What does Mark 8:9 mean?
ESV: And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away.
NIV: About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away,
NASB: About four thousand men were there; and He dismissed them.
CSB: About four thousand were there. He dismissed them.
NLT: There were about 4,000 men in the crowd that day, and Jesus sent them home after they had eaten.
KJV: And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.
NKJV: Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away,
Verse Commentary:
Mark says, "about four thousand people" while Matthew 15:38 says, "Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children." Since they are in the wilderness in the region known as the Decapolis (Mark 7:31), on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, scholars presume that the crowd is a mix of Jews and Gentiles.

The people have been there for three days, receiving healing and giving God glory (Matthew 15:29–31). This is not the first time Jesus has dismissed such a crowd, but the circumstances are very different.

After Jesus fed the five thousand-plus outside of Bethsaida, He immediately made the Twelve return to the boat and make their way home (Mark 6:45). He then dealt with the crowd on His own. The mostly-Jewish crowd had realized that He was the prophet promised by the Old Testament, and they had resolved to make Him king (John 6:14–15). Jesus apparently didn't want the Twelve infected with their nationalistic fervor. Soon, Peter will affirm that Jesus is the Christ (Mark 8:29), but, like with the demons (Mark 1:34), Jesus will forbid him from spreading the news (Mark 8:30). It's not that Peter is wrong, it's that he doesn't understand what Jesus as the Messiah has come to do. In practically the next breath, Peter will rebuke Jesus, denying that the King of the Jews must be rejected by the Sanhedrin and killed (Mark 8:31–32). It is not until after the resurrection that Jesus commands the disciples to spread the news of who Jesus is (Matthew 28:16–20).

In this case, however, in a mixed crowd of Jews and Gentiles, there appears to be no danger of rebellion against the Roman Empire. Bellies filled, illness and injuries healed, Jesus merely sends the crowd home.
Verse Context:
Mark 8:1–10 is the third of a series of stories about bread and the proper place of ceremonial cleanness. In Mark 7:1–5, the Pharisees condemn Jesus' disciples for eating bread with unclean hands. In Mark 7:24–30, a Syrophoenician woman boldly requests the metaphoric ''crumbs'' of God's provision. Here, Jesus feeds bread to a great crowd of Gentiles and Jews. Later, He will equate the insidious false teachings of the Pharisees with leaven (Mark 8:14–21). This account is also found in Matthew 15:32–39.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter describes another miraculous feeding of thousands by Jesus. He also counters the hard-hearted and selfish hypocrisy of the Pharisees in seeking even more miraculous signs. Speaking to the disciples, Jesus rebukes their short memories and reminds them about God's intent to provide for His followers. After healing a blind man, Jesus accepts Peter's proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah. Almost immediately, though, Jesus rebukes Peter for resisting the idea that the Messiah must suffer and die.
Chapter Context:
Mark 8 continues Jesus' attempts to teach the disciples God's plan for the Messiah. Jesus has not come for the religious Pharisees but for the meek who willingly respond to Him. He has not yet come as the glorious and victorious champion of Israel, but to die for the whole world. And His followers must also be willing to sacrifice their lives. The chapter marks a turning point in Jesus' ministry as His miracles grow fewer and His teaching increases. Interestingly, Jesus also faces a repeat of the temptations He experienced in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11).
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 7/15/2024 2:08:24 AM
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