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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Fragments

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FRAGMENTS (κλάσματα, pieces broken for distribution; cf. κλασμάτων ἄρτων of LXX Septuagint Ezekiel 13:19).—All the Synoptists record that, when the miraculous feeding of the multitude ended, the broken pieces remaining over from the meal were gathered up and deposited in twelve baskets (Matthew 14:20, Mark 6:43, Luke 9:17). St. John adds that this was done in obedience to Christ’s command, addressed to the disciples, by whom apparently the work was performed (John 6:12). The surplus thus collected far exceeded the amount of the original stock, and bore witness to the abundance of the meal partaken of. The carefulness shown in collecting the remnants of food was intended to avoid any appearance of waste, and served to correct any tendency to undervalue what had come to the recipients so cheaply. The miracle was one of the very exceptional cases in which Christ provided for men’s ordinary wants, was wrought only in view of the urgent necessity that had arisen (Matthew 14:15), and, while it raised expectations of similar benefits in the future (John 6:26), was not designed to produce this result. The storing of the fragments for future use would tend to indicate that such miracles were not to be everyday occurrences. As in all Christ’s miracles, there is strict economy of supernatural resources, which are resorted to only when natural resources fail.

W. S. Montgomery.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Fragments'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/f/fragments.html. 1906-1918.

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