555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

286. What Kind of Baskets Were Used in the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes?

The Gospel accounts say: "They took up what remained over of the broken pieces twelve baskets full" (Matt 14*20). "They took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets" (Mark 8:8). There have been some differences among scholars as to the translation of the word (in the original) denoting "baskets." In describing the earlier miracle, that of the feeding of five thousand, a word is used which indicates large fishing baskets made of rope, while in the narrative of the later miracle, there is used a term which translated means smaller hand-baskets. It might well be asked how could the apostles have carried around with them seven large fishing baskets? A comparison between the two accounts will clear up a seeming difficulty. Many Jews carried small hand-baskets in which they kept their food supplies free from pollution. Each apostle may have carried such a small hand-basket and in the party of apostles there may have been one who carried a large fishing basket. This large fishing basket was filled seven times and again twelve times, for the phraseology used seems to indicate that, whereas in the one instance each apostle filled his small hand-basket with broken pieces, in the other the one large fishing basket was filled seven times.