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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
Mark 5



Verse 1

1. ἦλθον. This is all that we learn of the disciples in this section. Throughout the incident Jesus alone acts and directs. Even when the company returns to the other side (Mark 5:21), it is Jesus only who is mentioned.

τῶν Γερασηνῶν. See crit. note. All three readings are found in all three places. The evidence shows that “Gadarenes” is right in Mt. and “Gerasenes” in Mk and Lk., while “Gergesenes” has little claim to be considered original anywhere. Origen supports “Gergesenes,” but on topographical grounds, not on textual evidence. The ruins now known as Gersa, Kersa, or Kursi may represent the place which Mk and Lk. call Gerasa, but which was known to Origen as Gergesa. But we cannot be sure that the modern names are corruptions of Gerasa or Gergesa: they may have had independent origin. “The country of the Gerasenes” may mean a large district, but the country round the Gerasa which was situated more than 30 miles S.E. of the Lake cannot be meant. Only at one place on the [1065] shore of the Lake is there a κρημνός. D.C.G. art. “Gerasenes.”

Verses 1-20


Matthew 8:28-34. Luke 8:26-39

Verse 2

2. ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ. The more idiomatic ἐξελθόντι αὐτῷ ([1066][1067]) is an obvious correction, and ἐξελθόντων αὐτῶν ([1068] is influenced by ἦλθον, keeping the disciples in view a moment longer. Cf. Mark 5:18 and Mark 13:1, and see Blass § 74. 5.

εὐθύς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ. The characteristic εὐθύς, though omitted in [1069] Lat.-Vet. Syrr. Arm., may be accepted as probably original. No sooner had Christ come on shore than the demoniac appeared and moved towards Him. Its seeming inconsistence with Mark 5:6 may have caused εὐθύς to be omitted. That ὑπαντάω means “meet accidentally,” while ἀπαντάω means “go to meet,” does not always hold; see Mark 14:13, where ἀπαντήσει is undisputed, and Luke 17:12, where ἀπήντησαν is probably right.

ἐκ τῶν μνημείων. No rock-hewn tombs have been found near Kersa, but a tomb built on the ground would be more likely to be chosen as a dwelling. Cf. οἰκοδομεῖτε τὰ μνημεῖα τῶν προφητῶν (Luke 11:47).

ἄνθρωπος. Lk. says ἀνήρ τις, Mt. δύο, Matthew 20:30 has two blind men, where Mk and Lk. mention only one. Probably in both cases Mt. represents a tradition in which the greatness of the miraculous benefit has been enhanced by increasing the number of the recipients; the narrative in Mk is distinct and consistent throughout. The plur., τῶν μνημείων and τοῖς μνήμασιν (Mark 5:3; Mark 5:5), may, however, be said to give some support to the tradition of two demoniacs. Lichtenstein compares 2 Kings 18:17, where three ambassadors are named, while Isaiah 36:2 names Rabshakeh only. See S. J. Andrews, Life of our Lord, pp. 300 f., for other suggestions.

ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ. See on Mark 1:23.

Verse 3

3. ὃς τὴν κατ. εἶχεν. The change from aor. to imperf. is accurate. Κατοίκησις, not rare in LXX., occurs nowhere else in N.T., and Mk nowhere has κατοικέω, which is freq. in N.T., esp. Acts and Rev.

ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν. In the tombs (R.V.) rather than “amongst” them (A.V.). He took shelter sometimes in one and sometimes in another. Cf. Psalms 68:7, ἐξάγωντοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐν τάφοις, and Isaiah 65:4, ἐν τοῖς μνήμασινκοιμῶνται. In N.T. μνημεῖον is freq., while μνῆμα is rare. In class. Greek both words mean a “memorial” or “monument”; the meaning “tomb” is Biblical and perhaps colloquial. The fondness of those who suffer from mania or melancholia for tombs is well known; many instances in Wetstein. Calvin says of some of the questions which have been raised about this narrative, frivola est, imo stulta eorum divinatio.

οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι οὐδείς. See crit. note. The accumulation of negatives is here peculiar to Mk. See on Mark 1:44 and note the expressive οὐδέ and οὐκέτι. “Not even a chain was any longer of any use,” implying that at one time it had sufficed. The statement explains how such a man came to be at large and to have his abode in the tombs. Contrast Luke 8:29. After δύναμαι the aor. infin. (δῆσαι) is normal; see on Mark 1:41.

Verse 4

4. διὰ τὸδεδέσθαι. The διά is not quite logical. His having been often bound ineffectually was not the cause of its being impossible to bind him effectually; it was the cause of their ceasing to try, and of his being free, in spite of his being a peril to the inhabitants. Syr-Sin. has “because he had broken many fetters and chains and had escaped.” Cf. Acts 19:16.

πέδαις καὶ ἁλύσεσι. It is more certain that πέδαι “fetters” than that ἁλύσεις means “manacles” or “hand-cuffs.” Vulg. has compedibus et catenis, not pedicis et manicis. The ἁλύσεις might fasten him to a wall, as St Paul was fastened to a soldier (Ephesians 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:16). But διεσπάσθαι would express the tearing asunder of manacles, and συντετρίφθαι the crushing of the fetters or smashing them with a stone; cf. Mark 14:3; Matthew 12:20; John 19:36.

