Matthew 8:29
And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God? are you come here to torment us before the time?
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What have we to do with thee? - This might have been translated with great propriety, What hast thou to do with us? The meaning is "Why dost thou trouble or disturb us?" See 2 Samuel 16:10; 2 Kings 9:18; Ezra 4:3.

Son of God - The title, "Son of God," is often given to Christ. People are sometimes called sons, or children of God, to denote their adoption into his family, 1 John 3:1. But the title given to Christ denotes his superiority to the prophets Hebrews 1:1; to Moses, the founder of the Jewish economy Hebrews 3:6; it denotes his unique and near relation to the Father, as evinced by his resurrection Psalm 2:7; Acts 13:33; it denotes his special relation to God from his miraculous conception Luke 1:35; and is equivalent to a declaration that he is divine, or equal to the Father. See the notes at John 10:36.

Art thou come hither to torment us? ... - By "the time" here mentioned is meant the day of judgment. The Bible reveals the doctrine that evil spirits are not now bound as they will be after that day; that they are permitted to tempt and afflict people, but that in the day of judgment they also will be condemned to everlasting punishment with all the wicked, 2 Peter 2:4; Jde 1:6. These spirits seemed to be apprised of that, and were alarmed lest the day that they feared had come. They besought him, therefore, not to send them out of that country, not to consign them then to hell, but to put off the day of their final punishment.

Mark and Luke say that Jesus inquired the name of the principal demoniac, and that he called his name "Legion, for they were many." The name legion was given to a division in the Roman army. It did not always denote the same number, but in the time of Christ it consisted of 6,000 to 3,000 foot soldiers and 3,000 horsemen. It came, therefore, to signify "a large number," without specifying the exact amount.

What have we to do with thee - The literal translation of τι ημιν και σοι, is, What is it to us and to thee; which perhaps might be understood to imply their disclaiming any design to interfere with the work of Christ, and that he should not therefore meddle with them; for it appears they exceedingly dreaded his power.

What have we to do with thee, is a Jewish phrase, which often occurs in the Old Testament, signifying an abrupt refusal of some request, or a wish not to be troubled with the company or importunity of others. Jehu said to the messenger who was sent by Joram to meet him, What hast thou to do with peace? David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? Compare Judges 11:12; 2 Samuel 16:10; 2 Kings 9:18; Ezra 4:3; John 2:4. See the note on Mark 1:24.

Jesus, thou Son of God - Griesbach omits the word Jesus, on the authority of several MSS. of the greatest antiquity and respectability; besides some versions, and several of the fathers. I heartily concur with these MSS., etc., for this simple reason, among others, that the word Jesus, i.e. Savior, was of too ominous an import to the Satanic interest to be used freely, in such a case, by any of his disciples or subalterns.

Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? - From this it appears that a greater degree of punishment awaited these demons than they at that time endured; and that they knew there was a time determined by the Divine Judge, when they should be sent into greater torments.

And behold they cried out, saying,.... This is an instance and proof, of the wonderful power of Christ over the devils; and has therefore the note of admiration, "behold!" prefixed to it, that the devils themselves who had took possession of these men, and made them so fierce and cruel, and outrageous, that there was no passing the way for them; yet upon the sight of Christ, and especially at hearing his orders to come out from them, not only say, but cry out, as being in great consternation, horror, and fear, and with the utmost subjection to him,

what have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? They had nothing indeed to do with him; they had no interest in his grace, blood, righteousness, and salvation; he was no Saviour for them: but he had to do with them, and that was what they dreaded; and therefore mean, that he would let them alone, in the quiet possession of these men, and not disturb and dislodge them; for they knew that he was Jesus, the Saviour of sinful men, though none of their's, the true Messiah; and that he was also "the Son of God", a divine person, possessed of almighty power, and so an overmatch for them; at whose presence they trembled, and whose all commanding voice they were obliged to obey, though sorely against their wills.

Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? This question implies the apprehension the devils had of Christ as a judge, and their sense of his authority, and power, to punish them; as also that they deserved it, and expected it, nor do they say anything against it; only imagine that the time of their full torment was not yet come; which is generally referred unto the day of judgment, to which they were reserved by the appointment of God; which they had some notion of, and as at a distance; and therefore complain of Christ's coming to them now, and expostulate with him about it: though it may be understood of the time they had proposed to themselves, to abide in the men they had possessed, and which they concluded they had a permission for; and nothing could give more torment, pain, and uneasiness, than to be turned out, and remanded to their prison, and restrained from doing more mischief to the bodies and souls of men. Or whether this may not have some respect to the time of the preaching of the Gospel, and setting up the kingdom of Christ among the Gentiles, the devils might have some hint of, as not yet to be, I leave to be considered, with this observation; that there seems to be a considerable "emphasis" on the word "hither", meaning the country of the Gergesenes, an Heathen country, at least where many Gentiles inhabited: and it is as if they had said, is it not enough, that thou turnest us out of the land of Judea, and hast dispossessed us out of the bodies of men dwelling there; but thou pursuest us hither also, and will not let us have any rest, even in this Heathenish land; though the time is not yet come, for the dissolution of our empire and government in the Gentile world?

And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?Mt 8:28-34. Jesus Heals the Gergesene Demoniacs. ( = Mr 5:1-20; Lu 8:26-39).

For the exposition, see on [1238]Mr 5:1-20.

8:28-34 The devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Saviour; they neither have, nor hope for any benefit from him. Oh the depth of this mystery of Divine love; that fallen man has so much to do with Christ, when fallen angels have nothing to do with him! Heb 2:16. Surely here was torment, to be forced to own the excellence that is in Christ, and yet they had no part in him. The devils desire not to have any thing to do with Christ as a Ruler. See whose language those speak, who will have nothing to do with the gospel of Christ. But it is not true that the devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Judge; for they have, and they know it, and thus it is with all the children of men. Satan and his instruments can go no further than he permits; they must quit possession when he commands. They cannot break his hedge of protection about his people; they cannot enter even a swine without his leave. They had leave. God often, for wise and holy ends, permits the efforts of Satan's rage. Thus the devil hurries people to sin; hurries them to what they have resolved against, which they know will be shame and grief to them: miserable is the condition of those who are led captive by him at his will. There are a great many who prefer their swine before the Saviour, and so come short of Christ and salvation by him. They desire Christ to depart out of their hearts, and will not suffer his word to have place in them, because he and his word would destroy their brutish lusts, those swine which they give themselves up to feed. And justly will Christ forsake all that are weary of him; and say hereafter, Depart, ye cursed, to those who now say to the Almighty, Depart from us. 8:29 They cried out. This account shows: (1) That demoniacal possession was not simply bodily or mental disease. (2) That evil spirits actually took possession of and controlled human beings. (3) That these controlled the actions and organs of speech of their poor victims. (4) We learn elsewhere that sin prepared the way for the entrance of the demon.

Thou Son of God. The demons, like the devil, recognized him.

Torment us before the time. These words show that they expected the final triumph of Christ.

Verse 29. - And, behold. This probably seemed to the evangelist not the least of the many strange things that he introduced by this phrase. They cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee? (Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί; מה לנו ולד, frequent in the Old Testament, e.g. 2 Samuel 16:10). What community either of interest or of character? The deepest realization of personal sinfulness may coexist with absolute ignorance of the Divine love. Jesus. Omitted by the Revised Version here, yet genuine in the parallel passages, Matthew omitted from their utterance the name which (Matthew 1:21) indicated the bridging of the chasm between the sinner and God. Thou Son of God? Their sense of sin, their belief in a future torment, and their use of this phrase, alike point to their being Jews. Observe how great a contrast is implied by this term on the lips of demoniacs. As in 1 John 3:8 (cf. Bishop Westcott there), it brings out the nature of the conflict ("the spiritual adversary of man has a mightier spiritual antagonist"), so here. Art thou come hither - had they felt themselves safe in that distant spot and its gloomy surroundings, far away from all religious influence? - to torment us before the time? Their abject terror is still more evident in the parallel passages. Observe

(1) the words are not given as those of the demons, but as the men's own;

(2) a future torment is assumed;

(3) they have no doubt as to their own share in it.


2 Samuel 16:10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? …

2 Samuel 19:22 And David said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, …

Joel 3:4 Yes, and what have you to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all …

Mark 1:24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, you Jesus of Nazareth? …

Mark 5:7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with you, …

Luke 4:34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, you Jesus of Nazareth? …

Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with …

John 2:4 Jesus said to her, Woman, what have I to do with you? my hour is not yet come.

thou Son.

Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, …

Mark 3:11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and …

Luke 4:41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, You are …

Acts 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the …

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, …


2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down …

Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their …

8:29 What have we to do with thee - This is a Hebrew phrase, which signifies. Why do you concern yourself about us? 2Sam 16:10. Before the time - The great day.
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