Mark follows the bloody birthday banquet of Herod Antipas with a feast created by Jesus out of compassion.
We are told that Jesus looked at the crowd he fed “as sheep not having a shepherd” (Mark 6:34). In the Old Testament the shepherd imagery is often used of kings.
In Herod Israel had a rapacious king who in drunken banquets lusted after his step-daughter and ordered righteous prophets to be beheaded. But Jesus is the good shepherd king who has compassion on his people by feeding them with food that satisfies.