οὐδεὶς ἴσχυεν. Coordinate with οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο in Mark 5:3. The difference between the verbs should be marked; no man could any more bind him … and no man had strength to tame him (R.V.). St James does not use ἰσχύω of taming the tongue (Mark 3:7-8); but it may be used of the physical effort to keep awake (Mark 14:37). Cf. John 21:6, where even R.V. has “not able.”

Verse 5

5. διὰ παντός. Neither here nor Luke 24:53 does διὰ π. mean that there were no intervals; διὰ π. expresses what is usual, and rather implies that there are breaks in what is generally continuous (Acts 2:25; Hebrews 9:6; Hebrews 13:15).

νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας. See on Mark 4:27; here the gen. indicates intervals.

ἦν κράζων. The periphrastic imperf. emphasizes the continuance of the action.

κατακόπτων ἑαυτόν. Pounding himself, or perhaps gashing himself; lit. “cutting himself to pieces”; concidens se (Vulg.). Cf. concisus pugnis (Juv. iii. 300), and for the compound, κατέκλασεν (Mark 6:41). For the combination of participles see on Mark 1:15.

Verse 6

6. καὶ ἰδὼν τὸν Ἰησοῦν. He had not come out of his dismal shelter because he saw Jesus land, so that his meeting Him (Mark 5:2) was accidental on his part.

ἀπὸ μακρόθεν. A pleonasm of which Mk is fond; Mark 8:3, Mark 11:13, Mark 14:54, Mark 15:40. Cf. ἐκ παιδιόθεν (Mark 9:21). In Matthew 26:58 the ἀπό is omitted in [1070][1071][1072] and in Matthew 27:55 ἀπʼ is omitted in [1073][1074] In class. Greek we should have πρόσωθεν or πόρρωθεν rather than μακρόθεν. Blass § 29. 3.

Verse 7

7. Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί. See on Mark 1:24.

τοῦ ὑψίστου. The girl with a Python uses the same expression (Acts 16:17); elsewhere in N.T. “it occurs only in passages with an O.T. ring, Luke 1:32; Luke 1:35; Luke 1:76; Luke 6:35; Luke 8:28; Hebrews 7:1” (Swete). In LXX. it is freq. But the title is not exclusively Jewish, and may have been used by heathen before it was adopted by the Jews. It savours of polytheism in the sense of highest among many, and the demoniac may have been a heathen. In Jewish writings it is specially freq. in those of the second cent. B.C. See Charles, Book of Jubilees, p. 213; Clemen, Primitive Christianity, p. 81. Theophylact points out that Christ’s enemies, the demons, exhibited better knowledge of Him than His friends had shown (Mark 4:41), or showed even later (Mark 6:50).

ὁρκίζω σε τὸν θεόν. The common phrase; cf. Acts 19:13 and ἐνορκίζω ὑμᾶς τὸν κύριον (1 Thessalonians 5:27). The double acc. is found in inscriptions. Deissmann, Bib. St. p. 281. In LXX. we find both κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ and ἐν τῷ θεῷ. In order to influence Jesus, the demon uses the very phrase that was commonly employed in exorcisms.

μή με βασανίσῃς. While the man runs to Jesus and prostrates himself, the evil power by which he is obsessed shrinks in terror from Him. Immediate punishment is expected from One who has the power to inflict it. Mt. inserts the significant πρὸ καιροῦ. Cf. Revelation 14:10; Revelation 20:10; also βάσανος in Luke 16:23; Luke 16:28. The history of the noun indicates the delusion which has produced, and still produces, hideous suffering, that torture is a touch-stone or test of truth. Bede and Theophylact suggest that it was torture to the malignant spirits to be made to cease from tormenting a human being; but this is not what the cry means.

Verse 8

8. ἔλεγεν γάρ. Here the force of the imperf., as referring to action which preceded something already mentioned, is best represented in English by the pluperf.; For He had been saying, or had said; cf. Mark 5:28, Mark 6:18; Matthew 14:4; also Acts 9:39, ὅσα ἐποίει, “which Dorcas had been making while she was with them.” Burton, § 29.

τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἀκάθαρτον. Nom. with art. for voc., as often in N.T. (Mark 5:41, Mark 9:25; Luke 8:54; Luke 10:21; Luke 18:11; Luke 18:13; Colossians 3:18; Ephesians 6:1; etc.). It is specially common with imperatives and may be due in some cases to Heb. influence (2 Kings 9:31; Jeremiah 47:6).

Verse 9

9. ἐπηρώτα. Mk, who regards conversation as a process, nearly always puts ἐπερωτάω in the imperf. (Mark 7:5; Mark 7:17, Mark 8:23; Mark 8:27; Mark 8:29, Mark 9:11; Mark 9:28; Mark 9:33, Mark 10:2; Mark 10:10; Mark 10:17, etc.); so that we cannot infer that the question had to be repeated, although it may have been. Asking for the name excited suspicion; it might be used for βασανισμός. It was a common belief that, in order to exorcize a demon, you must address it by name. Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, pp. 252, 257. But the purpose of the question was rather to get the man to distinguish his own personality. This it fails to do; the obsession is still too strong. Mt., as usual, omits a question which seems to imply that Christ was ignorant and needed information. On the reply see crit. note.

