671. Baskets

Matthew 14:20; Matthew 15:37; Matthew 16:9-10; Mark 6:43; Mark 8:8; Mark 8:19-20; Luke 9:17; John 6:13
The baskets now used in the East resemble very much those which are represented on the monuments of Egypt. They are often like our own in shape, material, and workmanship.
The baskets here referred to (κόφινοι) were probably the ordinary traveling baskets which the Jews took with them when on a journey. They carried their provisions in them, so that they might not be polluted by eating the food of the Gentiles; and it is also said that they sometimes carried hay in them, on which they slept at night. Thus they kept aloof from the Gentiles in food, and lodging. This will account for the contemptuous description which Juvenal gives of the Jews, when he represents that their household goods consisted of a basket and hay! In the corresponding miracle, where four thousand were fed, a different kind of basket was employed. See Matthew 15:3737And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. (Matthew 15:37); Mark 8:88So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. (Mark 8:8); and especially Matthew 16:9-109Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? (Matthew 16:9‑10); Mark 8:19-2019When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 20And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. (Mark 8:19‑20); where, in the original, two different terms are used. It is impossible, however, now to tell the precise difference between the two sorts of baskets mentioned.