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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Mark 5

 

 

Verses 1-20

5. Conflict of Jesus with the despairing Unbelief of the Demoniac, and the selfish Unbelief of the Gada renes; Healing of the Demoniac, and Triumph over Human Devices for Security. ( Mark 5:1-20)

(Parallels: Matthew 8:28-34; Luke 8:26-39)

1And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gada renes 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the 3 tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:[FN1] 4Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him 5 And always, night and day, Hebrews 6was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones[FN2]. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 7And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. (8For he said unto him, Come out of the Prayer of Manasseh, thou unclean spirit.) 9And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered saying, My name is Legion:[FN3] for we are many 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country 11 Now there was there, nigh unto the mountains [mountain][FN4], a great herd of swine feeding 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them[FN5]. 13And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine; and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea (they were about two thou sand),and were choked in the sea 14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind [sane];[FN6] and they were afraid 16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine[FN7]. 17And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts 18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not;[FN8] but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Compare on the parallels.—Mark’s vividness of realization here again appears in many characteristics: the untameableness of the demon, whom no man could bind, even with chains; his crying in the mountains, and the self-tormenting fury of his cutting himself with stones; his seeing Jesus afar off, running to Him, and crying with a loud voice at the first sight of the Lord; the adjuration of Jesus by God; the vehemence of his anxiety that He should not send him away out of that country (Luke: into the abyss); the number of the swine, two thousand; the contrast of the demoniac who was possessed by the legion, sitting clothed and in his right mind; the observation, that the healed man spread the report of the miracle through all Decapolis; and other similar traits. Luke, in his representation of the event, approximates to Mark. Matthew alone makes mention of two demoniacs, on which we may consult the parallels. As it respects the chronology, Mark goes back in the history, manifestly because his order is that of things and not of time. The voyage to Gadara fell in the first year of Christ’s work, and preceded the healing of the paralytic and the controversies touching the Sabbath.

Mark 5:4. Fetters and chains.—This distinction has been explained by referring the fetters to the hands, which Meyer rejects. Fetters are fetters, to whatever part of the body applied. However, these chains were ordinarily used for the hands.

Mark 5:5. Crying, and cutting himself with stones.—Fearful picture of a demoniac terror,—having reached the extreme point of madness, down to rending his own flesh.

Mark 5:6. When he saw Jesus afar off.—Vivid description of the wonderful influence of Christ upon the demoniac. Probably some intelligence concerning Jesus had reached his ears; but that he know Him at once in this His appearance, can be explained only by an intensified spiritual presentiment. It is not probable that he was a heathen.

Mark 5:7. I adjure Thee by God.—The daring misuse of the name of God in the mouth of the demoniac has nothing in it inconsistent, as Strauss and others have thought. The intermixture of praying and adjuring is characteristic of the demoniac, as under the influence of Christ.—That Thou torment me not.—Meyer: “The possessed Prayer of Manasseh, identifying himself with his demon, dreads the pains and convulsions of the casting out.” But if that had been meant, the possessed man would have distinguished himself from his demon, and not identified himself with him. In that identification he felt the nearness and the supremacy of Jesus itself a torment, and still more banishment into the abyss.

Mark 5:8. For He said (had already said).—Compare Luke: παρήγγειλε γάρ, etc.—“If we rely on the exactitude of the sequence of the particulars in the narrative of Mark and Luke, we find here the remarkable circumstance, that the demoniac was not at once healed when the Lord spoke the decisive word. Christ had said to him, Come out of the Prayer of Manasseh, thou unclean spirit! Now by this the demoniac consciousness in this man was shaken to its depths; but as he then felt himself to be possessed of a legion of evil spirits, the demoniac in him was not reached altogether by an address in the singular. Christ saw at once how the healing was to be perfected, and He asked him his name, etc.” Leben Jesu, i296.

