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Bible Commentaries

The Fourfold Gospel

Mark 5

Verses 1-21


LVI.
JESUS HEALS TWO GERGESENE DEMONIACS.
(Gergesa, now called Khersa.)
aMATT. VIII. 28-34; IX. 1; bMARK V. 1-21; cLUKE VIII. 26-40.

b1 And they came to the other side of the sea [They left in the "even," an elastic expression. If they left in the middle of the afternoon and were driven forward by the storm, they would have reached the far shore several hours before dark], c26 And they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is over against Galilee. a28 And when he was come into the country of the Gadarenes. c27 And when he was come forth bout of the boat, cupon the land [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," 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], bstraightway there met him out of the tombs ca certain man out of the city [Gergesa], bwith an unclean spirit, cwho had demons; b3 who had his dwelling in the tombs: cand abode not in any house, but in the tombs. [The sides of the mountain near the ruins of Gergesa are studded with natural and artificial caves which were used as tombs.] band no man could any more bind him, no, not with a chain; 4 because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been rent asunder by him, and the [344] fetters broken in pieces: and no man had strength to tame him. 5 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] cand for a long time he had worn no clothes, b6 and when he saw Jesus from afar, che cried out, bhe ran cand fell down before him, band worshipped him; 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he saith, {csaid,} What have I to do with thee [on this phrase, see Romans 10:7, Revelation 9:1, Revelation 9:2, Revelation 9:11, Revelation 11:7, Revelation 17:8, Revelation 20:1, Revelation 20:3. How these demons escaped from the abyss is one of the unsolved mysteries of the spirit world; but we have a parallel in the releasing of Satan-- Revelation 20:1-3.] a28b And there met him two possessed with demons, coming forth out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man could pass by that way. [Matthew tells of two, while Mark and Luke describe only one. 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.] 29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? [The judgment-day, the time of punishment and torment-- Matthew 25:41, 2 Peter 2:4, Judges 1:6.] b11 Now there was there aafar off from them bon the mountain side a great herd aof many swine feeding. 31 And the demons besought him, cand they entreated him that he would give them leave to enter into them. asaying, If thou cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine. bthat we may enter into them. 13 And he gave them leave. a32 And he said unto them, Go. And they bthe unclean spirits cthe demons came out of the man, and entered aand went into the swine: and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep into the sea, {cthe lake,} bin number about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea. aand perished in the waters. [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. [346] 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 murrain, by flood, or by any 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 7:31-37.] cand he went his way, publishing throughout the whole city [Gergesa] how great things Jesus had done for him. band began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him [for the cities which constituted Decapolis, see page 173]: and all men marvelled. 21 And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat unto the other side, a great multitude was gathered unto him: and he was by the sea. c40 And as Jesus returned, the multitude welcomed him; for they were all waiting for him. [They could see the sail of his boat as he started back.] a1 And he came into his own city. [Capernaum.] [348]

[FFG 344-348]

Verses 23-43


LVIII.
JAIRUS’ DAUGHTER AND THE INVALID WOMAN.
(Capernaum, same day as last.)
aMATT. IX. 18-26; bMARK V. 22-43; cLUKE VIII. 41-56.

