When even was come (opsia genomenh). Genitive absolute. Not sunset about 6 P.M. as in Matthew 8:16 and as in Matthew 14:23 , but the first of the two "evenings" beginning at 3 P.M. The place is desert (erhmo estin o topo). Not a desolate region, simply lonely, comparatively uninhabited with no large towns near. There were "villages" (kwma) where the people could buy food, but they would need time to go to them. Probably this is the idea of the disciples when they add: The time is already past (h wra hdh parhlqen). They must hurry.