Mark 5:9. Legion.—“The word occurs also in the rabbinical writings.” Description of a psychical victim of all possible demoniac influences and possessions. At the same time, it gives a frightful picture of the unclean country in which so many impure spirits were congregated. At this crisis, however, it was partly a word of resisting pride, which sought by boasting to resist the influence; partly a word of silent complaint, in as far as the suffering consciousness of the possessed man coöperated. He does not give his own name, because he still identified his consciousness with that of the unclean spirits, and spoke through them. But when in this sense one calls himself Legion, he describes himself as their leader: as it were, the head of a whole regiment of demons. But the indistinctness and the error of the reply is characteristic of the condition of the man.

Mark 5:10. Not send them away out of the country,—where they found themselves so much at home; especially, as Luke adds, into the hateful abyss of hell. The lawless nature of the country (where Jews lived mingled with Gentiles), which pleased the demons well, Mark denotes by the circumstance of the two thousand swine, emphasizing the greatness of the herd. If their owners were only in part Jews, who merely trafficked in these animals, still they were not justified before the law. Certainly we cannot regard this as exclusively a Gentile territory.

Mark 5:14. And in the country.—In the villages and peasants’ huts, where the swine-feeders partly lived. The whole scene derives from this circumstance a coloring in harmony with the country and the then state of things.

Mark 5:15. Him that was possessed, sitting.—Beautiful and moving contrast.

Mark 5:17. They began to pray Him to depart.—Gradually, after they had received intelligence of their loss, they took heart to desire Christ’s departure, in the conflict of fear and anger, fawning and obstinacy.

Mark 5:18. That He might be with Him.—According to Euthym. Zig, and others, fear of the demons conspired with other feelings in this request. Meyer thinks this could not have been the case, as the engulphing of the animals had already taken place; as if the man believed that, with the swine, the devils also had perished. But, doubtless, his present fearlessness stood on a surer foundation.

Mark 5:19. Jesus suffered him not.—Wherefore? The healed man had friends at home. Probably he was now in danger of despising his own people. But Jesus appointed him to be a living memorial of His own saving manifestation for that entire dark district.

Mark 5:20. In Decapolis.See on Matthew 4:25. “That Jesus did not forbid, but commanded, the promulgation of the matter, is explained by the locality (Peræa), where He was less known, and where there was not the same danger as in Galilee from uproar concerning His person.” (Meyer.) We must also observe that Christ gave him notice of the things that he was to say. He was to announce to his friends how great things the Lord (the covenant God of Israel, the God of revelation) had done for him. This commission was enlarged by the man in two ways: he preached not only to his friends, but to the whole of Decapolis; and not only what the Lord had done to him (perfect), but also what Jesus (as the revelation of the Lord) had done to him, in that He had had mercy upon him (aorist: ἠλέησεν).

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. See on the parallels, and also the heading.—Christ the victor over despairing, as also over selfish, unbelief; and his elevation above human policy for safety, and care of the sick.

2. Demoniac faith, or the faith of fear ( James 2:19), in all its characteristics: 1. Exalted presentiment and excited spiritualism, without the true spirit2. Contradiction and internal distraction: running, deprecating, confessing, denying, praying, adjuring3. Slavery: deliverance described as torment, and abandonment to a state of torment as deliverance4. Impure and destructive to the last breath (entering the swine and injuring the people).

3. Christ can change the demoniac faith of fear into a blessed and spiritual faith.

4. The entrance of Christ into the land of the Gadarenes a type of His victorious entrance into the kingdom of the dead: 1 Peter 3:20; 1 Peter 4:6.

