|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-20 Some openly wilful sinners are like this madman. The commands of the law are as chains and fetters, to restrain sinners from their wicked courses; but they break those bands in sunder; and it is an evidence of the power of the devil in them. A legion of soldiers consisted of six thousand men, or more. What multitudes of fallen spirits there must be, and all enemies to God and man, when here was a legion in one poor wretched creature! Many there are that rise up against us. We are not a match for our spiritual enemies, in our own strength; but in the Lord, and in the power of his might, we shall be able to stand against them, though there are legions of them. When the vilest transgressor is delivered by the power of Jesus from the bondage of Satan, he will gladly sit at the feet of his Deliverer, and hear his word, who delivers the wretched slaves of Satan, and numbers them among his saints and servants. When the people found that their swine were lost, they had a dislike to Christ. Long-suffering and mercy may be seen, even in the corrections by which men lose their property while their lives are saved, and warning given them to seek the salvation of their souls. The man joyfully proclaimed what great things Jesus had done for him. All men marvelled, but few followed him. Many who cannot but wonder at the works of Christ, yet do not, as they ought, wonder after him.
Verse 10. - And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. It would appear as though this evil spirit felt (speaking in the name of the other evil spirits) that if they were driven out from their present dwelling-places, their condition would be changed for the worse; and that until the time should come when they were to be cast into the abyss, their best relief was to possess some materialism, to occupy flesh and blood, and that flesh and blood tenanted by a spiritual being, through whom they might torment others. They could find no rest, no relief, but in this. "The unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passeth through waterless places, seeking rest, and findeth it not" (Matthew 12:43). Even the swine were better than nothing; but that dwelling did not serve the evil spirits long.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he besought him much,.... The devil that was at the head of this legion, who had the rest under his command, he, in their name, and on their behalf, entreated Jesus with great earnestness. This shows the authority Christ has over the devils, and their subjection to him; they are not only obliged to quit their former possession, when he gives orders, but they cannot go any where else, or where they would, without his leave: though the man they were in could not be bound and held with chains and fetters of iron, through the great strength they put forth in him; yet these themselves are bound and held in chains, and cannot move without Christ's permission, or as he is pleased to lengthen out the chain unto them: and though they are no humble supplicants to him for grace and mercy, yet they are, that they may continue where they are; or be suffered to be somewhere else, to do mischief to the souls and bodies of men: and though they are such proud spirits, they be, they are very willing to humble themselves and in the most submissive and pressing manner ask a favour, even of him whom they hate, when they have an end to answer by doing injury to others; and in this, as well as in many other things, they are imitated by them who are truly called the children of the devil, and do the lusts of him their father.
That he would not send them away out of the country; that if he did think fit to dispossess them from that man, that however he would permit them to stay in that country, and not drive them wholly from thence; and which they might be the more desirous of, because it was an Heathen country, inhabited by the blind Gentiles, that knew not God, or apostate Jews, or both; among whom their power and authority were very great; and where they had long been, and had had a large experience of the tempers and dispositions of men, and knew how to bait their temptations with success.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country—The entreaty, it will be observed, was made by one spirit, but in behalf of many—"he besought Him not to send them, &c."—just as in Mr 5:9, "he answered we are many." But what do they mean by entreating so earnestly not to be ordered out of the country? Their next petition (Mr 5:12) will make that clear enough.
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