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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Mark 5

 

 

Verse 1

Mark 5:1. εἰς τὴν χῶραν τ. γερασηνῶν: on the proper name to the place vide at the parallel place in Mt.


Verses 1-20

Mark 5:1-20. The Gerasene Demoniac (Matthew 8:28-34, Luke 8:26-39).


Verse 2

Mark 5:2. ἐξελ. αὐτοῦὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ; note the correction of style in Luke. Mark’s incorrectness is to be preferred as emphasising the fact that the meeting with the demoniac took place immediately after leaving the boat. Just on that account the εὐθὺς before ὑπήντησεν (omitted in (32)) is unnecessary.— ἐκ τ. μνημείων, from the tombs, as in Mt., ἐκ τῆς πόλεως in Lk.; the former doubtless the fact. Luke’s phrase probably means that he belonged to the city, not necessarily implying that he came from it just then (vide Luke 8:27, last clause).


Verses 3-5

Mark 5:3-5 elaborately describe the man’s condition, as if the evangelist or rather his informant (Peter) were fascinated by the subject; not a case of idle word-painting, but of realistic description from vivid, almost morbid, recollection. Holtzmann (H. C.) refers to Isaiah 65:4-5, as if to suggest that some elements of the picture—dwelling in tombs, eating swine’s flesh—were taken thence.— τὴν κατ., the, i.e. his dwelling, implying though not emphasising constant habit (perpetuum, Fritzsche), Lk., “for a long time”.— οὐδὲ, οὐκέτι, οὐδεὶς: energetic accumulation of negatives, quite in the spirit of the Greek language. At this point the sentence breaks away from the relative construction as if in sympathy with the untamable wildness of the demoniac.


Verse 4

Mark 5:4 tells how they had often tried to bind the madman, feet ( πέδαις) and hands ( ἁλύσεσι, with chains, for the hands here, in contrast to πέδαις, chains for the feet; usually it means chains in general).— συντετρῖφθαι: the use of a distinct verb in reference to the fetters suggests that they were of different material, either cords (Meyer) or wooden (Schanz), and that we should render συντετ., not “broken in pieces” (A.V(33)), but rubbed through as if by incessant friction.


Verse 5

Mark 5:5. As the previous verse depicts the demoniac strength, so this the utter misery of the poor sufferer.— διὰ παντὸς νυκ. κ. ἡμέρ., incessantly night time and day time, even during night when men gladly get under roof (Weiss, Mc.-Evang.) and when sleep makes trouble cease for most: no sleep for this wretch, or quiet resting-place.— ἐν τ. μνήμασι κ. τ. ὄρεσι, in tombs or on mountains, in cave or out in the open, there was but one occupation for him: not rest or sleep, but ceaseless outcry and self-laceration ( κράζων, κατακόπτων ἑσυτ. λίθοις).


Verse 6

Mark 5:6. ἀπὸ μακρόθεν, from afar, a relative expression, a favourite pleonasm in Mk. (Mark 14:54, Mark 15:40).— προσεκύνησεν: worshipful attitude, as of one who feels already the charm or spell of Him before whom he kneels; already there is a presentiment and commencement of cure, though not yet welcome.


Verses 6-13

Mark 5:6-13. Meeting with Jesus. This desperate case will test Christ’s power to heal. Madness, as wild and untamable as the wind or the sea. What is going to happen?


Verse 7

Mark 5:7. τ. θ. τοῦ ὑψίστου; Mt. has τοῦ θεοῦ only. Luke gives the full expression = the Son of God Most High. Which is the original? Weiss (Meyer) says Mt.’s, Mk. adding τ. ὑψ. to prepare for the appeal to One higher even than Jesus, in ὁρκίζω following. But why should not the demoniac himself do that?— ὁρκίζω: in classics to make swear, in N. T. (here and in Acts 19:13) to adjure with double accusative; not good Greek according to Phryn.; ὁρκόω the right word.— μή με βασανίσῃς: no πρὸ καιροῦ as in Mt., the reference apparently to the present torment of demoniac or demon, or both; either shrinking from cure felt to be impending.


Verse 8

Mark 5:8. ἔλεγεν γὰρ, for He was about to say: not yet said, but evident from Christ’s manner and look that it was on His tongue; the conative imperfect (Weiss).


Verse 9

Mark 5:9. τί σοι ὄνομα; instead of saying at once what He had meant to say, Jesus adopts a roundabout method of dealing with the case, and asks the demoniac his name, as if to bring him into composure.— λεγιὼν: from the Roman legion not a rare sight in that region, emblem of irresistible power and of a multitude organised into unity; the name already naturalised into Greek and Aramaean. The use of it by the demoniac, like the immediate recognition of Jesus as a God-like person, reveals a sensitive, fine-strung mind wrecked by insanity.


