The Fourfold Gospel
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 1:23.
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 state.
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 2:4.
- I adjure thee by God, torment me not. The judgment-day, the time of punishment and torment (Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6).
5:8 For he said unto him, Come forth, thou unclean spirit1, out of the man.
- Unclean spirit. See Mark 1:23.
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 1:23.
- 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 1:23.
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 afraid.
- 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 5:2.
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 thee1.
- 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 7:31-37.
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 4:25.
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 9:18-26; Mark 5:22-43; Luke 8:41-56
- And there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue. On the synagogue, see Mark 1:39.
- Jairus by name. Jairus was one of the board of elders which governed the synagogue at Capernaum. These elders were not necessarily
old men (Matthew 19:16-22 Luke 18:18-23.
- 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 8:47.
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
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 8:50.
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
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, Arise.
- And taking the child by the hand. See Mark 1:31.
- 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.
5:42 And 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 complete.
- 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.