Λεγιών. This introduction of a Latin word is a mark of authenticity; it is in place, but it would not be likely to be invented. In conquered Palestine, “legion” would suggest numbers, strength, and relentless oppression. Cf. Luke 8:2; Luke 11:26. Legio non pro finito numero, sed tantum pro magna turba accipitur (Calvin). The man felt as if he were possessed by a legion of demons. Syr-Sin. has “Our name is Legion.” Cf. the “seven demons” in Mary Magdalen (Luke 8:2).

Verse 10

10. παρεκάλει. In spite of the masc. πολλοί ἐσμεν, the sing, is retained, because the demons use the man as their organ. Lk. has παρεκάλουν (as [1075][1076] here), marking the plurality of the hostile forces, although neut. plur. (δαιμόνια πολλά) has preceded.

πολλά. Adverbial, as usual, deprecabatur illum multum (Vulg.). See on Mark 1:45, and for ἵνα on Mark 3:9.

ἔξω τῆς χώρας. If this expresses the wish of the man, it means that he fears to be sent away from his familiar haunts and his home (Mark 5:19). If, as Lk. takes it, it expresses the wish of the demons, it means that they fear to be sent εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον, which probably means the penal part of Hades.

Verse 11

11. πρὸς τῷ ὄρει. “At the mountain,” or on the mountain side (R.V.); cf. Luke 19:37; John 18:16; John 20:11-12.

Verse 12

12. παρεκάλεσαν. All three have the plur. here, showing that the request is that of the demons; already they are dissociating themselves from the man. See crit. note.

Πέμψον. Here only does Mk use πέμπω, which is more suitable than Mt.’s ἀπόστειλον, for that would imply that Christ was to give the demons a mission as well as permission. Lk. has neither verb. See on Mark 3:14.

Verse 13

13. ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς. See crit. note. He gave them leave. The distinction between permitting and commanding is not of much value for the purpose of freeing our Lord from responsibility for the entrance of the demons into the swine. The suggestion that He who was capable of surprise (Mark 4:13; Mark 4:40, Mark 6:6; Matthew 8:10; Matthew 15:28; Matthew 16:8), and of ignorance (Mark 13:32; Matthew 24:36) did not foresee the consequences of giving permission, does free Him from responsibility for the destruction of the swine. But some striking proof that the unclean spirits had left the man may have been necessary in order to assure him and the inhabitants that he had been, not merely quieted, but permanently cured. On the enormous superiority of man to brutes, Bede remarks, ob unius hominis salutem duo millia porcorum suffocantur. On the fate of the demons, Euthymius says, μελετήσαντες βλάψαι, πλεῖον ἐβλάβησαν. See Salmon, Human Element, pp. 277f.; Plummer, S. Matthew, pp. 132 f., S. Luke, pp. 228 f.

εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους. Science raises no difficulty here. Of the marvellous power of mind over matter our knowledge is increasing rapidly, and it would be rash to deny that brutes can be influenced by spirits. The plur. verb keeps the plurality of the spirits in sight.

τοῦ κρημνοῦ. “The well-known steep.” Travellers think that it can be identified. Cf. 2 Chronicles 25:12.

ὡς δισχίλιοι. Mk alone gives this estimate. Mt. omits it, as also the “200 pennyworth” (Mark 6:37) and the “300 pence” (Mark 14:5). This estimate may have come from the owners, who might exaggerate their loss. An inventor would have said 4000 or 5000, to correspond with the legion. It is not very probable that the owners were Jews, who had no right to keep these unclean animals; and the plea that they were justly punished for their disobedience cannot be pressed. The population on the [1077] side of the Lake was largely heathen.

Verse 14

14. τοὺς ἀγρούς. “Farms” or “hamlets” (Mark 6:36; Mark 6:56); so only in the plur. Excepting Acts 4:37, the word occurs only in Mk, Mt. and Lk.

τὸ γεγονός. “What had really happened”; they hardly knew what to believe, and they came to see for themselves.

Verse 15

15. θεωροῦσιν. Much stronger than the previous ἰδεῖν. Cf. Mark 3:11; Mark 12:41; Mark 15:40.

τὸν δαιμονιζόμενον. This is their view of him; to them he is still “the demoniac,” unless the participle be imperf. Contrast ὁ δαιμονισθείς (Mark 5:18) and see on Mark 1:32. The three participles which follow form a climax. He was sitting quietly, instead of roaming and raving; that was not much, for he had his quiet moments. He was clothed; that was still more, for he had for a long time worn no clothes (Lk.). Above all, he was no longer controlled by diabolical influences, but could control himself. Lk. adds that they found him “at the feet of Jesus.” In contrast to all this, τὸν ἐσχηκότα τὸν λεγιῶνα is added. Syr-Sin. omits it as superfluous, but it has point. They had come out at the report of a great disaster, and they find the proof of a marvellous cure.

ἐφοβήθησαν. See on Mark 4:41. Evidence of the presence of supernatural power again inspires fear.

Verse 16

16. διηγήσαντο. Cf. Luke 9:10; Acts 9:27; Acts 12:17. The compound indicates the fulness with which the spectators narrated what had taken place. The spectators would be chiefly the Twelve and the swineherds.