5. To a stupid and carnal people, under the power of demons without being fully aware of it, Christ discloses the terrors of the world of spirits, to give them a warning and arousing sign.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

See on Matthew and Luke.—The majestic entrance of our Lord into the district of Gadara: 1. The terror of the evil spirits in the land; 2. the deliverer of those who were bound by Satan; 3. the avenger of the law without legal tribunal; 4. a living condemnation of the earthly-minded in His going as in His coming; 5. the rejected one, who, after His rejection, leaves behind Him the preaching of the Gospel.—Christ annihilates, by the divine, awe-inspiring presence of His person, the horrors of darkness, even as the gentle light of day disperses the blackness of night.—Christ’s stepping over the frontier, and its importance: 1. Over the border of a land,

over the threshold of a house, 3. and entrance into the heart.—The land of the Gadarenes a figure,

of sunk and darkened Judaism (lawlessness), 2. of degraded Christendom (estranged from the law of the Spirit, externalized), 3. degenerate Protestantism (indifferentism).—Image of a corrupt state of things in Church or State: 1. Perverted morals—swine cared for, men abandoned; 2. perverse policy—trade unlawful, the ways given up to madmen; 3. perverted legislation—demons tolerated legionfold, Christ rejected; 4. perverted religiousness—driving away Christ by prayers.—The true demons in the land mock at fetters and chains, but Christ rules them with a word.—The demons enter gladly into the swine; the devilish nature into the animal nature (the old serpent; half serpent, half swine).—Spiritual rebellion against God passes into the unbridled, animal nature.—To a besotted people the Lord preaches by grievous and terrific signs.—The towns and peasants of the Gadarenes; or, the hindrances which the kingdom of God meets with in the land.—Christ passes a milder judgment upon the common ignorance of spiritual sloth, than upon the false knowledge of the hardened; He leaves a preacher of salvation for the Gadarenes in the person of the healed demoniac.—The compassion of Christ in His final glance upon the land of Gadara.—Christ uttered no word concerning His rejection; His only answer was the appointment of this preacher.—The greatest demoniac of the New Testament narrative becomes a preacher of salvation to ten cities.—In the dark land of Gadara Christ leaves for a while a representative of Himself, since they cannot bear His personal presence.—All things in the kingdom of Christ have their time: He sometimes silences, and He sometimes stimulates, the witnesses of His miracles.—The rejections of Christ in their several and yet single character: 1. From Nazareth (through envy); 2. from Gadara (through selfishness and base fear); 3. from Samaria (through fanaticism); 4. from Galilee (through fanaticism and policy); 5. from Jerusalem (through obduracy).

Starke:—Majus:—Christ, the true light, shines in all places, and sends forth His beams even into the Gentile country.—Unrestrained rebellion.—Quesnel:—Hell is a tomb out of which the spirit of impurity proceeds, until God’s judgment binds him in it for ever.—Cramer:—As the devil raged mightily at the time of Christ’s first coming, so also will he at the time of Christ’s second coming, knowing that his time is short, Revelation 12:12.—Hedinger:—The delight of worldlings and slaves of sin, corruption, and the grave.—How tyrannically the devil deals with his slaves.—Canstein:—The devil has special delight in tombs.—The devil’s love for mischief.—Bibl. Wirt.:—The ungodly do not love to consort with the godly.—It is a fiendish spirit to take it as torment when men receive benefits from Christ and His people.—O how many are in a spiritual sense possessed by a devil! so many ruling sins, so many unclean spirits.—That the devil desired to abide in that country, was, doubtless, because there were many Jews there who had fallen from their Judaism. (For, as Josephus tells us, this district was full ἑλληνζιόντων.) Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8.—The devil is in truth a poor spirit; he has nothing of his own, and is driven hither and thither by the glorious power of God.—Majus:—The children of God should have no fear of the devil, or of wizards, or of any other creatures of Satan.—If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31.—It is better that earthly creatures should perish, than that a child of God should be kept from salvation.—God’s goodness may be discerned not only in manifest kindnesses, but also in misfortunes.—In rude and earthly hearts God’s wonders excite only fear and flight.—Quesnel:—He who loves this world’s goods will not have Christ long in his heart.—The converted soul longs to be with Jesus.—Canstein:—God uses every one as His wisdom sees will best subserve the interests of His kingdom.—Quesnel:—The grace of conversion is a talent which must be put out to interest, partly in spreading abroad God’s grace and mercy, partly in edifying others in salvation.—Osiander:—God sends preachers for a season even to the unthankful.—Wonder the first step to faith in Jesus.

