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Matthew 15:29-39 NKJV

29 Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. 31 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

32 Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”

33 Then His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?”

34 Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”

And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.”

35 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 36 And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. 37 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left. 38 Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 And He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of Magdala.

Also, Mark 8:1-9. Verses 9 and 10 say:

9 There were about 4000 men who ate. After they ate, Jesus told them to go home. 10 Then he went in a boat with his followers to the area of Dalmanutha.

It seems like Jesus skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain.

He then went to the area of Dalmanutha, concluding with him leaving by boat.

Do we know where the feeding of the 4000 actually took place?

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Preliminary point: Some suggest that the feeding of the 5000 and the 4000 are the same incident. However, it is clear from Matthew and Mark's account that the two are distinct incidents for the following reasons:

  • both are recorded within two chapters; 5000 in Matt 14 and 4000 in Matt 15
  • Jesus teaches an important lesson based on the comparison and contrast between these two incidents (and how much He started with and was left over) in Matt 16:5-12.

Location

Both incidents of mass feeding occurred close to the Sea of Galilee. The precise location for each is not recorded except to suggest that both had a lot of grass and was on a mountain slope; both were fairly isolated. The western side of the Sea of Galilee is relatively flat, but the eastern side is quite hilly.

The closest we get to the location is for the 4000 is the significant preposition, "para" in the phrase, "Jesus went along the sea of Galilee". The construction suggests that Jesus traveled around the shoreline of the coast of the sea because "para" means "beside" or "alongside".

Just before, Jesus is recorded as being in the region of Tyre and Sidon, Matt 16:21, which is north-west of the sea of Galilee. In V29, Jesus departed from there and travelled "para" to the sea of Galilee, suggesting he arrived at the sea in (say) Capernaum or Bethsaida and then travelled further around the lake in a clockwise direction to find an isolated place on a mountainside.

The conclusion that Jesus was somewhere near the eastern shore of Galilee (on the mountainside) is confirmed by the fact that after feeding the 4000, He got into a boat and travelled (Matt 15:39) to the western shore to arrive at Magdala/Magadan.

More than this we cannot say.

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  • Even saying this much is going farther than I would like to go, as I am among those who am not convinced that the feeding of the 5k was a historically distinct event from the feeding of the 4k! To paraphrase: "We are told, but I do not know." Commented May 14 at 23:47
  • I see. As for Magdala/Magadan. I couldn't find an image with the location on a map. Where would that be near?
    – Jason_
    Commented May 14 at 23:49
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    @Jason_ See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdala - just north of Tiberias.
    – Henry
    Commented May 15 at 12:20
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    Yes, agreed. Well stated. Up-voted +1. To say that the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand is the same event is, to my mind, a negative assessment of the faithful reporting of the evangelists.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 15 at 13:49
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Mark reports a location missing in Matthew. Following Jesus's healing of the Canaanite woman's child, Mark 7:31 reports that Jesus departed from the vicinity of Tyre, passed through Sidon, proceeded down to the the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.

enter image description here

As depicted on the map, Jesus departed from the vicinity of Tyre, travelled north to Sidon, then retraced southward to the Sea of Galilee, entering the region of the Decapolis, highlighted in yellow. The term "Decapolis" originates from Greek, meaning "Ten Cities", signifying a cluster of Gentile, Hellenistic urban centers. Among these, Hippos is the only major city along the coast of the Sea of Galilee. While there is no concrete evidence that the feeding of four thousands happened here, considering the size of the crowd, it is plausible that the event occurred in proximity to Hippos.

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  • Thank you. Maps are always good visual aids. Now I'm wondering where Magdala/Magadan is.
    – Jason_
    Commented May 14 at 23:50
  • This is another question. But you may try in biblewalks.com if you satisfied the information. biblewalks.com/Magdala Commented May 15 at 1:08

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