Verse 17

17. ἤρξαντο. We return to the inhabitants mentioned in Mark 5:15. Jesus had just freed them from a great terror, by delivering one who had relations and friends among them from an obsession of extraordinary violence; and they began to beseech Him—one expects some such conclusion as “to abide with them,” or “to heal their sick”; but there comes, with tragic irony, the conclusion—to depart from their borders. As in Luke 14:18, there is no ἀλλά or δέ to prepare one for this surprising conclusion, a conclusion which a writer of fiction would not be likely to invent. But ἐφοβήθησαν and περὶ τῶν χοίρων give the explanation. They were afraid of this mighty Wonderworker, and they did not want any more losses. Hoc foedi stuporis signum est, quod eos magis terret porcorum jactura quam animae salus exhilarat (Calvin). The widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:18) is a somewhat similar case. Christ at once granted their request. They were not worthy, and He could do more effective work elsewhere.

Verse 18

18. ἐμβαίνοντος αὐτοῦαὐτόν. See crit. note. For the constr. see on Mark 5:2. Mt. omits this incident.

ὁ δαιμονισθείς. No longer ὁ δαιμονιζόμενος.

ἵνα μετʼ αὐτοῦ ᾖ. The man fears the populace who had treated him with such rigour, and who were so hostile to his Deliverer. He naturally clings to the latter. For ἵνα see on Mark 3:9.

Verse 19

19. Ὕπαγεκαὶ ἀπάγγειλον. It is startling to find that, while the Twelve are kept to be trained at His side (Mark 3:14), this healed demoniac, who wishes to be kept with Him, is at once sent to be an evangelist and prepare the way for Christ’s teaching (Mark 7:31); also that, whereas He usually told those who were cured to say nothing about these benefits (Mark 1:44, Mark 5:43, Mark 7:36; Matthew 9:30), He charges this man to let his family and his acquaintances know all the mercy that had been shown to him. The explanation seems to be that there was no one else to send; Christ would be there again before any one could be trained for evangelistic work, and the man could do more good at home than by remaining with Christ. Secondly, in Peraea there was no risk of political capital being made out of His fame as a Worker of miracles. See on Mark 1:44. Here ὃσα refers to importance rather than number; see on Mark 3:8. Great things had been done for the man, but not very many.

ὁ κύριος. In Lk., both Κύριος and ὁ Κύριος are used of Jehovah, while ὁ Κύριος (but never Κύριος) is sometimes used of Christ. In Mk, Κύριος is always Jehovah, while ὁ Κύριος occurs only twice, here and Mark 11:3. Here it doubtless means Jehovah, as Lk. interprets it, placing ὁ θεός at the end with emphasis. In Mark 11:3 it means Christ, but probably in the sense of “Master” rather than “Lord.”

πεποίηκεν καὶ ἠλέησεν. The change from perf. to aor. is remarkable. Actual confusion of tenses is not uncommon in illiterate writings, and perfects are used without much difference of meaning from aorists; but in most examples in N.T. of mixture of tenses, as here, each tense may have its proper force; “what things the Lord hath done for thee, the results of which still remain, and how in expelling the demons He had mercy on thee.” The perf. gives the permanent cure, the aor. the moment of deliverance. Such changes are rather freq. in Rev. (Mark 3:3, Mark 8:5, Mark 11:17). Cf. 1 John 1:1. Conversely (Acts 21:28; Revelation 5:7). It is more difficult to give a distinctive force to each tense in ἑώρακεν καὶ ἤκουσεν (John 3:32); and still more difficult in πέπρακεν καὶ ἠγόρασεν (Matthew 13:46). Winer, p. 340; Burton § 80, 88; Blass § 50. 3, 4; J. H. Moulton, p. 142. The irregularity here is not in the change of tense, but in carrying on ὅσα to ἠλέησεν instead of supplying ὡς.

Verse 20

20. ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν. Cf. Mark 1:45, where the cleansed leper does the same, and Mark 7:36, where the healed deaf-mute and his friends do the same.

ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς. He had been told to report all that God had done for him, but it was natural that he should name the visible Benefactor. Lk. marks the contrast strongly, with ὁ θεός at the end of one sentence and ὁ Ἰησοῦς at the end of the other. Mk intimates that in other respects the man did more than execute his commission; κηρύσσειν (Mark 1:4; Mark 1:7; Mark 1:39; Mark 1:45, Mark 3:14, Mark 6:12, etc.) is stronger than ἀπάγγειλον (Mark 6:30; Luke 7:18; Luke 7:22, etc.); and ἐν τῇ Δεκαπόλει is much wider than πρὸς τοὺς σούς. “The ‘Decapolis’ was used loosely, without strict reference to the federated cities, the lists of which varied (Mark 7:31; Matthew 4:25).”

καὶ πάντες ἐθαύμαζον. Mk only. It was an unfruitful kind of wonder at present; cf. Mark 2:12, Mark 5:42.

Verse 21

21. διαπεράσαντος. The usual word for crossing water; see on Mark 4:35. He crosses from the [1078] to the W. shore of the Lake, from those who had begged Him to leave them, to those who at once gather together and throng Him. Lk. using his special verb says that they welcomed Him, ἀπεδέξατο αὐτὸν ὁ ὄχλος, Mk that a great multitude were crowded together upon Him.