Gerlach:—The manifold misuse of the name of God among wicked men shows the falseness of the early notion that the devil could not utter it. (Yet this notion contains, in a mythical form, a secret truth, which appears in the declaration that no man can call Jesus Lord but by the Holy Spirit.)—Braune:—We see the same thing now in a certain sense: many there are who reject Christ or repel Him, in the secret consciousness or fear that if they obtain His help they will have to suffer much interruption of their ordinary habits of life, have to submit to many things unpalatable, and endure many severe sacrifices.—When the Christian spirit revives, there are many who would have it shut up only in the minds of others, or who would bind it in a dead letter, because they are concerned to save their unrighteous possessions, or their abused rights, or their licentious wickedness, or their cowardly idleness; not remembering the destruction which came upon those towns forty years after the rejection of Christ, and which always surely comes upon the same sin, and often in a much shorter time.—We must frankly and freely acknowledge the salvation of God and His grace in Christ.—Schleiermacher:—For all the perverse anxiety of men, who set not before them that goal of union with God which Jesus presents to us,—who indeed live under rule, but not that of the kingdom of God,—there is much of the same recoil from Christ as that of the demoniac; they are not in the way to reach the right end, any more than the miserable man in our Gospel. That which holds us firm to Him and His great design, is the immediate influence of the nearness of Christ the Redeemer, which holds our minds fast in a firm and established order, makes our steps sure in this changeable world, and directs them to that ultimate goal, to guide men to which He came into the world.

Gossner:—He (the devil) marked that he was going to be hunted out, and therefore he cried. So is it with all hypocrites.—They saw Jesus, they saw the Prayer of Manasseh, they saw the miracle on the man; but their swine they saw no longer, and that was their grief.—Bauer:—When the Lord comes to demand a sacrifice from them, how many are there in our own day who rather, that being the case, would send Him away altogether!

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Mark 5:1.—Many Codd. read ἦλθεν instead of ἦλθον. But this is not sufficiently authenticated: “probably from Matthew 8:28.” Lachmann and Tischendorf, after B, D, Vulgate, read Γερασηνῶν; L, Δ., &c, Γεργεσηνῶν; Cod. A, Recepta, Scholz, Meyer, Γαδαρηνῶν. Comp. the parallel in Matthew.

FN#2 - Mark 5:3.—‘Αλυσει, instead of ἁλύσεσιν, Lachmann, Tischendorf, after B, C, L. Οὐκέτι οὐδείς, Lachmann and Tischendorf, after B, C, D, L, Vulgate: strong negation.

FN#3 - Mark 5:5.—“In the tombs and upon the mountains,” is the best attested order: Griesbach, Scholz, Lachmann, Tischendorf.

FN#4 - Mark 5:9.—Instead of ἀπεκρίθη λέγων (Elzevir), the better reading is λέγει αὐτῷ.

FN#5 - Mark 5:12.—Πάντες (Elzevir) is wanting in B, C, D, L, Versions; οἱ δαίμονες is wanting in B, C, L, Griesbach, Tischendorf.

FN#6 - Mark 5:13.—The ἦσαν δὲ is wanting in B, C.*, D, Syriac, Vulgate, Griesbach, and Tischendorf.

FN#7 - Mark 5:18.—A, B, D, Vulgate, Lachmann, Tischendorf. ἐμβαίνοντος.

FN#8 - Mark 5:19.—Καὶ οὐκ, A, B, C.; Elzevir reads δὲ ’Ιησοῦς οὐκ.


Verses 21-43

6. Conflict of Jesus with desponding Unbelief on the Sick-bed and Bed of Death; Healing of the Woman with the Issue of Blood; Restoration of Jairus’ Daughter; and Triumph of Jesus over the Healing Art, and the World’s Lamentations for the Dead. Mark 5:21-43.

