Feeding The Four Thousand

“Politically, 1974 was marked by the increasing cohesion and power of the Arab world, a surging strength fueled by the largest transfer of wealth in history. In all this, the shrewd and dedicated king Faisal of Saudi Arabia played a key role.” It was concluded that the … More


We are not to get this miracle of feeding the Four Thousand confused with the feeding of the Five Thousand. Jesus leaves Tyre and Sidon and goes up into the hill country, on the southeast shore of  the Sea  of Galilee (v. 29). This seems to have been Gentile country in the region of the Decapolis. Decapolis included 10 cities that were a league that was authorized by the Romans to mint their own coins, run their own courts, and have their own army. When the people learned that He was there, great crowds came to Him and brought the sick, the lame, the blind, the dumb, and the crippled. Jesus healed them. (vv 30-31).

This ministry lasted for approximately three days (v. 32). After this length of time the people had  used up their supply of food and Jesus did not want to send them away hungry for fear they would faint along the way. So we find Him performing the miracle of feeding the 4,000 (vv. 33-39). The following shows some of the differences between this event and the previous feeding of the 5,000:

FEEDING THE 5,000                      FEEDING THE 4,000

Primary Jews                                   Primary Gentiles

At Galilee                                        In hill country

5 loaves 2 fishes                             7 loaves, “a few fish”

12 baskets over                              7 baskets over

Crowd there 1 day                           Crowd there 3 days 

Tried to make king                           No popular response



The disciples seemed to be as perplexed about where they were going to get the food to feed the 4,000 as they had been for the 5,000 when they should have known that the Lord would provide.  Are there times when I am worried about things when I should just trust the Lord?

Matthew 15:29-39 (English Standard Version)

Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way." And the disciples said to him, "Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?" And Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven, and a few small fish." And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »