5:1 And they came to the other side of the sea1, into the country of the Gerasenes2. JESUS HEALS TWO GERGESENE DEMONIACS. (Gergesa, now called Khersa). Matthew 8:28-34; Matthew 9:1; Mark 5:1-21; Luke 8:26-40
And they came to the other side of the sea. They left in the
"even", afternoon and were driven forward by the storm, they would
have reached the far shore several hours before dark.
Into the country of the Gerasenes. Midway between the north and
south ends of the lake, and directly east across the lake from Magdala, was
the little city of Gergesa. In front and somewhat to the south of this city
Jesus landed. Some sixteen miles away and to the southeast, and seven miles
back from the lake, was the well-known city of Gadara. Further on to the
southeast, on the borders of Arabia, and at least fifty miles from Gergesa,
was the city of Gerasa. The name Gerasenes is, therefore, probably an error
of the transcribers for Gergesenes, as Origen suggested. The region is
properly called "country of the Gadarenes", as in the Authorized
Version, for Gadara was an important city, and the stamp of a ship on its
coins suggests that its territory extended to the Lake of Galilee.
5:2 And when he was come out of the boat,
straightway there met him out of the tombs1
a man with an unclean spirit2,
There met him out of the tombs. The sides of the mountain near the
ruins of Gergesa are studded with natural and artificial caves which were
used as tombs.
A man with an unclean spirit. Matthew tells of two, Matthew
8:28, while Mark and Luke describe only one, Luke
8:27. They tell of the principal one--the one who was the fiercer. In
order to tell of two, Matthew had to omit the name "legion", which
belonged to one; and conversely, Mark and Luke, to give the conversation
with one, did not confuse us by telling of two. On unclean spirits, see Mark
5:5 And always,
night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting
himself with stones1.
And always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was
crying out, and cutting himself with stones. The natural spirit of the
man seeking to throw off the dominion of the demons would cry out in agony,
and the demons themselves, in their own misery, would use him as a vehicle
to express their own grief. It would be hard to imagine a more horrible
5:6 And when he saw
Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped him1;
And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped him. The
demons showed the supremacy of Jesus not only by their cries to be let
alone, but by the fact that they made no effort to escape from him. They ran
to him, knowing that it was useless to do otherwise.
5:7 and crying out with a loud voice, he
saith, What have I to do with thee1,
Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by
God, torment me not2.
What have I to do with thee. On this phrase, see John
I adjure thee by God, torment me not. The judgment-day, the time of
punishment and torment (Matthew
25:41; 2 Peter
5:8 For he said unto him, Come forth, thou unclean
spirit1, out of the man.
Unclean spirit. See Mark
5:9 And he asked him, What
is thy name1? And he saith unto him, My
name is Legion; for we are many2.
What is thy name? It is likely that Jesus asked the
"sufferer" his name wished to assure him of sympathy, but the
"demons" in him had the floor and continued to do the talking. If
Jesus asked the demon its name, he did so that he might disclose this fact
to his disciples.
My name is Legion; for we are many. A legion was a division of the
Roman army containing from four to six thousand men.
5:10 And he
besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country1.
And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the
country. As one mouth entreated for many, Mark uses both the singular
("him") and the plural ("them").
5:13 And he gave them leave. And the
unclean spirits1 came out, and entered into the swine: and
the herd rushed down the steep into the sea2, [in
number] about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea3.
The unclean spirits. See Mark
And the herd rushed down the steep into the sea. About a mile south
of Khersa a spur of the mountain thrusts itself out toward the lake so that
its foot is within forty feet of the water line. This is the only spot on
that side of the lake where the mountains come near the water. The slope is
so steep and the ledge at its foot so narrow that a herd rushing down could
not check itself before tumbling into the water.
[In number] about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea.
Skeptics have censured Jesus for permitting this loss of property. God may
recognize our property rights as against each other, but he nowhere
recognizes them in the realm of nature. What was done to the swine was done
by the demons, and the owners had no more right to complain than they would
have had if the herd had been carried off by the murrain, by flood, or by
other natural cause. All animals have a right to die, either singly or in
numbers. The demons evidently did not intend to destroy the swine. Their
desire to have live bodies to dwell in shows that they did not. But the
presence of the demons in their bodies made the hogs crazy, as it had the
demoniac, and they ran the way their noses were pointed at the moment. For
discussion of demoniacal possession, see Mark
5:14 And they that
fed them1 fled, and told it in the city, and in the
country. And they came to see what it was that had come to pass.
They that fed them. There being no fences in Palestine, herds were
invariably attended by herdsmen.
5:15 And they come to Jesus, and
behold him that was possessed with demons sitting, clothed and in his right
mind, [even] him that had the legion1: and they were
And behold him that was possessed with demons sitting, clothed and in
his right mind, [even] him that had the legion. A faint suggestion that
there was another. See Mark
5:16 And they that
saw it1 declared unto them how it befell him that was
possessed with demons, and concerning the swine.
They that saw it. The herdsmen.
5:17 And they
began to beseech him to depart from their borders1.
They began to beseech him to depart from their borders. The loss of
the swine moved them to a fear a further loss of property. To them the loss
of swine was more important than the recovery of a man. To this day, worldly
interests move men more than acts of mercy.
5:18 And as he was entering into the boat, he
that had been possessed with demons besought him that he might be with him1.
He that had been possessed with demons besought him that he might be
with him. As a frightened child newly awakened from a horrible dream
clings to its parent, so the man clung to Christ.
5:19 And he suffered him not, but saith
unto him, Go to thy house unto thy friends, and tell
them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and [how] he had mercy on
Go to thy house unto thy friends, and tell them how great things the
Lord hath done for thee, and [how] he had mercy on thee. Jesus departed,
but left behind him a witness whose very body was a living monument bearing
testimony to Christ's compassion and power. Jesus revisited this locality
some months later. See Mark
5:20 And he went his way, and began to
publish in Decapolis1 how great
things Jesus had done for him: and all men marvelled.
In Decapolis. For the cities which constituted Decapolis, see Matthew
5:22 And there
cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue1, Jairus
by name2; and seeing him, he
falleth at his feet3,
JAIRUS' DAUGHTER AND THE INVALID WOMAN. (Capernaum, same day as last.) Matthew
And there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue. On the
synagogue, see Mark
Jairus by name. Jairus was one of the board of elders which
governed the synagogue at Capernaum. These elders were not necessarily old
And seeing him, he falleth at his feet. It was a very lowly act for
the ruler of a synagogue thus to bow before the Man of Nazareth. But the
ruler was in trouble, and his needs were stronger than his pride.
5:23 and beseecheth him much, saying, My
little daughter is at the point of death1: [I pray thee],
that thou come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be made whole, and live.
My little daughter is at the point of death. He left her dying, and
so stated his fears in the very strongest way.
5:24 And he went
with him; and a great multitude followed him, and they thronged him1.
And he went with him; and a great multitude followed him, and they
thronged him. The ruler, of highest social rank in the city, found Jesus
among the lowliest, and they were naturally curious to see what Jesus would
do for this grandee.
5:26 and had
suffered many things of many physicians1, and
had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse2,
And had suffered many things of many physicians. Medicine was not a
science in that day. Diseases were not cured by medicine, but were exorcised
by charms. The physician of Galilee in that age did not differ very widely
from the medicine-man of the North American Indians.
And had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather
grew worse. One in easy circumstances could readily spend all during
twelve years of doctoring with such leeches.
5:27 having heard
the things concerning Jesus1, came
in the crowd behind, and touched his garment2.
Having heard the things concerning Jesus. Her faith rested on
hearing rather than on sight.
Came in the crowd behind, and touched his garment. The nature of
her disease made her unclean (Leviticus
15:26). Her consciousness of this made her, therefore, timidly approach
Jesus from behind.
5:29 And straightway the fountain of her
blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she
was healed of her plague1.
And she felt in her body that she was healed of her plague. The
feeble pulse of sickness gave way to the glow and thrill of health.
5:33 But the woman
fearing and trembling1, knowing
what had been done to her, came and fell down before him2,
and told him all the truth.
But the woman fearing and trembling. Because being unclean, any
rabbi would have rebuked her severely for touching him.
Knowing what had been done to her, came and fell down before him,
and told him all the truth. See Luke
5:34 And he said unto her, Daughter,
thy faith hath made thee whole1; go
in peace, and be whole of thy plague2.
Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. Faith healed her by
causing her to so act as to obtain healing. Faith thus saves; not of itself,
but by that which is causes us to do. It causes us to so run that we obtain.
Go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. Be permanently whole: an
assurance that relief was not temporal, but final.
5:35 While he yet spake, they come from the
ruler of the synagogue's [house] saying, Thy daughter
is dead: why troublest thou the Teacher any further1?
Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Teacher any further?
The delay caused by healing this woman must have sorely tried the ruler's
patience, and the sad news which followed it must have severely tested his
faith; but we hear no word of murmuring or bitterness from him.
5:36 But Jesus, not heeding the word
spoken, saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Fear
not, only believe1.
Fear not, only believe. See Luke
5:37 And he
suffered no man to follow with him1, save
Peter, and James, and John the brother of James2.
He suffered no man to follow with him. Into the house with him.
Save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. These three
were honored above their fellows by special privileges on several occasions,
because their natures better fitted them to understand the work of Christ.
5:38 And they come to the house of the
ruler of the synagogue; and he beholdeth a tumult, and
[many] weeping and wailing greatly1.
And he beholdeth a tumult, and [many] weeping and wailing greatly.
Mourning began at the moment of death, and continued without intermission
until the burial, which usually took place on the day of the death. Even to
this day Oriental funerals are characterized by noisy uproar and frantic
demonstrations of sorrow, made by real and hired mourners. Flute-players,
then as now, mingle the plaintive strains of their instruments with the
piercing cries of those females who made mourning a profession.
5:39 And when he was entered in, he saith
unto them, Why make ye a tumult, and weep? the child is
not dead, but sleepeth1.
The child is not dead, but sleepeth. Jesus used this figurative
language with regard to Lazarus, and explained by this he meant death (John
5:40 And they
laughed him to scorn1. But he,
having put them all forth2, taketh
the father of the child and her mother and them that were with him, and goeth in
where the child was3.
And they laughed him to scorn. His words formed a criticism as to
their judgment and experience as to death, and threatened to interrupt them
in earning their funeral dues.
But he, having put them all forth. Because their tumult was
unsuited to the solemnity and sublimity of a resurrection. They were in the
outer room--not in the room where the dead child lay.
Taketh the father of the child and her mother and them that were with
him, and goeth in where the child was. The phrase "them that were
with him" refers to the three: Peter, James, and John (Mark
5:37). Jesus took with him five witnesses, because in the small space of
the room few could see distinctly what happened, and those not seeing
distinctly might circulate inaccurate reports and confused statements as to
what occurred. Besides, Jesus worked his miracles as privately as possible
in order to suppress undue excitement.
5:41 And taking
the child by the hand1, he saith unto her, Talitha
cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee2,
And taking the child by the hand. See Mark
Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee,
Arise. Mark gives the Aramaic words which Jesus used. They were the
simple words with which anyone would awaken a child in the morning.
straightway the damsel rose up, and walked1; for she was
twelve years old. And they were amazed straightway with
a great amazement2.
And straightway the damsel rose up, and walked. Her restoration was
And they were amazed straightway with a great amazement. Faith in
God's great promise is seldom so strong that fulfillment fails to waken
5:43 And he
charged them much that no man should know this1: and
he commanded that [something] should be given her to eat2.
And he charged them much that no man should know this. A command
given to keep down popular excitement. Moreover, Jesus did not wish to be
importuned to raise the dead. He never was so importuned.
And he commanded that [something] should be given her to eat. Her
frame, emaciated by sickness, was to be invigorated by natural means.