(Parallels: Matthew 9:1; Matthew 9:18-26; Luke 8:40-56)

21And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people 22 gathered unto him; and he was nigh unto the sea. And, behold,[FN9] there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, 23And besought[FN10] him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: 1 pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live 24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him25, And a certain woman,[FN11] which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague [scourge]. 30And Jesus, immediately knowing [having known] in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in[FN12] her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague [scourge]. 35While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead; why troublest thou the Master any further? 36As soon as Jesus heard[FN13] the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe 37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James 38And he cometh[FN14] to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept 39 and wailed greatly. And when lie was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth 40 And they laughed him to scorn [jeered him]. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.[FN15] 41And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which Isaiah, being interpreted, Damsel, (I say unto thee,) arise 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment 43 And he charged them straitly that no man. should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

See on the parallels.—Mark connects the return from Gadara with the narrative of the first raising of the dead, in accordance with his own principle of arrangement. According to the more exact account of Matthew, we must place in the interval the healing of the paralytic, the calling of Matthew, and the offence taken by the Pharisees and John’s disciples at Jesus’ eating in the house of the publican. In his presentation of the events that now follow, we once more observe the exact delineation of Mark. Concerning his little daughter (θυγάτριον), the father here says ἐσχάτως ἔχει and in an appeal which announces itself at once by an ὅτι. In the account of the woman with an issue, Mark makes it very prominent that she had suffered much from many physicians, which Luke, the physician, much more gently intimates. And the woman’s healing is emphatically expressed: The fountain of her blood was dried up; she felt in her body (in her feeling of bodily vigor) that she was delivered from her plague (scourge). He does not (like Luke) expressly mention Peter as the one who replied to the Lord’s question as to who touched Him, “Thou seest the multitude,” etc.; but he records once more that Jesus turned and looked round to find out who had done this. We see how the woman comes forward trembling with fear, falls down before the Lord, and confesses all. We see Jesus separating Himself, with Jairus and the three elect disciples, from the multitude, in order to go into the house of death. The tumult of the lamentation for the dead is here vividly depicted. He defines accurately the group of those who enter; we hear the original Talitha cumi; we see the damsel at once, after her restoration, arising and walking, as she was able, being twelve years old; and hear how rigorously Jesus charged the people not to make much rumor about the miracle (which in itself could not be concealed); and finally, how He commanded that they should give the maiden food. Here and there Luke, and here and there Matthew, approximate to Mark’s description.

Mark 5:21. He was nigh unto the sea.—Meyer: “Here there is a discrepancy with Matthew’s account, according to which Jairus entered the house of Jesus in Capernaum.” But it was neither in Jesus’ house, nor in that of the publican Matthew; for the transaction with the Pharisees and the disciples of John doubtless took place after the meal in a public place. Hence there is no discrepancy in the narratives.

Mark 5:23. My little daughter.—(Tender expression of the troubled father).—That Thou mayest come (ἵνα ἐλθὼν ἐπιθῇς).—The ὅτι and the ἵνα give vivid reality to his urgent words; they are to be referred to the kneeling and cry for help (παρακαλεῖ). Hence there is nothing to be supplied in the text.

Mark 5:26. Had suffered many things from many physicians.—“How various were the prescriptions of Jewish physicians for women in that case, and what experiments they were in the habit of making, see in Lightfoot, p614.” Meyer. Comp. also the article Krankheiten in Winer. “She probably suffered from a chronic hæmorrhage in the womb, and its long continuance endangered life.” See also the article Reinigkeit. “Such a woman was, according to Leviticus 15:25, through the whole time unclean, and was required, after the evil had passed away, to bring on the eighth day an offering for purification.” On the strong Oriental abhorrence of such persons, see the same article.

Mark 5:28. For she said,—thinking in audible words.—Touch but His clothes.—That the more precise “hem of His garment,” occurring in Matthew and Luke, is wanting in Mark, gives no warrant for conjectural emendation.

Mark 5:29. The fountain of her blood.—Not euphemistic description of the womb, but vivid description of the cause of the evil; the blood being represented as flowing from a fountain.—She felt in her body.—Euth. Zig.: As her body was no longer moistened, etc. But here there is something greater signified: she experienced the healthy feeling of new life.

Mark 5:30. Virtue had gone out of Him.—Meyer maintains that Jesus perceived the flowing of His virtue after it took place; a simultaneous knowledge of it being thought at variance with the words. But, on the contrary, it must be observed that the simultaneousness of the knowledge is declared in the ἐπιγνούς; first by the ἐπι, and then by the Aorist. The opposite explanation might be made to favor a magical interpretation of the event, and Strauss’ criticism upon it. Yet Meyer himself refers with an emphatic note of exclamation to Calovius: “Calovius quoted the passage against the Calvinists: vim divinam carni Christi derogardes.”

Mark 5:38. Them that wept.—A scene of Jewish ceremonial lamentation over the dead, in which Mark omits the minstrels (see Matthew), and lays less stress than Luke upon the weeping and bewailing, but only to give more prominence to the tumult and mechanical liturgical cries (by ἀλαλάζειν). On the Jewish lament for the dead, see Grotius on Matthew, and Winer’s article Trauer.

Mark 5:41. Talitha cumi, טָלִיתָא קוּמִי.—Similar original Aramaic words occur in Mark, Mark 3:17; Mark 7:11; Mark 7:34; Mark 14:36.

Mark 5:42. She was of the age of twelve years.—Reason for the statement that she arose and walked at once. Bengel: Rediit ad statum, œtati congruentem.

Mark 5:43. That no man should know it.—That Isaiah, should know the occurrence in its precise characteristics, viz, the way and manner of the restoration of the dead. On the motive of this prohibition, see Meyer.[FN16]That something should be given her to eat.—Theophylact: That the raising might not be regarded as only an appearance. Meyer: In order to show that the child was not merely delivered from death, but from sickness also. Chiefly, however, because she was in need of strengthening by food.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. See on the parallels.—The touching of Christ’s garment, and the conscious issuing of a divine virtue from Him as the result, are a testimony to the living unity and reciprocal influence of the divine and human natures in His personal consciousness; in which the human nature was not (as the old dogmatics taught) merely in a passive relation.

2. Two miracles of healing were wrought on diseased women. Otherwise, they are mainly male sufferers who are adduced as examples of His healing acts. Not that other instances were wanting; for the very first healing recorded by the Evangelists took place on a woman, Peter’s wife’s mother. Luke mentions some women who were dispossessed of devils, Mark 8:2. But the deliverance of Mary Magdalene from seven devils we regard, after the analogy of Matthew 12:45, as a symbolical expression of an essentially great conversion.—The woman with an issue of blood, the dead maiden: progression in the manifestation of suffering in the female sex. That the former had been afflicted twelve years and the latter was twelve years old, was a coincidence from which rash criticism has vainly sought to extract ground of suspicion.

3. We term this narrative a history of victory over despairing unbelief. This appears in the comfortless wail of the Jewish lament over the dead; in the circumstance that the people around the dead maiden laughed at the Lord, when He declared that she was not dead, but slept; but especially in the message which they sent to the ruler of the synagogue, Why troublest thou the Master any further? wherein there is an evident tone of bitter and almost ironical unbelief. The faith of Jairus itself appears, at first, as only a fruit of distress. Hence it, was subjected to a severe test, that period of deep anxiety during Christ’s delay while He cured the woman with the issue of blood. The weak germ of Jairus’ faith was encompassed by desponding unbelief. Even the faith of the sick woman struggles with the despondency into which a long series of disappointed acts of trust in physicians had thrown her. She does not venture to bring her distress publicly before the Lord’s notice; the rather as, being ceremonially unclean, she had in a forbidden manner mingled with the crowd, and as her malady was of such a kind as shame would not allow her to speak of. Hence her faith must be brought to maturity by a public confession, even as that of Jairus by a season of delay.

4. As Christ’s work of salvation assumed a specific form in many acts of blessing in favor of the male sex, so also Christianity has wrought immeasurable specific benefits for the female. Here we see, first, a wretched sick woman, lost in the crowd; and Christ delivers her not only from her sickness, but also from the morbid dread and fear of her feminine consciousness. Even shame required redemption and sanctification by the Spirit of truth. And so the female sex has been redeemed from the reproach of inferiority, impurity, the rude contempt of man’s prejudice, and the ban of self-depreciation.

5. Reischl: “The woman was afraid; partly ashamed on account of the nature of her malady, partly disturbed by the consciousness of impropriety, as having, while Levitically unclean, mingled with the people, and even touched the great Teacher Himself.” In the last point she forms a contrast to the leper, whom the Lord Himself touched. Under the veil of diffidence, however, there was a touch of womanly boldness, which was excused by the faith that the touching of Christ would heal her.

6. “Daughter, be of good courage, thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace.” Thus He blessed her in the same manner as He had blessed that palsied man. And in fact we must connect together these two petitioners for help, in order that we may see two characteristic forms of faith in the male and in the female contrasted. Both applicants pressed through with confidence, and seized their deliverance almost by force: the man did it in man’s fashion, entering through the roof like a robber; the woman in woman’s fashion, as it were, like a female thief. But both were recognised by the Lord, as showing the pure spirit of confidence.” (Lange’s Leben Jesu, ii682.) But the faith of this woman had a superadded conflict to maintain with her timorous natural feeling confronting the fearful power of prejudice.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

See on the parallels.—The miracles of Christ a wonderful connected chain.—New life added to new life in the way of Christ, until the great word is fulfilled, Behold, I make all things new!—Christ at once ready to help the man who comes from the powerful party of His opponents.—The ruler of the synagogue at the feet of Jesus; or, the victory of the Gospel over party spirit.—The triumph of Christ over the whole domain of sickness and death, a sign also of His supremacy over all natural means of help and human skill in healing.—Christ the Physician of physicians (as the Preacher of preachers, the Teacher of teachers, the Judge of Judges, the Prince of kings).—Christ’s divine power the sign of salvation to all the despondency, little faith, and unbelief of man.—Christ in our history the conqueror of all hindrances to His own work and man’s faith.—The woman with the issue, and the dead maiden; or, Christ the Helper in all suffering; whether secret or public.—Christ the Prince of salvation in the domain of secret sorrows and silent sighs.—Hearing and answering all the sighings of faith.—The test to which the faith of the ruler and of the woman was subjected: 1. The element common to both: they were wanting in the full surrender of trust. Both must be set free from fear and despondency2. The difference: the spiritual ruler must retire, wait, submit, despair of all signs for hope, and then in his despair learn to believe. He scarcely believed in the invigorator of the sick, and now He must believe in the awakener of the dead. He must, at the same time, in humility yield precedence to a poor unclean woman, and in the case of a seeming religious impropriety.—The woman must come forward and confess.—Even amidst the pressure of thousands the Lord perceives the silent and gentle touch of a single believer.—Internal union with Jesus high above the external.—The hastening and the delaying of Jesus sublime above the haste and delay of the world.—Christ purposed here to effect, not the healing of the sick, but the raising of the dead.—Twice (in the history of Lazarus too) He first yielded the point to death, that He might approve Himself afterwards his conqueror.—With the Lord the spiritual is everything, and the edification of the inner life the great concern.—The gradually progressive manifestation of Christ’s power in raising the dead, a sign and symbol of the great and universal resurrection.

