Mark 8:20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets

Greek : 

KJV : 

Mark 8:20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse copies much of the vocabulary of the previous verse, Mark 8:19, but it is interesting that the words used for "baskets" and "full" changes here from the last verse. In both cases, Jesus chooses more extreme words. This basket is a larger type of basket. This full is not just an adjective but a noun describing the essence of fullness.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὅτε (adv/conj) "Then" is hote, which means "when", "as when", "at the time when," and "sometimes."

τοὺς (article pl masc acc ) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἑπτὰ (numeral) "Seven" is from hepta which means the number seven, which was considered a mystical number.

εἰς (prep) "Among" is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

τοὺς (article pl masc acc ) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

τετρακισχιλίων (adj pl masc gen) "Of the four thousand" is from tetrakischilioi, meaning "four thousand."

πόσων (adj pl fem gen) "How many" is from posos, which means "of what quantity," [in distance] "how far." [of number] how far," [of time] "how long," [of value] "how much", "how great", "how many," and "how much."

σφυρίδας ( noun pl fem gen ) "Baskets" is from spyris, which is specifically a large basket, like a creel, woven out of reeds.

πληρώματα  ( noun pl neut acc ) "Full" is pleroma, which means "that which fills", "fullness", "reserves", "mass", "complex", "filling up", "completing," and "fulfillment."

κλασμάτων [uncommon]( noun pl neut gen) "Of fragments" is klasma, which means "fragment" and "morsel."

 ἤρατε ( verb 2nd pl aor ind act ) "Took ye up" is airo, which means "to lift up", "to raise", "to raise up", "to exalt", "to lift and take away," and "to remove." In some forms, it is apaomai, which means to "pray to," or "pray for."

KJV Analysis: 

And -- There is no Greek word for this word in the sources we use today.

when --  "When" is an adverb that means "when", "as when", "at the time when," and "sometimes."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

seven -- This is the numeral seven.

among -- The word translated as "among" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure. However, it also means "for a purpose," which is clearly the sense here.

untranslated -- The untranslated word translated is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

four thousand, -- "Four thousand" is an adjective that means "five thousand."

how many -- The adjective translated as "how many"  means "of what quantity," [in distance] "how far." [of number] how far," [of time] "how long," [of value] "how much", "how great", "how many," and "how much."

baskets -- "Baskets" is from a Greek noun for a large basket, like a creel, woven out of reeds. We might think of this as a bushel basket.

full -- "Full" is a noun that captures various ideas of filling and completing, but here, we might simply say "the filler.

of -- This comes from the form of the following noun.  The form of this word requires that addition of extra words in English to capture its meaning.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

fragments -- "Fragments" is a word that means "fragment" and "morsel." It is the noun form of the verb used above that means "break into pieces."

took...up -- "Took" is one of Jesus's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up", "elevate", "to bear", "to carry off", "to take and apply to any use," and "to cause to cease." Jesus uses this verb to refer to what will happen to "the son of man," which can apply either to his being raised from the dead or lifted up on the cross.

ye -- This comes from the second-person, plural form of the verb not the use of a pronoun.

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Though the number of loaves was more initially and number of baskets fewer afterward from a smaller crowd, Jesus is emphasizing that there is really no connection between the amount or number of loaves and the miracle involved. Jesus often repeats lines both. He does this for emphasis, and also to stress the key points involved to make sure that his listeners are not confused by the details. In Greek, there are often, as in this verse, changes in vocabulary that are lost in translation.

Here, the issue is not the number of people or initial number of loaves or final number baskets, so those change from the previous verse to this one. The point is that the creation of actual bread is not the issue. The issue is the symbolic nature of bread as the fruit of our knowledge. It is the idea of bread as knowledge and the idea of leaven as the spirit within that knowledge that matters. It is not the physical nature of bread that can be counted that matters.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 23 2019