Many are familiar with the account of Jesus feeding over 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. He also feed about 4000 people with seven loaves and a few small fish. But did you know that the Tanakh (Old Testament) records similar miracles? God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will provide.
THE FEEDING OF FIVE THOUSAND
He saith unto them [His disciples], How many loaves have ye? go and see. and when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks by hundreds, and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men” (Mark 6: 38-44, KJV). *See ALSO Matthew 14: 13-21, Luke 9: 12-17, John 6: 5-13.
THE FEEDING OF FOUR THOUSAND
In those days again, when there was a great multitude and they had nothing to eat, He called His disciples and said to them, “I feel compassion for the multitude because they have remained with Me now three days, and have nothing to eat; and if I send them away hungry to their home, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a distance.” And His disciples answered Him, “Where will anyone be able to find enough to satisfy these men with bread here in a desolate place?” And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” And He directed the multitude to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the multitude. They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. And about four thousand were there; and He sent them away (Mark 8: 1-9, KJV). See ALSO Matthew 15: 32-38.
THE FEEDING OF ONE HUNDRED MEN
And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God [Elisha] bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.
And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat; for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.
So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD (II Kings 4: 42-44, KJV)
THE WIDOW’S OIL
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a little oil.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left” (2 Kings 4: 1-7, NIV).
THE WIDOW AT ZAREPHATH
Then the word of the LORD came to him [Elijah]: “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
“As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread–only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it–and die.”
Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.’ “
She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah (1 Kings 17: 8-17, NIV).
*Matthew adds that besides 5000 men, women and children were fed; so the number of people fed that day was over 5000.