Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Glorious Cure of the Gadarene Demoniac
1. And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country
of the Gadarenes.
2. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately--(see
there met him a man with an unclean spirit--"which had devils
[demons] long time"
"there met him two men possessed with devils." Though there be no
discrepancy between these two statements--more than between two
witnesses, one of whom testifies to something done by one person, while
the other affirms that there were two--it is difficult to see how the
principal details here given could apply to more than one case.
3. Who had his dwelling among the tombs--Luke
says, "He ware no clothes, neither abode in any house." These tombs
were hewn out of the rocky caves of the locality, and served for
shelters and lurking places
4. Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains,
that "oftentimes it [the unclean spirit] had caught him"; and after
mentioning how they had vainly tried to bind him with chains and
fetters, because, "he brake the bands," he adds, "and was driven of the
devil [demon] into the wilderness." The dark tyrant-power by which he
was held clothed him with superhuman strength and made him scorn
says he was "exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way."
He was the terror of the whole locality.
5. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the
tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones--Terrible as he was
to others, he himself endured untold misery, which sought relief in
tears and self-inflicted torture.
6. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped
him--not with the spontaneous alacrity which says to Jesus, "Draw
me, we will run after thee," but inwardly compelled, with
terrific rapidity, before the Judge, to receive sentence of
7. What have I to do with thee, Jesus, Son of the most high God? I
adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not--or, as in
"Art Thou come to torment us before the time?" (See on
Behold the tormentor anticipating, dreading, and entreating
exemption from torment! In Christ they discern their destined
Tormentor; the time, they know, is fixed, and they feel as if it were
8. For he said unto him--that is, before the unclean spirit cried out.
Come out of the man, unclean spirit!--Ordinarily, obedience to a
command of this nature was immediate. But here, a certain delay is
permitted, the more signally to manifest the power of Christ and
accomplish His purposes.
9. And he asked him, What is thy name?--The object of this question
was to extort an acknowledgment of the virulence of demoniacal power by
which this victim was enthralled.
And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many--or, as
"because many devils [demons] were entered into him." A legion, in the
Roman army, amounted, at its full complement, to six thousand; but here
the word is used, as such words with us, and even this one, for an
indefinitely large number--large enough however to rush, as soon as
permission was given, into two thousand swine and destroy them.
10. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of
the country--The entreaty, it will be observed, was made by one
spirit, but in behalf of many--"he besought Him not
to send them, &c."--just as in
"he answered we are many." But what do they mean by
entreating so earnestly not to be ordered out of the country? Their
will make that clear enough.
11. Now there was there, nigh unto the mountains--rather, "to the
mountain," according to what is clearly the true reading. In
they are said to have been "a good way off." But these expressions, far
from being inconsistent, only confirm, by their precision, the minute
accuracy of the narrative.
a great herd of swine feeding--There can hardly be any doubt that
the owners of these were Jews, since to them our Lord had now come to
proffer His services. This will explain what follows.
12. And all the devils besought him, saying--"if thou cast us out"
Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them--Had they spoken
out all their mind, perhaps this would have been it: "If we must quit
our hold of this man, suffer us to continue our work of mischief in
another form, that by entering these swine, and thus destroying the
people's property, we may steel their hearts against Thee!"
13. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave--In Matthew
this is given with majestic brevity--"Go!" The owners, if Jews, drove
an illegal trade; if heathens, they insulted the national religion: in
either case the permission was just.
And the unclean spirits went out--of the man.
and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently--rushed.
down a steep place--down the hanging cliff.
into the sea (they were about two thousand)--The number of them
is given by this graphic Evangelist alone.
and were choked in the sea--"perished in the waters"
14. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it--"told everything,
and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils"
in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was
that was done--Thus had they the evidence, both of the herdsmen and of
their own senses, to the reality of both miracles.
15. And they come to Jesus--Matthew
says, "Behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus."
and see him that was possessed with the devil--the demonized person.
and had the legion, sitting--"at the feet of Jesus," adds Luke
in contrast with his former wild and wandering habits.
and clothed--As our Evangelist had not told us that he "ware no
clothes," the meaning of this statement could only have been conjectured
but for "the beloved physician"
who supplies the missing piece of information here. This is a striking
case of what are called Undesigned Coincidences amongst the
different Evangelists; one of them taking a thing for granted, as
familiarly known at the time, but which we should never have known but
for one or more of the others, and without the knowledge of which some
of their statements would be unintelligible. The clothing which the
poor man would feel the want of the moment his consciousness returned
to him, was doubtless supplied to him by some of the Twelve.
and in his right mind--but now, oh, in what a lofty sense! (Compare
an analogous, though a different kind of case,
and they were afraid--Had this been awe only, it had been natural
enough; but other feelings, alas! of a darker kind, soon showed
16. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was
possessed with the devil--("the demonized person").
and also concerning the swine--Thus had they the double testimony of
the herdsmen and their own senses.
17. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts--Was it
the owners only of the valuable property now lost to them that did this?
Alas, no! For Luke
says, "Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round
about besought Him to depart from them; for they were taken with great
fear." The evil spirits had thus, alas! their object. Irritated, the
people could not suffer His presence; yet awe-struck, they dared not
order Him off: so they entreat Him to withdraw, and--He takes them at
18. he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might
be with him--the grateful heart, fresh from the hand of demons,
clinging to its wondrous Benefactor. How exquisitely natural!
19. Howbeit, Jesus suffered him not, &c.--To be a missionary for
Christ, in the region where he was so well known and so long dreaded,
was a far nobler calling than to follow Him where nobody had ever heard
of him, and where other trophies not less illustrious could be raised by
the same power and grace.
20. And he departed, and began to publish--not only among his friends,
to whom Jesus immediately sent him, but
in Decapolis--so called, as being a region of ten cities. (See
how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel--Throughout that considerable region did this monument of mercy proclaim
his new-found Lord; and some, it is to be hoped, did more than "marvel."
WOMAN WITH AN
The occasion of this scene will appear presently.
21. And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side--from the Gadarene side of the lake, where He had parted with the healed
demoniac, to the west side, at Capernaum.
much people gathered unto him--who "gladly received Him; for they were
all waiting for Him"
The abundant teaching earlier that day
&c., and Mt 13:1-58)
had only whetted the people's appetite: and disappointed, as would
seem, that He had left them in the evening to cross the lake, they
remain hanging about the beach, having got a hint, probably through
some of His disciples, that He would be back the same evening. Perhaps
they witnessed at a distance the sudden calming of the tempest. The
tide of our Lord's popularity was now fast rising.
and he was nigh unto the sea.
22. And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue--of
which class there were but few who believed in Jesus
One would suppose from this that the ruler had been with the multitude
on the shore, anxiously awaiting the return of Jesus, and immediately on
His arrival had accosted Him as here related. But Matthew
tells us that the ruler came to Him while He was in the act of speaking
at His own table on the subject of fasting; and as we must suppose that
this converted publican ought to know what took place on that memorable
occasion when he made a feast to his Lord, we conclude that here the
right order is indicated by the First Evangelist alone.
Jairus by name--or "Jaeirus." It is the same name as Jair, in the
and when he saw him, he fell at his feet--in Matthew
"worshipped Him." The meaning is the same in both.
23. And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter--Luke
says, "He had one only daughter, about twelve years of age." According
to a well-known rabbin, quoted by LIGHTFOOT, a
daughter, till she had completed her twelfth year, was called
"little," or "a little maid"; after that, "a young woman."
lieth at the point of death--Matthew
gives it thus: "My daughter is even now dead"--"has just expired." The
news of her death reached the father after the cure of the woman with
the issue of blood: but Matthew's brief account gives only the
result, as in the case of the centurion's servant
come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall
live--or, "that she may be healed and live," according to a fully
preferable reading. In one of the class to which this man belonged, so
steeped in prejudice, such faith would imply more than in others.
The Woman with an Issue of Blood Healed
24. And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged
him--The word in Luke
is stronger--"choked," "stifled Him."
26. And had suffered many things of many physicians--The expression
perhaps does not necessarily refer to the suffering she endured under
medical treatment, but to the much varied treatment which she underwent.
and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather
grew worse--pitiable case, and affectingly aggravated; emblem of our
natural state as fallen creatures
(Eze 16:5, 6),
and illustrating the worse than vanity of all human remedies for
The higher design of all our Lord's miracles of healing irresistibly
suggests this way of viewing the present case, the propriety of which
will still more appear as we proceed.
27. When she had heard of Jesus, came--This was the right experiment
at last. What had she "heard of Jesus?" No doubt it was His marvellous
cures she had heard of; and the hearing of these, in connection with her
bitter experience of the vanity of applying to any other, had been
blessed to the kindling in her soul of a firm confidence that He who had
so willingly wrought such cures on others was able and would not refuse
to heal her also.
in the press behind--shrinking, yet seeking.
touched his garment--According to the ceremonial law, the touch of
anyone having the disease which this woman had would have defiled the
person touched. Some think that the recollection of this may account for
her stealthily approaching Him in the crowd behind, and touching but the
hem of His garment. But there was an instinct in the faith which brought
her to Jesus, which taught her, that if that touch could set her free
from the defiling disease itself, it was impossible to communicate
defilement to Him, and that this wondrous Healer must be above such
28. For she said--"within herself"
If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole--that is, if I may
but come in contact with this glorious Healer at all. Remarkable
29. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up--Not only
was her issue of blood stanched
but the cause of it was thoroughly removed, insomuch that by her bodily
sensations she immediately knew herself perfectly cured.
