The Meaning of Matthew 14:23 Explained

Matthew 14:23

KJV: And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

YLT: and having let away the multitudes, he went up to the mountain by himself to pray, and evening having come, he was there alone,

Darby: And having dismissed the crowds, he went up into the mountain apart to pray. And when even was come, he was alone there,

ASV: And after he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain apart to pray: and when even was come, he was there alone.

What does Matthew 14:23 Mean?

Context Summary

Matthew 14:22-36 - Help In The Hour Of Need
Jesus always comes in the storm. It had been a great relief to escape from the pressure of the crowd to His place of prayer, on heights swept by the evening breeze and lighted by the holy stars. But He tore Himself away because His friends needed Him. He is watching you also in the storm and will certainly come to your help.
He uses the element we dread as the path for His approach. The waves were endangering the boat, but Jesus walked on them. In our lives are people and circumstances we dread, but it is through these that the greatest blessing of our lives will come, if we look through them to Christ.
His coming is sometimes delayed. The gray dawn was already beginning to spread over the scene. The disciples' strength was spent. He was not too late to be of service, but just in time to save them from despair. Be of good cheer, and if Jesus bids you come to Him on the water, always believe that His commands are enabling. Keep looking to Him, not at the storm. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 14

1  Herod's opinion of Jesus
3  Wherefore John Baptist was beheaded
13  Jesus departs into a solitary place,
15  where he feeds five thousand men with five loves and two fishes
22  He walks on the sea to his disciples;
34  and landing at Gennesaret,
35  heals the sick who touch of the hem of his garment

Greek Commentary for Matthew 14:23

Into the mountain [εις το ορος]
After the dismissal of the crowd Jesus went up alone into the mountain on the eastern side of the lake to pray as he often did go to the mountains to pray. If ever he needed the Father‘s sympathy, it was now. The masses were wild with enthusiasm and the disciples wholly misunderstood him. The Father alone could offer help now. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 14:23