Verse 10

Mark 5:10. παρεκάλει: he, Legion, in the name of the demons, beseeches earnestly ( πολλὰ) that He would not send them ( αὐτὰ) out of the region ( χώρας). Decapolis, beloved by demons, suggests Grotius, because full of Hellenising apostate Jews, teste Joseph. (A. J., xvii., 11).


Verse 11

Mark 5:11. ἐκεῖ, there, near by. Cf. Matthew 8:30.— πρὸς τῷ ὄρει; on the mountain side.


Verse 12

Mark 5:12. πέμψον: send us into the swine; no chance of permission to enter into men; no expectation either of the ensuing catastrophe.


Verse 13

Mark 5:13. καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν: permission, not command, to enter; in Mt. not even that, simply a peremptory: Depart! vide notes there.— εἰσῆλθον: an inference from the sequel; neither exit nor entrance could be seen. There was doubtless a coincidence between the cure and the catastrophe.— ὡς δισχίλιοι: about 2000, an estimate of the herds possibly exaggerated.— ἐπνίγοντο ( πνίγω, to choke), were drowned, used in this sense in Joseph., A. J., x., 7, 5, regarding Jeremiah in the dungeon.


Verse 14

Mark 5:14. εἰς τὴν πόλιν, etc.: the herds of course ran in breathless panic-stricken haste to report the tragedy in the city and in the neighbouring farms ( ἀγρούς).— καὶ ἦλθον, etc.: and the people in town and country as naturally went to see what had happened. Their road brings them straight to Jesus (Mark 5:15), and they see there a sight which astonishes them, the well-known and dreaded demoniac completely altered in manner and aspect: sitting ( καθήμενον) quiet, not restless; clothed ( ἱματισμένον here and in Luke 8:35), implying previous nakedness, which is expressly noted by Lk. (Luke 8:27), sane ( σωφρονοῦντα), implying previous madness. For this sense of the verb vide 2 Corinthians 5:13. Some take the second and third participle as subordinate to the first, but they may be viewed as co-ordinate, denoting three distinct, equally outstanding, characteristics: “sedentem, vestitum, sanae mentis, cum antea fuisset sine quiete, vestibus, rationis usu” (Bengel)—all this had happened to the man who had had the Legion! ( τὸν ἐσχ. τ. λεγιῶνα)— ἐσχηκότα, perfect in sense of pluperfect. Burton, § 156.— ἐφοβήθησαν: they were afraid, of the sane man, as much as they had been of the insane, i.e., of the power which had produced the change.


Verses 14-20

Mark 5:14-20. Sequel of the story.


Verse 16

Mark 5:16. The eyewitnesses in further explanations to their employers now connect the two events together—the cure and the catastrophe—not representing the one as cause of the other, but simply as happening close to each other. The owners draw a natural inference: cure cause of catastrophe, and (Mark 5:17) request Jesus, as a dangerous person, to retire.— ἤρξαντο, began to request, pointing to transition from vague awe in presence of a great change to desire to be rid of Him whom they believed to be the cause both of it and of the loss of their swine. Fritzsche takes ἤρξαντο as meaning that Jesus did not need much pressure, but withdrew on the first hint of their wish.


Verse 18

Mark 5:18. ἐμβαίνοντος, embarking, the same day? Jesus had probably intended to stay some days on the eastern shore as on the hill (Mark 3:13), to let the crowd disperse.— ἵνα μετʼ αὐτοῦ : an object clause after verb of exhorting with ἵνα, and subjunctive instead of infinitive as often in N. T., that he might be with Him (recalling Mark 3:14). The man desired to become a regular disciple. Victor of Ant., Theophy., Grotius, and partly Schanz think his motive was fear lest the demons might return.


Verse 19

Mark 5:19. Jesus refuses, and, contrary to His usual practice, bids the healed one go and spread the news, as a kind of missionary to Decapolis, as the Twelve were to Galilee. The first apostle of the heathen (Holtz. (H. C.) after Volkmar). Jesus determined that those who would not have Himself should have His representative.— πεποίηκεν, perfect, the effect abiding: hath done for me, as you see.— ἠλέησέν σε: pitied thee at the time of cure. ὅσα may be understood before ἠλ. = and how, etc., or καὶ ἠλ. may be a Hebraising way of speaking for ἐλεήσας σε (Grotius).— κυριός: the subject to the two verbs = God, as in O. T. Sept(34) (34)Septuagint.


Verse 20

Mark 5:20. ἐν τῇ δεκαπόλει: he took a wide range; implying probably that he was known throughout the ten cities as the famous madman of Gerasa. What was the effect of his mission in that Greek world? Momentary wonder at least ( ἐθαύμαζον), perhaps not much more.