30. And Jesus immediately knowing in himself that virtue--or
had gone out of him--He was conscious of the forthgoing of His
healing power, which was not--as in prophets and apostles--something
foreign to Himself and imparted merely, but what He had
dwelling within Him as "His own fulness."
turned him about in the press--crowd.
and said, Who touched my clothes?
31. And his disciples said unto him--Luke says
"When all denied, Peter and they that were with Him said, Master."
Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched
me?--"Askest thou, Lord, who touched Thee? Rather ask who touched Thee
not in such a throng." "And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched Me"--"a
certain person has touched Me"--"for I perceive that virtue is gone out
Yes, the multitude "thronged and pressed Him"--they
jostled against Him, but all involuntarily; they were
merely carried along; but one, one only--"a certain
person--TOUCHED HIM," with
the conscious, voluntary, dependent touch of faith, reaching forth its
hand expressly to have contact with Him. This and this only Jesus
acknowledges and seeks out. Even so, as AUGUSTINE
long ago said, multitudes still come similarly close to Christ in
the means of grace, but all to no purpose, being only sucked into the
crowd. The voluntary, living contact of faith is that electric
conductor which alone draws virtue out of Him.
32. And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing--not
for the purpose of summoning forth a culprit, but, as we shall presently
see, to obtain from the healed one a testimony to what He had done for
33. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in
her--alarmed, as a humble, shrinking female would naturally be, at
the necessity of so public an exposure of herself, yet conscious that
she had a tale to tell which would speak for her.
came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth--In Luke
it is, "When the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling,
and falling down before Him, she declared unto Him before all the
people for what cause she had touched Him, and how she was healed
immediately." This, though it tried the modesty of the believing woman,
was just what Christ wanted in dragging her forth, her public testimony
to the facts of her case--the disease, with her abortive efforts at a
cure, and the instantaneous and perfect relief which her touching the
Great Healer had brought her.
34. And he said unto her, Daughter--"be of good comfort"
thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy
plague--Though healed as soon as she believed, it seemed to her a
stolen cure--she feared to acknowledge it. Jesus therefore sets His
royal seal upon it. But what a glorious dismissal from the lips of Him
who is "our Peace" is that, "Go in peace!"
Jairus' Daughter Raised to Life
35. Thy daughter is dead; why troublest thou the Master any further?--the Teacher.
36. he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only
believe--Jesus, knowing how the heart of the agonized father would
sink at the tidings, and the reflections at the delay which would be
apt to rise in his mind, hastens to reassure him, and in His accustomed
style: "Be not afraid, only believe"--words of unchanging preciousness
and power! How vividly do such incidents bring out Christ's knowledge
of the human heart and tender sympathy!
37. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and
John the brother of James--(See on
38. And he cometh--rather, "they come."
to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and
them that wept and wailed greatly--"the minstrels and the people
making a noise"
--lamenting for the dead. (See
39. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado,
and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth--so brief her state of
death as to be more like a short sleep.
40. And they laughed him to scorn--rather, simply, "laughed at
Him"--"knowing that she was dead"
an important testimony this to the reality of her death.
But when he had put them all out--The word is strong--"turned them
all out"; meaning all those who were making this noise, and any others
that may have been there from sympathy, that only those might be present
who were most nearly concerned, and those whom He had Himself brought as
witnesses of the great act about to be done.
he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were
with him--Peter, and James, and John.
and entereth in where the damsel was lying.
41. And he took the damsel by the hand--as He did Peter's
and said unto her, Talitha cumi--The words are Aramaic, or
Syro-Chaldaic, the then language of Palestine. Mark loves to give such
wonderful words just as they were spoken. See
Mr 7:34; 14:36.
42. And straightway the damsel--The word here is different from that
and signifies "young maiden," or "little girl."
arose, and walked--a vivid touch evidently from an eye-witness.
And they were astonished with a great astonishment--The language here
is the strongest.
43. And he charged them straitly--strictly.
that no man should know it--The only reason we can assign for this
is His desire not to let the public feeling regarding Him come too
precipitately to a crisis.
and commanded that something should be given her to eat--in token of