ἐπʼ αὐτόν. This kind of constr. is freq. in Mk after a gen. abs. Cf. Mark 5:2, Mark 9:28, Mark 10:17, Mark 11:27, Mark 13:1; Mark 13:3. Winer, p. 259.

ἦν παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν. He was by the sea; probably no motion to the sea is suggested; παρά c. acc. in late Greek is freq. after verbs of rest; Mark 4:1; Acts 10:6; see on Mark 10:46. Winer, 503. The remark here is quite in place. Finding a large audience awaiting the arrival of the boat, Jesus remained on the shore and addressed them. In Matthew 9:18, Jesus is in a house when Jairus comes.

Verses 21-34


Matthew 9:18-22. Luke 8:40-48

Verse 22

22. εἷς τῶν ἀρχισυναγώγων. There was usually only one to each synagogue. These officials regulated the services and perhaps had charge of the buildings.

Ἰάειρος. Usually those on whom or for whom Jesus does His mighty works are nameless. Jair (Numbers 32:41; Judges 10:3) means “he will give light” rather than “he will awaken”; but even if the latter derivation were correct, it would not prove that the name was invented to match the story, nor would the invention of the name prove that the whole story was invention. As in the case of Lazarus and his sisters, the name of the leading person in this incident would be likely to be remembered. The daughter may have been a well known person, like Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21), when Mk wrote. Bartimaeus, Mary Magdalen, and Malchus are similar instances.

πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ. In the Synoptics αὐτοῦ generally follows its substantive (Mark 5:27, Mark 6:1; Mark 6:4, etc.); in Jn it often precedes (Mark 11:32, Mark 1:27, etc.), about 16 times in all.

Verse 23

23. παρεκάλει πολλά. Vulg. again has multum (Mark 5:10), which is evidently right. See on Mark 3:12.

Τὸ θυγάτριόν μου. Peculiar to Mk, and he alone in N.T. uses this diminutive; cf. Mark 7:25. He also uses κοράσιον, κυνάριον, ἰχθύδιον, πλοιάριον, ψιχίον, ὠτάριον, παιδίσκη. This little maid was an only child, like the widow’s son at Nain and the lunatic boy. In all three cases we owe this detail to Lk. She was about twelve.

ἐσχάτως ἔχει. In extremis est (Vulg.). Josephus (Ant. IX. viii. 6) has ἐν ἐσχάτοις ὄντα. Mt. says that Jairus reported that she was already dead; and he begs to have her restored to life.

ἵνα ἐλθὼν ἐπιθῇς. It is easy to understand some such verb as παρακαλῶ or θέλω. Cf. 2 Corinthians 8:7; Ephesians 5:33. In Mark 10:51 the preceding θέλεις supplies the ellipse. Blass § 64. 4. Vulg. makes two imperatives, veni impone manus; so also Syr-Sin. [1079] is similar, ἐλθὲ ἅψαι αὐτῆς ἐκ τῶν χειρῶν σου. Here, as in Mark 1:27, strong feeling breaks the utterance. Jairus believes that Christ can heal, but that He must come and touch in order to do so. As a symbol of blessing the imposition of hands aided the sufferer’s faith, and Christ often used it (Mark 1:41, Mark 6:5, Mark 7:32, Mark 8:23; Mark 8:25).

Verse 24

24. ἀπῆλθεν. “He went away with him at once, and the crowd kept on following and pressing on Him,” so that He moves with difficulty. The change from aor. to imperf. is accurate, and the change from sing. (ἠκολούθει) to plur. (συνέθλιβον) is natural.

Verse 25

25. οὖσα ἐν ῥύσει αἵματος. “Being in a condition of hemorrhage.” Cf. ἐν ἐκστάσει, ἐν φθορᾷ, ἐν ἔχθρᾳ: ῥύσις is from the unused ῥύω, whence the late forms ἔρρυσα and ἔρρυκα. The accumulation of participles is here very remarkable: we have seven in three verses. See on Mark 1:15.

Verse 26

26. πολλὰ παθοῦσα ὑπὸ πολλῶν. Elegant classical Greek. Multa perpessa a compluribus (Vulg.) does not reproduce the effective repetition. Here probably πολλά is cogn. acc. rather than adverbial; many things of many physicians (A.V., R.V.). The remedies employed by Jewish doctors, some severe, and others silly and disgusting, are given by John Lightfoot. This verse is peculiar to Mk. The beloved physician, in consideration to the profession, tones it down to οὐκ ἴσχυσεν ὑπʼ οὐδενὸς θεραπευθῆναι, for ἰατροῖς προσαναλώσασα ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς are omitted in [1080][1081] Syr-Sin. and are of doubtful authority. Even if they are admitted, there is no mention of her sufferings at the hands of the doctors, or of her having been made worse by them, and the cause of failure is her want of strength to profit by treatment rather than their want of skill. In the [1082] text of Tobit 2:10, it is said that he went (every morning, Chal.) to the physicians to be treated for his eyesight, and that the more they anointed him with their drugs, the worse the white films became, until he was totally blind. Wetstein quotes Menander, πολλῶν ἰατρῶν εἴσοδός μʼ ἀπώλεσε. Plin. Hist. Nat. xxix. 5, Hinc illa infelicis monumenti inscriptio, turba se medicorum periisse. Petronius 42, Plures medici illum perdiderunt.

