Matthew 15:38 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 15:38, NIV: "The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children."

Matthew 15:38, ESV: "Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children."

Matthew 15:38, KJV: "And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children."

Matthew 15:38, NASB: "And those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children."

Matthew 15:38, NLT: "There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children."

Matthew 15:38, CSB: "Now there were four thousand men who had eaten, besides women and children."

What does Matthew 15:38 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Matthew again saves this detail for the end of the story. Jesus did not miraculously feed a roomful of people from seven loaves and a few fish. He fed four thousand men, in addition to any women and children present. That could have added up to ten or twelve thousand people, or more. The difference in this count of the crowd from the previous miracle feeding (Matthew 14:13–21) is more evidence that these are two different events in the ministry of Jesus.

Another difference in this one: The crowd likely held mostly Gentiles, given the location on the southeast side of the Sea of Galilee. First Jesus healed and then He fed this group, perhaps showing that God's future kingdom will include both Jews and Gentiles, that God has compassion for both Jews and Gentiles. This is true even though Jesus' primary mission on earth, before the crucifixion, was to serve the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). In fact, His encounter with the Canaanite woman might have been to send this very message to the disciples, preparing them to accept the Gentile world in their future ministry (Matthew 15:24–28).

It is the work of God to feed His people. Jesus' miraculous feeding of hungry people pointed once more to the reality that He is the Messiah (Matthew 11:2–6).