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Mark 8:2

ESV “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.
NIV I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.
NASB I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me for three days already and have nothing to eat.
CSB "I have compassion on the crowd, because they've already stayed with me three days and have nothing to eat.
NLT I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat.
KJV I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:

What does Mark 8:2 mean?

Jesus has been mobbed by crowds many times (Mark 2:4, 13; 3:7–9, 20; 4:1; 5:21), usually in or near a city. This situation is similar to the crowd of five thousand men plus women and children who followed Him to a plain outside of Bethsaida (Mark 6:30–44). Still, there are several differences.

The five thousand-plus fed in another account consisted of Jews mainly from around Capernaum and perhaps Bethsaida who had followed Jesus and the disciples that day and received healing and teaching until evening. Here in Decapolis, the crowd is probably a good mix of Jews and Gentiles who have been with Jesus three days (Mark 8:2). In the previous situation, the Twelve had asked Jesus to tell the people to go find food. Here, Jesus tells the disciples to find food. In Mark 6, the disciples had been concerned about hungry Jews after only one day. Now, Jesus has to remind them after three days that the Gentiles need food or they may faint on their way home (Mark 8:3).

"Compassion" is from the Greek root word splagchnizomai. It means to be moved in one's inner self with love and pity. Jesus' concern knows no ethnic boundaries. He has come for Jews first, but not Jews only. The disciples have been raised in a culture that is so afraid of worshiping foreign idols or associating with unclean people that they have somewhat vilified Gentiles. They have forgotten that God always intended to save Gentiles through the Jews. It will take a long time for them to accept Gentiles into their church. That cultural callous, or perhaps a sense of tiredness and burn-out, might be part of why the Twelve are somewhat cold in their attitude towards the people.
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