Mark 5:2
And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
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(2) A man with an unclean spirit.—The phrase. though not peculiar to St. Mark, is often used by him where the other Gospels have “possessed with demons, or devils.” St. Mark and St. Luke, it will be noticed, speak of one only; St. Matthew of two.

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.See this account of the demoniacs fully explained in the notes at Matthew 8:28-34.2. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately—(see Mr 5:6).

there met him a man with an unclean spirit—"which had devils [demons] long time" (Lu 8:27). In Matthew (Mt 8:28), "there met him two men possessed with devils." Though there be no discrepancy between these two statements—more than between two witnesses, one of whom testifies to something done by one person, while the other affirms that there were two—it is difficult to see how the principal details here given could apply to more than one case.

See Poole on "Mark 5:1"

And when he was come out of the ship,.... As soon as he was landed,

immediately there met him out of the tombs, a man with an unclean spirit. The Jews have a notion, that a man by dwelling among the tombs, becomes possessed with an unclean spirit: hence they say of one that seeks to the dead, or a necromancer (o), this is he that starves himself, and goes "and lodges in the tombs"; , "that so an unclean spirit may dwell upon him": which notion may arise from unclean spirits hurrying persons possessed by them, unto such places; partly for the terror, both of themselves and others; and partly to possess the minds of men with a persuasion, that they have power over the dead, and which is very great in such places. This case is the same with that, which is mentioned in Matthew 8:28 as appears partly from its following the storm, from which the disciples had a remarkable deliverance; and partly from the country, in which this affair happened; for the country of the Gergesenes, and of the Gadarenes, is the same, as has been observed; only it is called by different names, from two principal places in it: as also from various circumstances in this relation; as the character of the possessed being exceeding fierce, dwelling among the tombs, and coming out from thence; the expostulation of the devil with Christ, and adjuration not to torment him; his entreaty to go into the herd of swine, and the leave he had; the destruction of the swine in the sea; the fear and flight of the swine herds; the report they made to their masters and others; and the request of the people in general to Christ, that he would depart out of their coasts. And though Matthew makes mention of two that were possessed, and Mark but of one, there is no contradiction in the one to the other; for Mark does not say there were no more than one; had he, it would have been a glaring contradiction to the other evangelist; but as he has put it, there is none, and it creates no difficulty: wherefore the Jew (p) has no reason to object this as he does, as if the evangelists clashed with one another; and Mark may only take notice of this one, because he was the fiercest of the two, and had the most devils in him, having a legion of them; and because the conversation chiefly passed between Christ and him; and because the power of Christ was more manifestly seen in the dispossession of the devils out of him.

(o) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 65. 2. Nidda, fol. 17. 1. & Chagiga, fol. 3. 2. (p) Jacob Aben Amram, porta veritatia, No. 1028. apud Kidder's Demonstr. of the Messiah, par. 3. p. 51.

And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man {b} with an unclean spirit,

(b) Literally, in an unclean spirit; now they are said to be in the spirit because the spirit holds them tightly locked up, and as it were bound.

Mark 5:2. ἐξελ. αὐτοῦὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ; note the correction of style in Luke. Mark’s incorrectness is to be preferred as emphasising the fact that the meeting with the demoniac took place immediately after leaving the boat. Just on that account the εὐθὺς before ὑπήντησεν (omitted in [32]) is unnecessary.—ἐκ τ. μνημείων, from the tombs, as in Mt., ἐκ τῆς πόλεως in Lk.; the former doubtless the fact. Luke’s phrase probably means that he belonged to the city, not necessarily implying that he came from it just then (vide Luke 8:27, last clause).

[32] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

2. out of the tombs] These tombs were either natural caves or recesses hewn by art out of the rock, often so large as to be supported with columns, and with cells upon their sides for the reception of the dead. Such places were regarded as unclean because of the dead men’s bones which were there (Numbers 19:11; Numbers 19:16; Matthew 23:27). Such tombs can still be traced in more than one of the ravines on the eastern side of the Lake. Thomson’s Land and the Book, p. 376.

a man] St Matthew (Matthew 8:28) mentions two demoniacs, St Luke (Luke 8:27), like St Mark, only speaks of one. Probably one was better known in the country round than the other, or one was so much fiercer that the other was hardly taken any account of. “Amid all the boasted civilisation of antiquity, there existed no hospitals, no penitentiaries, no asylums; and unfortunates of this class, being too dangerous and desperate for human intercourse, could only be driven forth from among their fellow-men, and restrained from mischief by measures at once inadequate and cruel.” Farrar’s Life of Christ, i. p. 334.

no, not with chains] This is a general expression for any bonds confining the hands or feet. Comp. Acts 21:33; Ephesians 6:20; Revelation 20:1; fetters were restricted to the feet.

Mark 5:2. Εὐθέως, immediately) However, the man was preserved from casting himself into the sea as the swine did.—ἐν, in) The particle contains the emphasis of the clause.

Verses 2-5. - There met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. St. Matthew says that there were two. St. Luke, like St. Mark, mentions only one, and him "possessed with devils," The one mentioned by St. Mark was no doubt the more prominent and fierce of the two. This does not mean merely a person with a disordered intellect. No doubt, in this case, as in that of insanity, physical causes may have helped to lay the victim open to such an incursion; and this may account for cases of possession being enumerated with various sicknesses, though distinguished from them. But our Lord evidently deals with these persons, not as persons suffering from insanity, but as the subjects of an alien spiritual power, external to themselves. He addresses the unclean spirit through the man that was possessed, and says," Come forth thou unclean spirit" (Ver. 8). There met him out of the tombs. The Jews did not have their burial-places in their cities, lest they should be defiled; therefore they buried their dead without the gates in the fields or mountains. Their sepulchres were frequently hewn out of the rock in the sides of the limestone hills, and they were lofty and capacious; so that the living could enter them, as into a vault. So this demoniac dwelt in the tombs, because the unclean spirit drove him thither, where the associations of the place would accord with his malady and aggravate its symptoms. St. Matthew, speaking of the two, says that they were "exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass that way." The demoniac particularly mentioned by St. Mark is described as having been possessed of that extraordinary muscular strength which maniacs so often put forth; so that all efforts to bind and restrain him had proved ineffectual. No man could any more bind him, no, not with a chain (οὐδὲ ἁλύσειύ). Chains and fetters had often been tried, but in vain. Frequently too, in the paroxysms of his malady, he would turn his violence against himself, crying out, and cutting himself with stones. Mark 5:2
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