|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:23-28 The devil is an unclean spirit, because he has lost all the purity of his nature, because he acts in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit of God, and by his suggestions defiles the spirits of men. There are many in our assemblies who quietly attend under merely formal teachers; but if the Lord come with faithful ministers and holy doctrine, and by his convincing Spirit, they are ready to say, like this man, What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth! No disorder could enable a man to know Jesus to be the Holy One of God. He desires to have nothing to do with Jesus, for he despairs of being saved by him, and dreads being destroyed by him. See whose language those speak, that say to the Almighty, Depart from us. This unclean spirit hated and dreaded Christ, because he knew him to be a Holy One; for the carnal mind is enmity against God, especially against his holiness. When Christ by his grace delivers souls out of the hands of Satan, it is not without tumult in the soul; for that spiteful enemy will disquiet those whom he cannot destroy. This put all who saw it upon considering, What is this new doctrine? A work as great often is wrought now, yet men treat it with contempt and neglect. If this were not so, the conversion of a notorious wicked man to a sober, righteous, and godly life, by the preaching of a crucified Saviour, would cause many to ask, What doctrine is this?
Verse 26. - And when the unclean spirit had torn him; and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him (καὶ σπαράξαν αὐτὸν). The Greek word σπαράσσω may be rendered in the passive to be convulsed. It is so used by medical writers, as Galen. It could hardly here mean physically "laceration," for St. Luke (Luke 4:35) is careful to say that "when the devil had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no hurt." At all events, the expression indicates the close union of the evil spirit with the possessed man's consciousness and with his physical frame. And the manner in which he departed showed his malignity, as though, being compelled by the supreme authority of Christ to leave the man, he would injure him as far as he was able to do so. But the power of Christ prevented him from doing any real injury. And all this was done
(1) that there might be clear evidence that the man was actually possessed by the evil spirit;
(2) that the anger and malice of the evil spirit might be shown; and
(3) that it might be manifest that the unclean spirit came out, not of his own accord, but constrained and vanquished by Christ. We may observe also that the power of Christ restrained him from the use of any articulate words. While he was in possession he used the possessed man's organs of speech; but when he came out there was no articulate speech - it was nothing but a cry.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when the unclean spirit had torn him,.... Not that he had torn any limb from him, or had made any wound in any part of his body; for Luke says, Luke 4:35, that he "hurt him not", but he shook him; and as Luke there says, "threw him in the midst", of the people, or synagogue; and so the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read here, "he cast him", or "threw him to the ground": he threw him into convulsions, and laid him prostrate on the floor:
and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him; though sorely, against his will, as his loud cry showed, and being obliged to it by a superior power.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. And when the unclean spirit had torn him—Luke (Lu 4:35) says, "When he had thrown him in the midst." Malignant cruelty—just showing what he would have done, if permitted to go farther: it was a last fling!
and cried with a loud voice—the voice of enforced submission and despair.
he came out of him—Luke (Lu 4:35) adds, "and hurt him not." Thus impotent were the malignity and rage of the impure spirit when under the restraint of "the Stronger than the strong one armed" (Lu 11:21, 22).
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