Matthew 15:32 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 15:32, NIV: "Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 'I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.'"

Matthew 15:32, ESV: "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.”"

Matthew 15:32, KJV: "Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way."

Matthew 15:32, NASB: "And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, 'I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.'"

Matthew 15:32, NLT: "Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, 'I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.'"

Matthew 15:32, CSB: "Jesus called his disciples and said, "I have compassion on the crowd, because they've already stayed with me three days and have nothing to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry, otherwise they might collapse on the way.""

What does Matthew 15:32 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The disciples have accompanied Jesus back into the territory of Israel, to the mostly Gentile region of the Decapolis. He has spent three days there preaching and healing people, showing even the Gentiles the power and compassion of God. This follows His conversation with a woman where He indicated that His main mission was to Israel, but that those who wanted what Israel rejected were welcome to it (Matthew 15:21–28).

Now Jesus turns to His disciples and says outright that He has compassion for the people. Whatever food they may have brought with them to this desolate place is now gone. The people, however, have apparently not wanted to leave so long as Jesus was willing to keep preaching and healing. The situation has worsened to the point where Jesus doesn't want to send them away, likely out of concern. He specifically mentions they faint on the road back to wherever they are from. The implication in Jesus' words is clear: Let's feed these people.

Given what happened not long ago, this makes the modern reader wonder if the disciples saw what was coming. This scenario is similar in several ways to the miraculous feeding in Bethsaida in Matthew 14:13–21. This is an entirely different event, however. If the disciples thought of that evening, they do not bring it up now.