Matthew 15:29-39

29 Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there.

30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.

31 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole,the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

32 Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”

33 Then His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?”

34 Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.”

35 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

36 And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. 

37 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left.

38 Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.

39 And He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of Magdala.

This is a separate occasion from that recorded in Matthew 14:13-21 — See Matthew 16:9-10.

Mark 7:31 states that Jesus traveled through Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee. Many Gentiles lived in this region, which has led many to the conclusion that the multitude was, largely or in part, Gentile. This may be, but the Bible doesn’t say one way or another. There were Jews living there too, so there’s not reason to conclude that Jesus’s ministry wasn’t to Jews. Some of my commentaries say that the disciples didn’t understand why Jesus would feed Gentiles, which explains their question (v.33) about where they would get the food. This part of their explanation makes no sense to me because 1) that wasn’t what they asked, and 2) if, in fact, Jesus had just spent three days healing Gentiles, I doubt they would have questioned why He would feed them.

His destination was further to the south, in the borders of Decapolis, the territory of the ten allied Greek free cities. This region lay to the east of the Jordan and extended possibly from Damascus on the north to the river Jabbok, which was the border of Perea to the south. The ten cities were occupied by heathen people, the Jews never having recovered them after the Babylonian captivity. The reception accorded to Jesus on arrival in this semi-pagan district seems to have been favorable. Christ apparently was avoiding the territory over which Herod Antipas ruled because the Jews were seeking Herod’s help in order to destroy Him. — Pentecost, page 245.

came (v.30) = a great rush, a hurrying

He healed them (v.30) — this went on for three days (v.32)

baskets (v.37) = hampers or market-baskets, much larger containers than those mentioned in Matthew 14:20

Magadan (v.39) — or Magdala, a small town outside Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee (where Mary Magdalene was from)

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