Matthew 14:15 When even was come [οπσιας γενομενης]
Genitive absolute. Not sunset about 6 p.m. as in Matthew 8:16 and as in Matthew 14:23, but the first of the two “evenings” beginning at 3 p.m. [source]
Mark 6:35 When the day was now far spent [ηδη ωρας πολλης γενομενης]
Genitive absolute. ωρα — Hōra used here for day-time (so Matthew 14:15) as in Polybius and late Greek. Much day-time already gone. Luke 9:12 has it began to incline (κλινειν — klinein) or wear away. It was after 3 p.m., the first evening. Note second evening or sunset in Mark 6:47; Matthew 14:23; John 6:16. The turn of the afternoon had come and sunset was approaching. The idiom is repeated at the close of the verse. See note on Matthew 14:15. [source]
Mark 6:45 While he himself sendeth the multitude away [εως αυτος απολυει τον οχλον]
Matthew 14:22 has it “till he should send away” (εως ου απολυσηι — heōs hou apolusēi) with the aorist subjunctive of purpose. Mark with the present indicative απολυει — apoluei pictures Jesus as personally engaged in persuading the crowds to go away now. John 6:41. explains this activity of Jesus. The crowds had become so excited that they were in the mood to start a revolution against the Roman government and proclaim Jesus king. He had already forced in reality the disciples to leave in a boat to go before him (προαγειν — proagein) in order to get them out of this atmosphere of overwrought excitement with a political twist to the whole conception of the Messianic Kingdom. They were in grave danger of being swept off their feet and falling heedlessly into the Pharisaic conception and so defeating the whole teaching and training of Jesus with them. See note on Matthew 14:22, Matthew 14:23. To this pass things had come one year before the Crucifixion. He had done his best to help and bless the crowds and lost his chance to rest. No one really understood Jesus, not the crowds, not the disciples. Jesus needed the Father to stay and steady him. The devil had come again to tempt him with world dominion in league with the Pharisees, the populace, and the devil in the background. [source]
Mark 6:45 to go before him [προαγειν]
(προαγειν — proagein) in order to get them out of this atmosphere of overwrought excitement with a political twist to the whole conception of the Messianic Kingdom. They were in grave danger of being swept off their feet and falling heedlessly into the Pharisaic conception and so defeating the whole teaching and training of Jesus with them. See note on Matthew 14:22, Matthew 14:23. To this pass things had come one year before the Crucifixion. He had done his best to help and bless the crowds and lost his chance to rest. No one really understood Jesus, not the crowds, not the disciples. Jesus needed the Father to stay and steady him. The devil had come again to tempt him with world dominion in league with the Pharisees, the populace, and the devil in the background. [source]
John 6:3 Into the mountain [εις το ορος]
From the level of the Jordan valley up into the high hill on the eastern side. Mark (Mark 6:46) and Matthew (Matthew 14:23) mention that after the miracle Jesus went further up into the mountain to pray. Sat Imperfect middle of κατημαι — kathēmai was sitting, a picture of repose. [source]
John 6:15 Perceiving [γνους]
Second aorist active participle of γινωσκω — ginōskō It was not hard for Christ to read the mind of this excited mob. They were about Present active indicative of μελλω — mellō Probably the leaders were already starting. Take him by force Present active infinitive of αρπαζω — harpazō old verb for violent seizing (Matthew 11:12; Matthew 13:19). There was a movement to start a revolution against Roman rule in Palestine by proclaiming Jesus King and driving away Pilate. To make him king Purpose clause with ινα — hina and the first aorist active subjunctive of ποιεω — poieō with βασιλεα — basilea as predicate accusative. It was a crisis that called for quick action. Himself alone At first he had the disciples with him (John 6:3). But he sent them hurriedly by boat to the western side (Mark 6:45.; Matthew 14:22.) because clearly the apostles were sympathetic with the revolutionary impulse of the crowd. Then Jesus sent the multitudes away also and went up into the mountain alone. He was alone in every sense, for no one but the Father understood him at this stage, not even his own disciples. He went up to pray (Mark 6:46; Matthew 14:23). [source]
John 8:29 Is with me [μετ εμου εστιν]
The Incarnation brought separation from the Father in one sense, but in essence there is complete harmony and fellowship as he had already said (John 8:16) and will expand in John 17:21-26. He hath not left me alone First aorist active indicative of απιημι — aphiēmi “He did not leave me alone.” However much the crowds and the disciples misunderstood or left Jesus, the Father always comforted and understood him (Mark 6:46; Matthew 14:23; John 6:15). That are pleasing to him This old verbal adjective, from αρεσκω — areskō to please, in N.T. only here, Acts 6:4; Acts 12:3; 1 John 3:22. The joy of Jesus was in doing the will of the Father who sent him (John 4:34). [source]
Acts 20:13 To take in Paul [αναλαμβανειν τον Παυλον]
So in Acts 20:14. Same use in 2 Timothy 4:11: “Picking up Mark” Assos was a seaport south of Troas in Mysia in the province of Asia. He had appointed (διατεταγμενος ην — diatetagmenos ēn). Past perfect periphrastic middle of διατασσω — diatassō old verb to give orders (military in particular). To go by land Present active infinitive of πεζευω — pezeuō old verb to go on foot, not on horse back or in a carriage or by ship. Here only in the N.T. It was about twenty miles over a paved Roman road, much shorter (less than half) than the sea voyage around Cape Lectum. It was a beautiful walk in the spring-time and no doubt Paul enjoyed it whatever his reason was for going thus to Assos while the rest went by sea. Certainly he was entitled to a little time alone, this one day, as Jesus sought the Father in the night watches (Matthew 14:23). [source]
Acts 20:13 To go by land [πεζευειν]
Present active infinitive of πεζευω — pezeuō old verb to go on foot, not on horse back or in a carriage or by ship. Here only in the N.T. It was about twenty miles over a paved Roman road, much shorter (less than half) than the sea voyage around Cape Lectum. It was a beautiful walk in the spring-time and no doubt Paul enjoyed it whatever his reason was for going thus to Assos while the rest went by sea. Certainly he was entitled to a little time alone, this one day, as Jesus sought the Father in the night watches (Matthew 14:23). [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 14:23 mean?

And having dismissed the crowds He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray Evening now having arrived alone He was there
καὶ ἀπολύσας τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος κατ’ ἰδίαν προσεύξασθαι ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης μόνος ἦν ἐκεῖ

ἀπολύσας  having  dismissed 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀπολύω  
Sense: to set free.
ὄχλους  crowds 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: ὄχλος  
Sense: a crowd.
ἀνέβη  He  went  up 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἀναβαίνω  
Sense: ascend.
ὄρος  mountain 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: ὄρος  
Sense: a mountain.
ἰδίαν  Himself 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ἴδιος  
Sense: pertaining to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self.
προσεύξασθαι  to  pray 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Middle
Root: προσεύχομαι  
Sense: to offer prayers, to pray.
ὀψίας  Evening 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: ὀψία 
Sense: late.
δὲ  now 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
γενομένης  having  arrived 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Middle, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: γίνομαι  
Sense: to become, i.
μόνος  alone 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: μόνος  
Sense: alone (without a companion), forsaken, destitute of help, alone, only, merely.
ἦν  He  was 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.