For he said to him, Come out of the man, you unclean spirit.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For he said unto him.—The Greek verb is in the imperfect tense, he was saying, as though the demoniac had interrupted our Lord even while the words were in the act of being uttered.
Thou unclean spirit.—It is noticeable that our Lord first speaks as if the men were oppressed by a single demon only, and that it is in the answer of the man himself that we learn that their name was Legion. (On the man’s use of the word “Legion,” see Note on Matthew 8:29.)
Come out of the man, unclean spirit!—Ordinarily, obedience to a command of this nature was immediate. But here, a certain delay is permitted, the more signally to manifest the power of Christ and accomplish His purposes.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
come out of the man, thou unclean spirit; which was said with so much authority and power, that there was no withstanding it: the devil knew he was not a match for him; that he must, at his command, quit his possession, and therefore fell to confession and entreaty. Christ will not dwell where Satan does; when therefore he is about to take up his residence in the hearts of any, he outs with Satan; he binds the strong man armed, and dispossesses him; he causes the spirit of uncleanness to depart; he sanctifies the heart by his grace and Spirit, and so makes it a proper habitation for him to dwell in by faith; and this is done by mighty power: a man cannot deliver himself out of the hands of Satan, or cause him to quit his hold of him, or the unclean spirit to depart; nor can he sanctify and cleanse himself, and make himself meet for the master's use: this is all owing to efficacious grace.For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Mark 5:8. ἔλεγεν γὰρ, for He was about to say: not yet said, but evident from Christ’s manner and look that it was on His tongue; the conative imperfect (Weiss).Mark 5:8. Τὸ) The language is so framed, as if it were of only one demon; and Mark 5:13; Mark 5:9, imply there were many demons, who rendered obedience to one superior, as a legion does to its commander. That one alone, and pre-eminently, seems to maintain a continual and uninterrupted connection with his own legion, inasmuch as they are comprehended under his own name.Verses 8, 9. - For he said unto him, Come forth, thou unclean spirit, out of the man; literally, for he was saying (ἔλεγε). The unclean spirit endeavored to arrest, before it was spoken, that word of power which he knew he must obey. So in what follows, He was asking him (ἐπηρώτα), What is thy name? Why does our Lord ask this question? Clearly to elicit from him an answer that would reveal the multitude of the evil spirits, and so make his own power over them to be fully known. And he saith unto him, My name is Legion; for we are many. The Roman legion consisted of six thousand soldiers. But the word is here used indefinitely for a large number. St. Luke so explains it where he says (Luke 8:30), "And he said, Legion: for many devils were entered into him." This revelation is doubtless designed to teach us how great is the number as well as the malignity of the evil spirits. If one human being can be possessed by so many, how vast must be the host of those who are permitted to have access to the souls of men, and if possible lead them to destruction! Satan here imitates him who is "The Lord of hosts." He too marshals his hosts, that he may fight against God and his people. But "for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
Imperfect tense, he was saying; the force of which is lost both in the A. V. and Rev. The imperfect gives the reason for this strange entreaty of the demon. Jesus was commanding, was saying "come out;" and, as in the case of the epileptic child at the Transfiguration Mount, the baffled spirit wreaked his malice on the man. The literal rendering of the imperfect brings out the simultaneousness of Christ's exorcism, the outbreak of demoniac malice, and the cry Torment me not.
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