Verse 21

Mark 5:21. ὄχλος πολὺς: the inescapable crowd, in no hurry to disperse, gathers again about Jesus, on His return to the western shore.— ἐπʼ αὐτόν: not merely to, but after Him, the great centre of attraction (cf. πρὸς α., Mark 2:13, Mark 4:1).— παρὰ τ. θ., by the sea (here and there); how soon after the arrival the incident happened not indicated (cf. Matthew 9:18 for sequence and situation), nor is the motive of the narrative. Weiss suggests that the Jairus story is given as another instance of unreceptivity, Mark 5:40 (Meyer).


Verses 21-43

Mark 5:21-43. The daughter of Jairus and the woman with bloody issue (Matthew 9:18-26, Luke 8:40-56).


Verse 22

Mark 5:22. εἷς τ. .: might imply a plurality of synagogues, each having its chief ruler. But in Acts 13:14-15, one syn. has its ἀρχισωνάγωζοι.


Verse 23

Mark 5:23. θυγάτριόν μ.: an instance of Mk.’s love of diminutives, again in Mark 7:25.— ἐσχάτως ἔχει, is extremely ill, at death’s door (in Mt. dead), stronger than κακῶς ἔχει; a late Greek phrase (examples in Elsner, Wetstein, Kypke, etc.), disapproved by Phryn. (Lobeck, p. 389).— ἵνα ἐλθὼν ἐπιθῇς: either used as an imperative (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3, ἵνα παραγγείλῃς), or dependent on some verb understood, e.g., δεόμαί σου (Palairet), ἥκω (Fritzsche); better παρακαλῶ σε, the echo of παρεκάλει going before (Grotius. Similarly Euthy. Zig.).


Verse 25

Mark 5:25. ἐν ῥύσει . = αἱμορροοῦσα of Mt.: in or with a flux of blood. So in Lk. also.


Verses 25-34

Mark 5:25-34. The woman with an issue.


Verse 26

Mark 5:26. Details about the case, similarly in Lk., not in Mt.: either they expand or Mt. abbreviates.— πολλὰ παθοῦσα: no wonder, remarks Lightfoot, in view of the endless prescriptions for such a case, of which he gives samples (Hor. Heb.); physicians of the empiric or prescientific type.— τὰ παρʼ αὐτῆς, her means, cf. οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ, Mark 3:21.— μηδὲν ὠφελ: nothing profited, the subjective negative, μηδὲν, implies disappointed expectation.


Verse 27

Mark 5:27. ἀκούσασα· to simplify the construction of this long sentence (Mark 5:25-27) we may, with Fritzsche, connect this participle with γυνὴ, Mark 5:25, and treat all between as a parenthesis = a certain woman (whose case was, etc.) having heard, etc.— τὰ περὶ τ. ι. The importance of the τὰ ((35) (36) (37)(38)*(39). W.H(40)) here is that with it the expression means not merely that the woman had heard of the return of Jesus from the east side, but that she had for the first time heard of Christ’s healing ministry in general. She must have been a stranger from a distance, e.g., from Caesarea Philippi, her home, according to Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., vii., 18), her house identifiable with a statue reproducing the gospel incident before the door; possibly a heathen, but more probably, from her behaviour, a Jewess—stealing a cure by touch when touch by one in her state was forbidden (Leviticus 15:19-27).


Verse 29

Mark 5:29. ἐξηράνθη πηγὴ: perhaps this means no more than Lk.’s statement that the flux was stopped, but the expression seems chosen to signify a complete permanent cure—not merely the stream but the fountain dried.— ἔγνω τ. σ.: she was conscious that the flow had ceased ( ἔγνω διὰ τοῦ σώματος μηκέτι ῥαινομένου τοῖς σταλαγμοῖς, Euthy. Zig.).


Verse 30

Mark 5:30. ἐπιγνοὺς τὴνδύναμιν ἐξελθοῦσαν, conscious of the going forth of the healing virtue; ἐξελθ. is the substantive participle as object of the verb ἐπιγνοὺς. The statement as given by Mk. (and Lk.) implies that the cure was not wrought by the will of Jesus. But it may nevertheless have been so. Jesus may have felt the touch, divined its meaning, and consented to the effect. Vide on Mt., ad loc,— τίς f1μου ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων: who touched me on my clothes? This verb here, as usual, takes genitive both of person and thing (Buttmann’s Grammar, N. T., p. 167).


Verse 31

Mark 5:31. τὸν ὀχ. συνθλίβοντά f1σε, the crowd squeezing Thee, as in Mark 5:24. The simple verb in Mark 3:9. The compound implies a greater crowd, or a more eager pressure around Jesus. How exciting and fatiguing that rude popularity for Him!


