|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:22-40 Those that put to sea in a calm, even at Christ's word, must yet prepare for a storm, and for great peril in that storm. There is no relief for souls under a sense of guilt, and fear of wrath, but to go to Christ, and call him Master, and say, I am undone, if thou dost not help me. When our dangers are over, it becomes us to take to ourselves the shame of our own fears, and to give Christ the glory of our deliverance. We may learn much out of this history concerning the world of infernal, malignant spirits, which though not working now exactly in the same way as then, yet all must at all times carefully guard against. And these malignant spirits are very numerous. They have enmity to man and all his comforts. Those under Christ's government are sweetly led with the bands of love; those under the devil's government are furiously driven. Oh what a comfort it is to the believer, that all the powers of darkness are under the control of the Lord Jesus! It is a miracle of mercy, if those whom Satan possesses, are not brought to destruction and eternal ruin. Christ will not stay with those who slight him; perhaps he may no more return to them, while others are waiting for him, and glad to receive him.
Verse 37. - Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. The recital had no effect upon. the headmen of the neighbouring towns and villages. They were probably for the most part owners of similar herds of swine, perhaps sharers in nameless sins, all specially hateful to the Rabbi Jesus, whom they no doubt knew well by repute. But he was, they saw, something more than a poor wandering moral Teacher; he possessed strange and awful powers: had they not had terribler experience of them? Which of them in that law-breaking, dissolute neighbourhood might not he the next victim whose unclean possessions were to be swept away? So they would have none of him: let him, as quickly as possible depart from their coasts. They felt they could not keep both the Saviour and their swine, and of the two they preferred their swine! And returned back again. The chance, as far as the Gadarene district was concerned, was gone for ever. Jesus probably returned thither no more. Within forty years this district was the scene of one of the terrible calamities of the great Roman war. The sack of Gadara, and the desolation and ruin which was the hapless lot of this once wealthy but evil-living district, is one of the many melancholy chapters of the hopeless Jewish revolt, (see Josephus, *Bell. Jud.,' 3:07. 1; 4:7. 4). A modern traveller, Dr. Thomson, remarks, singularly enough, that the old district of Gadara at the present day is infested with wild, fierce hogs: "Everywhere," he writes, "the land is ploughed up by wild hogs in search of roots on which they live" ('The Land and the Book,' 2. ch. 25).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then the whole multitude,.... For it seems, a very large number of people were presently gathered together, from all parts of the country, upon the report of the swine herds, who fled, it is very likely, some one way, and some another:
of the country of the Gadarenes round about; of the country that was round about Gadara. The Vulgate Latin reads, "of the Gergesenes"; and the Arabic and Ethiopic versions, "of the Gergesenes": and they all, with one accord,
besought him to depart from them, for they were taken with great fear: lest they should suffer other and greater losses, than the loss of the swine; choosing rather that the devils should be retained among them, than Christ continue with them:
and he went up into the ship; directly, granted their request at once; not desirous of staying with such an ungrateful people, that loved their swine more than him, yea, than the bodily health and welfare of their countrymen:
and he returned back again; to Galilee, at least in a very little time, after some short discourse with the dispossessed man; having staid but a very small time in that place, just landed as it were, and not having proceeded far from the seashore.
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