Bill Mounce: The KJV’s use of “desert places” is unfortunate. I suspect that for most of us “desert” evokes images of the Mohave or Sahara desert. As desolate as rural Palestine was in the first century, it certainly was not filled with sand dunes. The NKJV’s adjustment to “country” is better, but as I say above it is not best. All this illustrates the challenges of finding just the right word when translating.