δαπανήσασα. This verb of simple meaning occurs five times in N.T., and Vulg. uses four different words in translating it, erogo here, dissipo Luke 15:14, inpendo Acts 21:24 and 2 Corinthians 12:15, insumo James 4:3. Note the combination of participles.

τὰ παρʼ αὐτῆς. Cf. τὰ παρʼ αὐτῶν, Luke 10:7, τὰ παρʼ ὑμῶν, Philippians 4:18. In each case παρά indicates the passage of something from one to another: τό or τά before prepositions is freq. in Lk. and Acts, rare in Mk and Mt., and nowhere in Jn.

μηδὲν ὠφεληθεῖσα. The μηδέν (not οὐδέν) does not prove that this is given as her conviction rather than as an actual fact; in N.T., μή with participles is usual, even when facts are stated. See on Mark 2:4.

Verse 27

27. τὰ περὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. His fame as a Healer. Cf. Luke 24:19; Luke 24:27; Acts 18:25; Acts 28:31. The τά is genuine ([1083][1084][1085][1086][1087][1088]).

ὄπισθεν. So that He might not see her. Mt. and Lk. say that she touched His κράσπεδον, the “tassel” or “corner,” two of which would hang behind. See Driver on Deuteronomy 22:12. Nowhere else in Mk have we so long a sentence (25–27).

Verse 28

28. ἔλεγεν γάρ. For she had been saying; see on Mark 5:8. Mt. adds ἐν ἑαυτῇ, which [1089][1090][1091][1092] 33 insert in Mk, and no doubt it is true in fact. She would not speak aloud of her malady or of her intention.

Ἐὰν ἅψωμαι κἂν τῶν ἱματίων. If I should lay hold of if even His garments. Cf. Mark 6:56; Winer, p. 730. The plur. denotes the clothes as a whole, not two ἱμάτια (Mark 15:20). There is a superficial resemblance to the action of Valeria, sister of Hortensius, who came behind Sulla in the theatre and took a little of the nap off his robe. Replying to his amazement she said, “I only wish to have a little share in your prosperity” (Plut. Sulla, sub fin.). Theophylact contrasts the woman’s faith in the power of Christ’s robe with the half-faith of Jairus, who thought that Christ could heal with a touch, but not with a word spoken at a distance. He adds that he who believes in the Incarnation has touched Christ’s robe.

Verse 29

29. ἴαται. The suddenness (εὐθύς, Lk. παραχρῆμα) of the cure convinced her of its permanence; hence the perf. The verb occurs here only in Mk, but in “the physician” it is freq. See on Mark 10:52.

Verse 30

30. καὶ εὐθὺςἐπιγνούς. His perception of what had taken place was simultaneous with the sudden cure.

ἐπιγνοὺς ἐν ἑαυτῷἐξελθοῦσαν. Cf. Mark 2:8. The compound seems to indicate the superiority of His knowledge to hers (ἔγνω). Neither A.V. nor R.V. is correct as to ἐξελθοῦσαν. It does not mean that the power went forth without Christ’s knowledge, and that He did not know of its operation until after it had gone forth and worked the cure. The ἐπιγνούς and the ἐξελθοῦσαν were simultaneous, and to express this in English, as in Latin, the participle must become an Infinitive; perceiving in Himself His miraculous power go forth. R.V. has a similar error Luke 10:18, where ἐθεώρουν and πεσόντα are simultaneous; therefore I beheld Satan fall (A.V.) is right, and “fallen” (R.V.) cannot stand. Christ did not mean that He saw Satan prostrate. Here the meaning is that as soon as the hand of faith touched Christ’s robe there was a response on His part, a response of which He was conscious. We may think of Him as ceaselessly willing to respond to such calls, however imperfectly they might be made.

ἐπιστραφείς. Another combination of participles; see on Mark 1:15. As in Mark 8:33, this passive form is middle in sense. He turned because the touch had come from behind.

Τίς μου ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων; Who laid hold of My garments? “Touched” is hardly adequate; cf. Mark 1:41, Mark 3:10. It was good for the woman that she should come forward and confess her faith and its result, and Christ may have asked the question for her sake. For educational purposes He sometimes asked questions of which He knew the answer (Mark 9:33). But He seems to have abstained from using supernatural power in cases in which the knowledge could be obtained without it. “How many loaves have ye? go and see” (Mark 6:38; cf. Mark 8:5), “How long time is it since this hath come to him?” (Mark 9:21), “Where have ye laid him?” (John 11:34), are questions in which He asked for information. Mt. omits these and other questions which seem to imply ignorance on the part of Christ; see on Mark 8:12; Mark 8:23, Mark 9:16, Mark 14:14.

Verse 31

31. οἱ μαθηταί. Lk. says that it was Peter, and the impulsive remark is characteristic of him; cf. Mark 1:36, Mark 8:32. The difference between unsympathetic pressing and sympathetic grasping in spiritual contact with Christ has been often pointed out. Caro premit, fides tangit (Aug.).

Verse 32

32. περιεβλέπετο ἰδεῖν. Lk. records a reply to Peter; but it seems to be constructed out of our Mark 5:30. Here Christ makes no reply, but follows up His own question with a searching look all round (Mark 3:5; Mark 3:34, Mark 10:23, Mark 11:11); and this is more impressive. The fem. τὴν τ. ποιήσασαν may mean that He already knew who she was. But it probably merely anticipates the discovery, for the imperf. implies that He continued looking around before the ἰδεῖν (Mark 4:12) took place.