c41 And a18 While he spake these things unto them [while he talked about fasting at Matthew’s table], behold, there came, {bcometh} ca man named Jairus, {bJairus by name;} cand he was a ruler {bone of the rulers} of the synagogue [He 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, che fell {bfalleth} cdown at Jesus’ feet, aand worshipped him [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], cand besought him to come into his house; 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. b23 and beseecheth him much, saying, My little daughter is at the point of death: ais even now dead [he left her dying, [352] and so stated his fears in the very strongest way]: but bI pray thee, that thou come and lay thy hands on {ahand upon} her, bthat she may be made whole, and live. aand she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose [From Matthew’s table. Jesus did not fast for form’s sake, but he was ever ready to leave a feast that he might confer a favor], and followed him, and so did his disciples. b24 And he went him; and a great multitude followed 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], and they {cBut as he went the multitudes} thronged him. a20 And, behold, a woman, who had {chaving} an issue of blood twelve years, b26 and had suffered many things of many physicians, and cwho had spent ball that she had, call her living upon physicians, band was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, cand could not be healed of any [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. One in easy circumstances could readily spend all during twelve years of doctoring with such leeches.] b27 having heard the things concerning Jesus [her faith rested on hearing rather than on sight], came in the crowd behind, chim, and touched the border of his garment: a21 for she said within herself, If I do but touch his garment, {bgarments,} I shall be made whole. [The nature of her disease made her unclean ( Leviticus 15:26). Her consciousness of this made her, therefore, timidly approach Jesus from behind.] 29 And straightway {cimmediately} bthe fountain of her blood was dried up; cthe issue of her blood stanched. band 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.] 30 And straightway Jesus, perceiving in himself that the power proceeding from him had gone forth, turned him about in the [353] crowd, and said, Who touched my garments? cWho is it that touched me? And when all denied, Peter and they bhis disciples cthat were with him, bsaid unto him, cMaster, the multitude press thee and crush thee, bThou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? c46 But Jesus said, Some one did touch me: for I perceived that power had gone forth from me. b32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. c47 And {b33 But} cwhen the woman saw that she was not hid, she came bfearing 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 {cfalling} down before him band told him all the truth. cdeclared in the presence of all the people for what cause she touched him, and how she was healed immediately. [To have permitted the woman to depart without this exposure would have confirmed her in the mistaken notion that Jesus healed rather by his nature than by his will. Hence he questions her, not that he may obtain information, but rather as a means of imparting it. By his questions he reveals to her that no work of his is wrought without his consciousness, and that it was himself and not his garment which had blessed her.] a22 But Jesus turning and seeing her said, cunto her, aDaughter, be of good cheer [Faith gets a sweet welcome]; thy faith hath made thee whole. cgo in peace. band be whole of thy plague. [Be permanently whole: an assurance that relief was not temporal, but final.] aAnd the woman was made whole from that hour. [Faith healed her by causing her to so act as to obtain healing. Faith thus saves; not of itself, but by that which it causes us to do. It causes us to so run that we obtain.] b35 While he yet spake, they come from {cthere cometh one from} the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying, Thy daughter is dead: bwhy troublest thou the Teacher any further? ctrouble not the Teacher. [The delay caused by healing this woman must have sorely tried the ruler’s patience, and the sad [354] news which followed it must have severely tested his faith; but we hear no word of murmuring or bitterness from him.] 50 But Jesus hearing it, bnot heeding the words spoken [not succumbing to the situation], canswered him, {bsaith unto the ruler of the synagogue,} Fear not, only believe. cand she shall be made whole. [Thus, with words of confidence and cheer, Jesus revived the ruler’s failing faith.] b37 And 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.] c51 And when he came to the house, he suffered not any man to enter in with him, save Peter and John, and James, and the father of the maiden and her mother. b38 And they come to the house of the ruler of the synagogue; a23 And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, bhe beholdeth a tumult, and many weeping and wailing greatly. aand saw the flute-players, and the crowd making a tumult, 24 he said, Give place [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]: c52 And all were weeping, and bewailing her: but he said, {bsaith} unto them, Why make ye a tumult, and weep? cWeep not; she bthe child athe damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. [Jesus used this figurative language with regard to Lazarus, and explained by this he meant death-- John 11:14.] And they laughed him to scorn. cknowing that she was dead. [His words formed a criticism as to their judgment and experience as to death, and threatened to interrupt them in earning their funeral [355] dues.] a25 But when the crowd was put forth, bhe, 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 [the three] that were with him, and goeth in {ahe entered in,} bwhere the child was. [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.] aand took {btaking} the child {cher} by the hand, called, saying, {bsaith} unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, {cMaiden,} bI 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.] c55 And her spirit returned b42 And straightway the damsel rose up, {aarose.} cshe rose up immediately: band walked [her restoration was complete]; for she was twelve years old. cand he commanded that something bshould be given her to eat. [Her frame, emaciated by sickness, was to be invigorated by natural means.] c56 And her parents were amazed: bthey were amazed straightway with a great amazement. [Faith in God’s great promise is seldom so strong that fulfillment fails to waken astonishment.] 43 And {cbut} bhe charged them much cto tell no man what had been done. bthat 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]: a26 And the fame hereof went forth into all that land.

[FFG 352-356]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Mark 5". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tfg/mark-5.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.