Mark 5
Benson Commentary
And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
Mark 5:1-17. They came into the country of the Gadarenes — Called Gergesenes, Matthew 8:28. Gadara and Gergasa being towns near each other, and their inhabitants, and those of the country adjacent, taking their name indifferently from either. There met him a man with an unclean spirit — Matthew mentions two. Probably this, so particularly spoken of here, was the most remarkably fierce and ungovernable. This whole story is explained at large, Matthew 8:28-34. My name is Legion, for we are many — But all these seem to have been under one commander, who accordingly speaks, all along, both for them and for himself. They that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city — The miracle, issuing in the destruction of the swine, was immediately reported in the town and country by the affrighted keepers, who as they fled had fallen in, it seems, with Jesus and his company, and learned from them the cause of what had happened. And they went out to see what was done — Thus the whole people had ocular demonstration of the power of Jesus, and were rendered inexcusable in not believing on him; and they see him that was possessed of the devil sitting — At the feet of Jesus, to receive his instructions; and clothed — With the raiment that had been given him; and in his right mind — Perfectly composed and restored to the use of his reason; and they were afraid — Instead of rejoicing that a human being was delivered from so great an evil as had long afflicted him, they were thrown into the utmost consternation, and, being conscious of their wickedness, dreaded the further effects of Christ’s power, which, probably, if they had not done, they would have offered some rudeness, if not violence, to him.

And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
Because 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.
And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
And 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.
For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
And 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 thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
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.
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: and they were afraid.
And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.
And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
Mark 5:18-20. He that had been possessed, prayed that he might be with him — To enjoy the further benefit of his instructions. Perhaps he feared lest, if Jesus left him, he should relapse into his former condition, the terrors of which he dreaded. Howbeit, Jesus suffered him not — Judging it proper to leave him in that country as a witness of the power and goodness of his deliverer, and of the folly and wickedness of these Gadarenes, who rejected such a Saviour. Go home to thy friends — To thy relations and neighbours; and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee — This was peculiarly needful there, where Christ did not go in person. He began to publish in Decapolis, &c. — Not only at home, but in all that country where Jesus himself did not come.

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, 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.
And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.
And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,
Mark 5:22-28. There cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue — Probably that at Capernaum. The rulers of the synagogue were three persons chosen out of ten, who were obliged constantly to attend the public worship over which they presided, and determined such disputes as happened in the synagogue. For an explanation of this whole paragraph, see notes on Matthew 9:18-26.

And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
Mark 5:29-30. She felt in her body that she was healed of that plague — Or distemper, with which she had been chastised; for this is the plain meaning of the word μαστιγος here used, which properly means a stroke, scourge, or correction. And Jesus turned about in the press, and said, Who touched, &c. — The woman, having obtained her wish, would have retired unobserved: but Jesus, who had secretly performed the cure, by the concurring efficacy of his will, which sent forth the healing virtue, thought fit, on this occasion, to show that it had not escaped his notice, and to take the opportunity of illustrating and commending the faith of the woman for the encouragement of others to confide in his power and love.

And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
While 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?
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.
Mark 5:37. John, the brother of James — John is thus described here, because, when Mark wrote his gospel, not long after our Lord’s ascension, the memory of James, lately beheaded, was so fresh, that his name was more known than that of John himself.

And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
Mark 5:38-42. He seeth the tumult — The crowd of people that wept and wailed greatly — Greek αλαλαζοντας πολλα, howling much, as some render the word. “From several passages of Scripture, (see Jeremiah 9:17; Jeremiah 16:6-7; Ezekiel 24:17,) it appears that the people of the East used to bewail the dead by tearing their hair, and cutting their flesh, and crying most bitterly. Nor did the relations of the deceased content themselves with these expressions of violent grief. They hired persons of both sexes, whose employment it was to mourn over the dead in the like frantic manner, and who besides sung doleful ditties, in which honourable mention was made of the age, the beauty, the strength, the courage, the virtues, and the actions of the deceased, with an intention to increase the sorrow of the afflicted relations. In process of time they accompanied these lamentations with music, particularly of flutes, (Josephus, Bell., Mark 3:8,) a custom which prevailed likewise in the West. Ovid, Fast., lib. 6, Cantabant mæstis tibia funeribus. But the Jews were forbidden to tear their hair and cut their flesh in mourning for the dead, (Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1,) because such expressions of grief were inconsistent with resignation to the divine will, and looked as if they had no hope of their friends’ resurrection. Hence the apostle’s precept, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Sorrow not as others which have no hope. Besides, these rites were practised by the heathen, as a kind of sacrifices to the manes of the dead.” — Macknight.

And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.
And they laughed him to scorn. 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.
And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.
And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.
And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
Mark 5:43. He charged them that no man should know it — That he might avoid every appearance of vain-glory, might prevent too great a concourse of people, and might not further enrage the scribes and Pharisees against him; the time for his death, and for the full manifestation of his glory, not being yet come. He commanded that something should be given her to eat — So that when either natural or spiritual life is restored, even by immediate miracle, all proper means are to be used in order to preserve it.

Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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