Starke:—Quesnel.:—God has His own times and seasons; He delays and yet helps. Have patience, and walk in the way He marks.—Hedinger:—Daring wins.—Quesnel:—Men are slow to do for the healing of the soul what they are ready enough to do for the cure of the body.—Cramer:—Medicines are not to be despised, Sirach 38:1; but God does not always see fit to prosper them.—To use them is not displeasing to God, but ungodly trusting in them is.—The humility of the woman.—Canstein:—Shame and fear would keep us back from Christ, but faith presses near to Him with a right and laudable shamelessness.—Osiander:—In our sickness we should put our trust, not in medicine, but in God.—Faith is stronger than all earthly medicaments.—The Lord is not ignorant what benefits we have received from Him, and He will demand an account of all the good deeds lie has done to us.—Bibl. Wirt.:—Tempted souls think that God takes no care of them, but He faithfully remembers their case; the deeper they are in misery, the more graciously does His compassionate eye rest upon them.—Canstein:—To acknowledge our own weakness and God’s power, is to speak the truth indeed.—What God has done for us in secret we should publicly speak of to His glory.—Go in peace.—Hedinger:—Reason despairs at sight of death.—In perfect faith there is no fear.—Quesnel:—Let us learn from Christ to confide only to a few elect ones the works of God which we have to do, that those works may not be thwarted.—To sorrow in secret over our dead is Christian, but to howl and cry is heathenish.—Hedinger:—God’s wonderful works must have devout and attentive witnesses: away with tumult!—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Why do ye mourn, ye parents, over the departure of your children? Jesus will one day lay His mighty hand upon them, raise, them, and give them back to you.

Lisco:—The question of our Lord was designed to free the woman from her false fear of man.—The delay of help, and the message, were severe tests of Jairus’ faith; but the healing of the woman strength ened his faith again, as did the word of Jesus, Mark 5:36;—Braune:—The urgency and continuance of her malady, the vanity of all human help, the lack of substance, were three steps which brought the sick woman to faith; and the feeblest cries of the believing heart were understood by her Lord.—The Jews received this custom of lamentation from the Romans [Qy.: see Jeremiah 9:17]. This purchased grief was intended to make the occasion of death important, to distribute the impressions of sorrow over many, and lighten the grief of the friends. Thus it was mere heathenish vanity.—Schleier-macher:—The more mighty love is in those who can help others, and, on the other hand, the more longing and trust there is in those who need help, the more good will be the result in the particular case, though we may not be able to show how, and the beginnings of cause and effect may be concealed from us.—It is always the case that from those whom God has called to do good, many influences proceed which they themselves do not in the special cases know of. But how much more efficacious would charity be, if those from whom the influences proceed did not think so much about those which they themselves receive!—How important it is for the general order of the community that we should not neglect our own individual personal relations!—Christendom has now still to press through the world violently with its blessings.—Although the power of Christ is continually entering more and more into the order of nature, yet that which Christianity has wrought in the world from its beginning is the greatest miracle that we know; but we must be careful to distinguish from it the internal miracle, which only those see who live in internal fellowship with the Redeemer.—Bauer:—Mark how He does not break the bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax!

Footnotes:

FN#9 - Mark 5:22.—The ἰδού not in B, D, L, Vulgate, Versions, Tischendorf, Meyer; bracketed by Lachmann.

FN#10 - Mark 5:23.—The Present παρακαλεῖ, Tischendorf, after A, C, L.

FN#11 - Mark 5:25.—Τὶς wanting in A, B, C, Vulgate, Versions, Lachmann, Meyer.

FN#12 - Mark 5:33.—’Επ’ wanting in B, C, D, Syriac, Coptic, Tischendorf; bracketed by Lachmann.

FN#13 - Mark 5:36.—Παρακούσας, Tischendorf, after B, L, Δ.

FN#14 - Mark 5:38.—The Plural ἔρχονται has most support, viz.: A, B, C, D, F, Versions, Lachmann, Tischendorf.

FN#15 - Mark 5:40.—The ἀνακείμενον (Elzevir) is set aside by Tischendorf, after B, D, L, Versions; bracketed by Lachmann.

FN#16 - Meyer mutes the motive to be, a desire on the part of Christ to repress the tendency to fanatical expectations and tumults concerning the Messiah, among the Jews.—Ed.

 


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Mark 5:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/mark-5.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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