Verse 32

Mark 5:32. περιεβλέπετο: Jesus, knowing well the difference between touch and touch, regardless of what the disciples had plausibly said, kept looking around in quest of the person who had touched Him meaningfully.— τὴν τ. ποιήσασαν: feminine, a woman’s touch. Did Jesus know that, or is it the evangelist choosing the gender in accordance with the now known fact? (Meyer and Weiss). The former possible, without preternatural knowledge, through extreme sensitiveness.


Verse 33

Mark 5:33. φοβ. καὶ τρέμ., fearing and trembling, the two states closely connected and often combined (2 Corinthians 7:15, Ephesians 6:5, Philippians 2:12).— εἰδυῖα, etc., explains her emotion: she knew what had happened to her, and thought what a dreadful thing it would be to have the surreptitiously obtained benefit recalled by an offended benefactor disapproving her secrecy and her bold disregard of the ceremonial law.— πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν, the whole truth, which would include not only what she had just done, but her excuse for doing it—the pitiful tale of chronic misery. From that tale impressively told, heard by disciples, and not easily to be forgotten, the particulars in Mark 5:26 were in all probability derived.


Verse 34

Mark 5:34. The woman had already heard the fame of Jesus (Mark 5:27). From what Jesus said to her she would for the first time get some idea of His exquisite sympathy, delicately expressed in the very first word: θύγατερ, daughter, to a mature woman, probably not much, if at all, younger than Himself! He speaks not as man to woman, but as father to child.

Note how vivid is Mark’s story compared with the meagre colourless version of Matthew 1 A lively impressionable eye-witness, like Peter, evidently behind it.


Verse 35

Mark 5:35. ἀπὸ τ. ἀρχισ., from the ruler of the synagogue, i.e., from his house, as in A.V(41) ( ἀπὸ τῆς οἰκίας τ. σ., Euthy.). The ruler is supposed to be with Jesus all the time.


Verses 35-43

Mark 5:35-43. The story of Jairus’ daughter resumed.


Verse 36

Mark 5:36. παρακούσας: might mean to disregard, as in Matthew 18:17 (with genitive). So Meyer; but here probably it means overhearing a word not spoken directly to Him. The two senses are quite compatible. Jesus might overhear what was said and disregard its import, i.e., act contrary to the implied suggestion that nothing could now be done in the case. The latter He certainly did.— πίστευε, present, continue in a believing mood, even in presence of death.


Verse 37

Mark 5:37. συνακολουθῆσαι: here with μετά, in Mark 14:51, and Luke 23:49 with dative.— τὸν πέτρον, etc., Peter, James, and John; earliest trace of preference within the disciple-circle. Not in Mt., but followed by Lk. The three chosen to be witnesses of a specially remarkable event. Perhaps the number of disciples was restricted to three not to crowd the house.


Verse 38

Mark 5:38. θεωρεῖ: what was I going on within the house appealed to both eye and ear; here the scene is described from the spectacular side—a multitude of people seen making a confused din ( θόρυβον), in which sounds of weeping and howling without restraint ( πολλά) are distinguishable.— καὶ after θόρυβον is epexegetic, and κλαίοντας and ἀλαλάζοντας special features under it as a general. Flute playing (Matthew 9:23) not referred to.


Verse 40

Mark 5:40. κατεγέλων: this the point of the story for the evangelist, thinks Weiss, hence related after the demoniac—common link, the unbelief of the people. But surely in this case in credulity was very excusable!— τὸν παρέρα, etc.: father, mother, and the three disciples taken into the sick chamber, the former as parents, the latter as witnesses.


Verse 41

Mark 5:41. ταλιθά, κοῦμ, maiden, rise! first instance in which the words of Jesus, as spoken in Aramaic, are given. Jesus may have been a bilingual, sometimes using Greek, sometimes Syriac. He would use the vernacular on a pathetic occasion like this. The word ταλιθά, feminine of Teli ( טְלִי), is found in the Hebrew only in the plural ( טְלָאִים).


Verse 42

Mark 5:42. περιεπάτει, etc.: the diminutive κοράσιον might suggest the idea of a mere child, therefore, after stating that she walked about, it is added that she was twelve years old. In Mk. only.


Verse 43

Mark 5:43. διεστείλατο: that the girl had recovered could not be hid, but that she had been brought back from death might be. Jesus wished this, not desiring that expectations of such acts should be awakened.— δοθῆναι φαγεῖν: she could walk and eat; not only alive, but well: “graviter aegroti vix solent cibum sumere,” Grotius.— εἶπεν here takes the infinitive after it, not, as often, ἵνα with subjunctive.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Mark 5:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/mark-5.html. 1897-1910.

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