The Meaning of John 6:9 Explained

John 6:9

KJV: There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

YLT: There is one little lad here who hath five barley loaves, and two fishes, but these -- what are they to so many?'

Darby: There is a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two small fishes; but this, what is it for so many?

ASV: There is a lad here, who hath five barley loaves, and two fishes: but what are these among so many?

What does John 6:9 Mean?

Context Summary

John 6:1-14 - The Multitude Satisfied With Food
In this chapter we have a further illustration of John's method in selecting for his purpose the miracles which became the texts of our Lord's discourses. These multitudes had evidently gathered on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover; and the imminence of that great festival, when the worshipers not only sacrificed but partook of the slain lamb, gave point to much that our Lord said after this memorable feeding of the multitude.
Christ often tests us to see what we shall say and do in the presence of overwhelming difficulty, but He always knows the way out. We at once begin to calculate our paltry resources, and to confess their inadequacy. We come back to explain that when we have done our utmost, we can provide very little. Then He steps in, determined that everyone shall be filled, with an ample supply left over. He makes His guests sit down in comfort on the grass, because there is plenty of time, as well as an abundance of food, for a happy and comfortable meal. We must bring Him what we have, however slender; must enter into His great plan and arrange the people for the banquet; must distribute the food and gather up the broken pieces. The world is to be fed by the cooperation of Christ and His Church. [source]

Chapter Summary: John 6

1  Jesus feeds five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes
15  Thereupon the people would have made him king;
16  but withdrawing himself, he walks on the sea to his disciples;
26  reproves the people flocking after him, and all the fleshly hearers of his word;
32  declares himself to be the bread of life to believers
66  Many disciples depart from him
68  Peter confesses him
70  Judas is a devil

Greek Commentary for John 6:9

A lad here [παιδαριον ωδε]
Old word, diminutive of παις — pais here only in N.T., not genuine in Matthew 11:16. How he came to have this small supply we do not know. Barley Adjective, here and John 6:13 only in N.T., in the papyri, from κριτη — krithē barley (Revelation 6:6). Considered an inferior sort of bread. Fishes Late diminutive of οπσον — opson common in papyri and inscriptions for delicacies with bread like fish. In N.T. only here, John 6:11; John 21:9-13. Synoptics have ιχτυας — ichthuas f0). [source]
A lad [παιδάριον]
Diminutive. Only here in the New Testament. Only John mentions the lad. [source]
Barley [κριθίνους]
A detail peculiar to John. The word occurs in the New Testament only here and John 6:13. An inferior sort of bread is indicated by the term. Pliny and some of the Jewish writers describe barley as food fit for beasts. Suetonius speaks of a turgid rhetorician as a barley orator, inflated like barley in moisture: and Livy relates how cohorts which had lost their standards were ordered barley for food. [source]
Fishes [ὀψάρια]
The word occurs only here and at John 21:9. The Synoptists use ἰχθυές . The A.V., small fishes, is intended to render the diminutive. The word means anything that is eaten with bread, and may apply to meat generally, or to what is eaten with bread as a relish. Homer speaks of an onion as a relish ( ὄψον ) for drink (“Iliad,” 11,630). The term was applied to fish par excellence. Fish became among the Greeks a chief dainty to gourmands, so that Demosthenes describes a glutton and spendthrift as one who is extravagant in fish. [source]
But what are they among so many? []
Peculiar to John, though the idea is implied in Luke 9:13. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for John 6:9

Matthew 14:20 Broken pieces [των κλασματων]
Not the scraps upon the ground, but the pieces broken by Jesus and still in the “twelve baskets” One hopes that the boy (John 6:9) who had the five loaves and two fishes to start with got one of the basketsful, if not all of them. Each of the Gospels uses the same word here for baskets In the feeding of the Four Thousand (Matthew and Mark) the word σπυρις — sphuris is used which was a sort of hamper or large provisions basket. [source]
John 21:9 Fish [ὀψάριον]
See on John 6:9. [source]
John 21:5 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. [source]
John 21:11 Great fishes []
All authorities agree as to the abundance of fish in the Lake of Galilee. M. Lortet, cited by Dr. Thomson, says that two castings of the net usually filled his boat. Bethsaida (there were two places of that name on the lake) means House of the Fisheries. The fame of the lake in this particular reached back to very early times; so that, according to the Rabbinical legend, one of the ten fundamental laws laid down by Joshua on the division of the country was, that any one might fish with a hook in the Lake of Galilee, so that they did not interfere with the free passage of boats. The Talmud names certain kinds of fish which might be eaten without being cooked, and designates them as small fishes. So ὀψάρια is rendered in John 6:9. Possibly the expression great fishes may imply a contrast with the small fishes which swarmed in the lake, and the salting and pickling of which was a special industry among its fishermen. [source]
John 21:9 Got out [απεβησαν]
As in Luke 5:2. They see Vivid historical present. A fire of coals See John 18:18 for this word. Cf. our “anthracite.” There Lying as placed, present middle participle of κειμαι — keimai Fish As in John 6:9, John 6:11, like προσπαγιον — prosphagion above. Laid thereon So broiling with bread ready (toast). [source]
John 6:11 The loaves [τους αρτους]
Those of John 6:9. Having given thanks The usual grace before meals (Deuteronomy 8:10). The Synoptics use “blessed” ευλογησεν — eulogēsen (Mark 6:41; Matthew 14:19; Luke 9:16). He distributed First aorist active indicative of διαδιδωμι — diadidōmi old verb to give to several To them that were set down Present middle participle (dative case) of ανακειμαι — anakeimai old verb to recline like αναπεσειν — anapesein in John 6:10. As much as they would Imperfect active of τελω — thelō “as much as they wished.” [source]
1 John 4:16 We know [εγνωκαμεν]
Perfect active indicative, “we have come to know and still know” as in John 6:9, only there order is changed Confession Believers are the sphere See John 13:35 for “having love.” [source]

What do the individual words in John 6:9 mean?

Is a little boy here who has five loaves barley and two small fish but these what are for so many
Ἔστιν παιδάριον ὧδε ὃς ἔχει πέντε ἄρτους κριθίνους καὶ δύο ὀψάρια ἀλλὰ ταῦτα τί ἐστιν εἰς τοσούτους

παιδάριον  a  little  boy 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: παιδάριον  
Sense: little boy, a lad.
ὧδε  here 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ὧδε  
Sense: here, to this place, etc.
πέντε  five 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: πέντε  
Sense: five.
ἄρτους  loaves 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: ἄρτος  
Sense: food composed of flour mixed with water and baked.
κριθίνους  barley 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: κρίθινος  
Sense: of barley, made of barley.
δύο  two 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: δύο 
Sense: the two, the twain.
ὀψάρια  small  fish 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: ὀψάριον  
Sense: fish.
ταῦτα  these 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
τοσούτους  so  many 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: τοσοῦτος  
Sense: of quantity: so great, so many.