Verse 33

33. φοβηθεῖσα καὶ τρέμουσα, εἰδυῖα. The change of tense intimates that she had been frightened and was still trembling. But see on Mark 5:36. The three participles (Mark 1:15) indicate that even if she had denied it (Lk.’s favourite πάντων need not include her), her manner would have betrayed her. She may have feared that she had been too bold and that her malady might return; she was not afraid that she had made Him Levitically unclean by touching His clothes. Chrysostom suggests that she was made to declare her malady and the manner of its cure in order to sustain the failing faith of Jairus.

πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν. A classical expression; the whole truth. Socrates (Plato Apol. 17), after saying that his accusers have uttered scarcely a word that is true, promises the Athenians that they shall hear from him πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν.

Verse 34

34. ἡ πίστις σου σ. σ. Cf. Mark 10:52. Calvin points out that these words do not encourage a belief in the efficacy of relics. With the address comp. τέκνον (Mark 2:5).

ὕπαγε εἰς εἰρήνην. Cf. Luke 7:50; Luke 8:48, 1 Samuel 1:17; 1 Samuel 20:42. Stronger than ἐν εἰρήνῃ (Acts 16:36; James 2:16), which attaches the peace to the moment of departure rather than to the subsequent life. Vade in pace (Vulg.) is inadequate.

ἴσθι ὑγιὴς ἀπό. Be safe from; there is no fear of a return of the infliction. See on Mark 3:10.

Bernice or Veronica as the name of this woman first appears in the Acts of Pilate, Gospel of Nicodemus i. 7. Eusebius (H. E. vii. 18) saw statues at Caesarea which were erroneously believed to represent Christ and this woman. Sozomen (Mark 5:21) and Philostorgius (Mark 7:3) say that Julian removed the statue of Christ and set up one of himself, which was destroyed by lightning. Ps.-Ambrosius (serm. 46) has the strange idea that this woman was Martha, the sister of Lazarus. Macarius Magnes (Mark 1:6) makes her a princess of Edessa.

Verse 35

35. Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος. As in Mark 14:43. Cf. Acts 10:44; Job 1:16-18. While He was yet speaking.

ἔρχονται. This may be impersonal; “some one comes.” Cf. δώσουσιν (Luke 6:38), αἰτοῦσιν and αἰτήσουσιν (Luke 12:20; Luke 12:48). See on Luke 12:20.

ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀρχισυναγώγου. From his house, probably sent by his wife (Mark 5:40); the ruler himself is with Christ, and the message is addressed to him. His anxiety during the delay caused by the woman with the issue must have been intense. Evidently, the family had no hope of a resurrection, if the child died. Mt. omits this message and makes the ruler report the death of the child and ask for restoration to life, which is much less probable. A man who believed that Christ must be present in order to heal would not expect a resurrection.

ἀπέθανεν. Cf. Mark 9:26; John 11:14. As in the case of ἐξέστη (Mark 3:21), these aorists are almost perfects, expressing present effect of recent past action; therefore not “she died,” but she is dead. In John 8:52-53, the aor. has its proper force, the point being that they died then rather than that they “are dead” (A.V., R.V.) now. In that case the past action was not recent.

σκύλλεις. Like βάλλω (Mark 2:22, Mark 4:26), σκύλλω illustrates the tendency of words to become weaker in meaning; it signifies [1] “flay,” [2] “mangle,” [3] “vex,” “annoy” (Matthew 9:36; Luke 7:6). Comp. the French gêner and gêne, which is a doublet of gehenne.

Verses 35-43


Matthew 9:23-26. Luke 8:49-56

Verse 36

36. παρακούσας. Not heeding (R.V.) rather than “overhearing” (R.V. marg.). So Matthew 18:17 bis and always (7 times) in LXX. The aor. part. of antecedent action is often rightly translated by pres. part. Cf. ἐπιγνούς in Mark 5:30, and perhaps φοβηθεῖσα, Mark 5:33. Burton, § 138.

΄ὴ φοβοῦ, μόνον πίστευε. The pres. imperat. in each case has its full force; Cease to fear; only continue to believe. Fear that his petition to Christ would now be useless had begun to shake the father’s faith. See on Mark 6:38.

Verse 37

37. οὐκ ἀφῆκεν οὐδένα. Double negative; see on Mark 1:44. Perhaps most of the crowd dispersed at the news of the girl’s death, and Christ dismissed the rest. He wished to disturb the mourning household as little as possible; but a few independent witnesses might be needed. Peter, James and John is the order in Mk (Mark 3:16, Mark 9:2, Mark 13:3, Mark 14:33). Lk. usually puts John before James (Luke 8:51; Luke 9:28; Acts 1:13). When Lk. wrote, John was the better known of the two. It was to these three, and to these three alone, that Christ Himself gave names, Peter and Boanerges. See crit. note.

Verse 38

38. θεωρεῖ θόρυβον. Beholdeth a tumult. The house is full of an excited throng who are screaming lamentations (Jeremiah 4:8) to express sympathy with the bereaved parents, and Christ gazes (Mark 5:15) at the unseemly tumult (Mark 14:2; Matthew 27:24; Acts 21:34). He must have been some distance from the house when Jairus found Him. Since the father left home the child has died and the professional mourners (Amos 5:16) have arrived.

