See this narrative explained in the notes at Matthew 14:13-21.
By ship - By a boat or a small vessel.
Privately - Without making their plan known. They intended to go privately. It appears, however, that their intention became known, and multitudes followed them.
Afoot thither - On foot to the place where they saw them going.
Out of all cities - All cities or large towns in the neighborhood.
Much people as sheep - They had no one to teach them and guide them. The priests and scribes were proud and corrupt; they despised the common people and neglected them.
The time is far passed - The day is almost gone. It is drawing near night.
Two hundred pennyworth of bread - About twenty-eight dollars, or 6 British pounds. See the notes at Matthew 14:16. As the disciples had a common purse in which they carried their little property, consisting of the donations of their friends and money to be given to the poor (compare John 12:6; Matthew 26:8-9; Luke 8:3), it is not improbable that they had at this time about this sum in their possession. Philip - for it was he who asked the question John 6:7 - asked, with a mixture of wonder and agitation, whether they should take all their little property and spend it on a single meal? And even if we should, said he, it would not be sufficient to satisfy such a multitude. It was implied in this that, in his view, they could not provide for them if they wished to, and that it would be better to send them away than to attempt it.
In ranks - Literally, in the form of square beds in a garden. By regularly formed companies.
By hundreds and by fifties - Some companies had a hundred in them, and some groupings had fifty in them. We do not need to suppose that these were “exactly” formed or arranged, but that this was approximately the number. The expression indicates a “multitude.” There were so many that they sat down, by “hundreds” and by “fifties,” in separate companies, upon the green grass.
twelve baskets - Baskets belonging to the disciples, in which they carried their provisions, or, perhaps, belonging to some of the multitude.
Fragments - Broken pieces of the bread that remained.
The church headquarters was moved away from Battle Creek with its attendant problems and, in the providence of God, established in Washington, D.C. The publishing house was reestablished in the capital of the nation, and the leaders resolved that the time of the employees and equipment should be devoted 100 percent to the publication of the message of the church. The sanitarium was rebuilt in Battle Creek, but unfortunately its great interests were soon wrested from the church. Battle Creek ceased to be the denominational center, as the world headquarters was transferred to Takoma Park. TM xxxiv.1
The closing section of this volume is drawn essentially from communications written in 1907 and 1914. Ellen White had occasion to review “vital principles of relationship,” particularly in the article “Jehovah Is Our King,” a message she read at the Southern California camp meeting in August, 1907; and the article, “Individual Responsibility and Christian Unity,” read by her at the 1907 session of the California Conference held in January. These articles recapitulate the points comprising the main themes of the volume. These counsels, restated, reminded all that to lose sight of these principles would imperil the church. TM xxxiv.2Read in context »
On returning from their missionary tour, “the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” DA 359.1Read in context »
It was just after the return from their first missionary tour that Jesus bade His disciples, Come apart, and rest awhile. The disciples had returned, filled with the joy of their success as heralds of the gospel, when the tidings reached them of the death of John the Baptist at the hand of Herod. It was a bitter sorrow and disappointment. Jesus knew that in leaving the Baptist to die in prison He had severely tested the disciples’ faith. With pitying tenderness He looked upon their sorrowful, tear-stained faces. Tears were in His own eyes and voice as He said, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31. MH 56.1
Near Bethsaida, at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee, was a lonely region, beautiful with the fresh green of spring, that offered a welcome retreat to Jesus and His disciples. For this place they set out, going in their boat across the lake. Here they could rest, apart from the confusion of the multitude. Here the disciples could listen to the words of Christ, undisturbed by the retorts and accusations of the Pharisees. Here they hoped to enjoy a short season of fellowship in the society of their Lord. MH 56.2
Only a short time did Jesus have alone with His beloved ones, but how precious to them were those few moments. They talked together regarding the work of the gospel and the possibility of making their labor more effective in reaching the people. As Jesus opened to them the treasures of truth, they were vitalized by divine power and inspired with hope and courage. MH 56.3Read in context »