the situation). , as its composition shows, means anything eaten as seasoning or “kitchen” to bread; being the Hellenistic word used instead of the Attic or . Athenaeus and Plutarch both tell us that fish was so commonly used in this way that came to mean “fish”. has its quasitechnical sense, “have ye caught?” For this sense, see Aristophanes, Clouds, 705 (723, 731), where Socrates asks Strepsiades under the blanket, ; on which the Scholiast remarks, , · , . So that the words of Jesus are: “Lads, have ye caught no fish?” , “ ”. “They answered Him, ‘No,’ ” without any or .

[98] Revised Version.

[99] Revised Version.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 21:5". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-21.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

===============================

[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Numquid pulmentarium habetis? Greek: me ti prosphagion.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 21:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-21.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Then = Therefore.

Children. Greek. paidion. App-108.

meat. Greek. prosphagion. Something to eat with (your bread), a relish. Occurs only here.

No. Greek. ou. App-105.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 21:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-21.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

Then Jesus saith unto them, Children. This term would not necessarily identify Him, being not unusual from any superior; but when they did recognize Him, they would feel it sweetly like Himself.

Have ye any meat? [ prosfagion (Greek #4371)] - 'any food?' meaning, Have ye caught anything?

They answered him, No. This was in His usual style making them tell their case and so be better prepared They answered him, No. This was in His usual style, making them tell their case, and so be better prepared for what was coming.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-21.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

5. Young men. PAIDIA. He deliberately speaks as any stranger would who wanted to buy fish from fishermen.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 21:5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-21.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) Children, have ye any meat?—The word rendered “Children” (or, as the margin has it, Sirs), is used in addressing others only by St. John among the New Testament writers (1 John 2:13; 1 John 2:18). It is not the word used in John 13:33, where we have an expression denoting His affectionate tenderness for the disciples, which would not have been appropriate here, for He does not at once reveal His identity to them. It is a word which, indeed, may express His love for them (comp. John 4:49), but which appears also to have been used as an address to workmen or inferiors, not unlike our own words “boys” or “lads.” They seem to take it in this sense, as though some traveller passing by asked the question because he wished to purchase some of their fish.

The word rendered “meat” occurs here only in the New Testament. It means anything eaten with bread, and was used as equivalent to the fish which was the ordinary relish. (Comp. Note on John 6:9.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 21:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-21.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
Children
or, Sirs.
1 John 2:13,18; *Gr:
have
Psalms 37:3; Luke 24:41-43; Philippians 4:11-13,19; Hebrews 13:5
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 19:6 - cake;  2 Kings 4:38 - Set on the great pot;  Proverbs 23:15 - My son;  Matthew 9:2 - Son;  Mark 8:7 - fishes;  Mark 10:24 - Children

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 21:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-21.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 5. "Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered Him, No."— τέκνα: thus does the Lord address the disciples in Mark 10:24. παιδία is distinguished from this here. τέκνα might be adults; παιδία, on the contrary, designates the age of childhood: comp. Luke 1:80, to τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανε, Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 14:20. παιδία is the term by which age addresses youth, authority those subordinate, and wisdom the ignorant and inexperienced: comp. 1 John 2:13; 1 John 2:18. Jesus here by the term παιδία assumes the position of καθηγητής, Matthew 23:8, which was appropriate to Him, especially in relation to the fishing of His Apostles. The diminutive form gives the expression a certain tenderness.

προσφάγιον, what was eaten with bread. Jesus condescends to the language of the fishermen who ordinarily ate only fish with bread: compare what was said upon ὀψάριον, ch. John 6:9. This last word could not be used here; for that in John always signifies the individual article of food eaten with the bread, the single fish: comp. ch. John 6:9, δύο ὀψάρια, ver. 11, and vers. 9, 10, 13 of the present chapter. But here the general idea of food eaten with the bread was meant. "Have ye any meat?" μὴ stands where a negative answer is presupposed or expected (Winer, 453). Jesus shows by the style of the question that He knew how the matter was, and indeed wished it otherwise. The οὔ of the disciples, confirming His supposition, is followed by an intimation of the way in which they might alter the state of things. That Jesus put the question for His own sake, that He would have fish for Himself, is shown by a comparison with Luke 24:41, and yet more definitely by ver. 10, where, after the state of things was changed, He caused the fish to be brought forward which the disciples had taken. As formerly He hungered for the fruit of the fig-tree, so now does He hunger for the fishes which the disciples might have taken, but had not; not for the natural fishes as such,—the risen Redeemer had no need of bodily food, and vers. 9, 12, 14 show that that would not have been wanting to Him,—but for the men whom the fishes signified: comp. ch. John 4:7, where our Lord says to the woman of Samaria, "Give Me to drink." Jesus would spiritually eat of the food which the disciples had provided, and they, on the other hand, should eat of His food.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 21:5". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-21.html.