Verse 39

39. Τί θορυβεῖσθε; He stills this tumult, like that of the storm on the Lake, and that made by the demoniac (Mark 1:25, Mark 4:39); but here, as He has rational beings to deal with, He reasons with them first.

οὐκ ἀπέθανεν. Aor. as in Mark 5:35. The probable meaning is that Christ knew that He was about to recall her to life, and therefore He says καθεύδει of her, as He says κεκοίμηται of Lazarus (John 11:11). The Evangelists regard her as dead, Lk. expressly so. Hominibus mortua, Deo dormiebat (Bede). But it is possible that He knew that she was only in a trance.

Verse 40

40. κατεγέλων αὐτοῦ. They laughed derisively at Him; laughed Him to scorn. Cf. καταγινώσκω, κατακρίνω, καταψηφίζομαι. The gen. is normal. Sadler may be right in suggesting that their ridicule was interested, for their pay as mourners depended upon her being dead, not asleep.

ἐκβαλὼν πάντας. These mourners, whether hired or friends of the family, would be unwilling to go; cf. Mark 11:15, and for αὐτὸς δέ, “But He on His part,” Mark 1:8, and often in Lk.

παραλαμβάνει. This is the common use of παραλαμβάνω in the Gospels, of Christ taking others with Him (Mark 9:2, Mark 10:32, Mark 14:33); Mark 4:36 is exceptional. Euthymius suggests that the father and mother were witnesses in the family’s interests, the chosen Three in Christ’s interest. All five were sympathetic and believing witnesses, like the bearers of the paralytic (Mark 2:3). See crit. note.

Verse 41

41. κρατήσας τῆς χειρός. See on Mark 1:31.

Ταλειθά, κούμ. See crit. note. The extraordinary shapes which these Aramaic words are made to assume in some texts may be ignored. English Versions have not escaped; Wiclif has Tabita, Tyndale has Tabitha, and Coverdale Thabitha. Cf. Mark 7:34, Mark 11:9, Mark 14:36, Mark 15:34. On the Aramaic expressions preserved in the Gospels, esp. in Mk and Jn, see Zahn, Intr. to N.T., I. pp. 2 f. Both Christ and His disciples habitually spoke Aramaic, although He, and perhaps most of them, sometimes spoke Greek. G. Milligan, N.T. Documents, p. 36.

Τὸ κοράσιον. See on Mark 5:8; Lk. ἡ παῖς. The diminutive occurs only in Mk and Mt., and only of this maiden and the dancing girl (Mark 6:22). The Aramaic hardly justifies the insertion of σοὶ λέγω. As in Mark 3:17 and Mark 15:34, the rendering of Aramaic given by Mk raises questions.

Verse 42

42. εὐθὺς ἀνέστηπεριεπάτει. Lk. again has παραχρῆμα where Mk has εὐθύς (Mark 5:29). The change of tense is accurate; the rising was instantaneous, the walking continued. The latter, mentioned by Mk only, like διηκόνει αὐτοῖς (Mark 1:31), showed the completeness of the restoration. Bede remarks that spiritual resurrection must be followed by virtuous activity.

ἦν γὰρ ἐτῶν δώδεκα. “For she was old enough to walk.” Bengel notes that her life began when the woman’s affliction began (Mark 5:25).

ἐξέστησαν εὐθὺς ἐκστάσει μεγάλῃ. See crit. note and cf. Mark 4:41; Genesis 27:33. We have ἔκστασις = “amazement” Mark 16:8; Luke 5:26; Acts 3:10; elsewhere “a trance,” Acts 10:10; Acts 22:17.

Verse 43

43. διεστείλατο. One of Mk’s words; he has it five times; elsewhere in N.T. thrice.

ἵνα μηδεὶς γνοῖ τοῦτο. See crit. note. The charge is perplexing, for it would be impossible to keep such a miracle secret, and perhaps for this reason Mt. omits it; but his narrative throughout is greatly abbreviated. The object would be to let no one know till He had time to leave the place and avoid the unspiritual admiration of the crowd. Christ seems to have wished to minimize the miracle (Mark 5:39), certainly not to astound them with it. When the child arose and walked, they would say, “He was right after all; she was only asleep” (Lagrange). And it was best for the recipients of this great benefit that they should not talk, but be thankful. Cf. Mark 7:36, Mark 9:9, where διαστέλλομαι is again used. For γνοῖ see on παραδοῖ, Mark 4:29.

δοθῆναι αὐτῇ φαγεῖν. In the joy of recovering their child the parents might have forgotten this. “Life restored by miracle must be supported by ordinary means; miracle has no place where human care will suffice” (Swete). Christ does not employ supernatural means of knowing where information can be gained by asking (see on Mark 5:30). The stone that closed the tomb of Lazarus was removed by human labour (John 11:39; John 11:41). The gate which Rhoda could unfasten did not open of its own accord (Acts 12:10; Acts 12:16). Some Fathers regard this command as given to prove the reality of the restoration to life, because Christ ate in order to prove the reality of His Resurrection (Luke 24:43); but the idea is out of place here. For εἶπεν, told = bade, cf. Mark 8:7.


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Mark 5:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

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