Mark 5:9
And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
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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.My name is Legion - See the notes at Matthew 8:29.9. And he asked him, What is thy name?—The object of this question was to extort an acknowledgment of the virulence of demoniacal power by which this victim was enthralled.

And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many—or, as in Luke (Lu 8:30) "because many devils [demons] were entered into him." A legion, in the Roman army, amounted, at its full complement, to six thousand; but here the word is used, as such words with us, and even this one, for an indefinitely large number—large enough however to rush, as soon as permission was given, into two thousand swine and destroy them.

See Poole on "Mark 5:1"

And he asked him, what is thy name?.... Which question Christ put, not for his own sake; for he was not ignorant of his name, nor of the number of the unclean spirits which were in the man; but partly, that it might be known what a miserable condition this poor man was in, being infested, and vexed with such a large company of devils; and partly, that his own pity and power in delivering him, might be more manifest;

and he answered, saying, my name is Legion: the Syriac version renders it, "our name is Legion"; the reason of which name is given,

for we are many: as a Roman legion did consist of many, though its number was not always alike: in the time of Romulus, a legion consisted of three thousand foot, and three hundred horse; afterwards, when the city was, increased, of six thousand foot, and six hundred horse; sometimes it was six thousand and two hundred foot, and three hundred horse; sometimes four thousand foot, and three hundred horse; sometimes five thousand foot, and three hundred horse (x). Some make a legion to consist of six thousand six hundred sixty six; and others make it much larger, even twelve thousand five hundred: however, the number in a legion was many; hence the word is retained among the Jews, and is used for a large number, either of persons or things; as, , "a legion of olives" (y): that is, a large number of them; though sometimes it is used of a single person, who has others under him, as the general of an army: thus it is said (z) that one man should say to another,

"from whence art thou? he replies, from such a "legion" am I;--the man went to the legion--the legion heard, and was afraid--the man said, woe unto me! now will the legion slay me--the legion heard, &c.''

And again (a),

"a certain legion asked R. Abba, is it not written, &c.''

Once more (b),

"Lo! such a legion shall go with thee, to keep thee, &c.''

Upon which the gloss is, , "the general of an army"; so called, because he had a legion, or a large number of soldiers under his command: and just so this unclean spirit is called by this name, because he had a great many more with him, and under him, in that man; sometimes it is only used of a single person himself, as of a king's servant sent into a foreign country, to collect his (c) tax: a legion was reckoned by the Jews unclean and defiled, whatsoever place they entered into (d); how much more unclean must this man be, that had a legion of unclean spirits in him! From hence it appears, that the devils are very numerous; for if there was a legion of them in one man, how many must there be in all the children of disobedience, to maintain their ground, and support their interest among them? As there is an innumerable company of holy angels to encamp about the saints, and do them all the service they can, and axe appointed to; so there is undoubtedly an innumerable company of devils, who do all the hurt they can, or are permitted to do, unto the sons of men: hence they are expressed by words, which signify number as well as power; as principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places, the power or posse of the air, the angels of Satan, the angels that sinned and left their habitations, &c. As also that they are in a body, and in the form of an army; with a general at the head of them, the prince of devils, and king of the bottomless pit: there are whole squadrons and regiments of them, yea, even legions; which are formed in battle array, and make war against Christ, the seed of the woman; as they did when he was in the garden, and hung upon the cross, which was the hour and power of darkness; and against his members; as they did in Rome pagan against the Christian church, and in Rome papal, against the same, Revelation 12:7, and what a mercy it is for the saints, that besides twelve legions of good angels and more, which are ready to assist and protect them, they have God on their side, and therefore it signifies not who is against them; and they have Christ with them, who has spoiled principalities and powers; and greater is the Holy Spirit that is in them, than he that is in the world.

(x) Alexander ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 1. c. 5. Liv. Hist. l. 8. c. 8. (y) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 20. fol. 17. 4. (z) Zohar in Gen. fol. 96. 4. & Ivare Binah in ib. (a) Ib. in Exod. fol. 50. 2.((b) Zohar in Exod. fol. 51. 4. (c) Vajikra Rabba, sect. 30. fol. 170. 4. & Mattanot Cehuna in ib. (d) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 123. 1.

And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
Mark 5:9. τί σοι ὄνομα; instead of saying at once what He had meant to say, Jesus adopts a roundabout method of dealing with the case, and asks the demoniac his name, as if to bring him into composure.—Λεγιὼν: from the Roman legion not a rare sight in that region, emblem of irresistible power and of a multitude organised into unity; the name already naturalised into Greek and Aramaean. The use of it by the demoniac, like the immediate recognition of Jesus as a God-like person, reveals a sensitive, fine-strung mind wrecked by insanity.

9. My name is Legion] “He had seen the thick and serried ranks of a Roman legion, that fearful instrument of oppression, that sign of terror and fear to the conquered nations.” Even such, terrible in their strength, inexorable in their hostility, were the “lords many,” which had dominion over him. Compare (i) the “seven demons,” by whom Mary Magdalene was possessed (Luke 8:2), (ii) the “seven other spirits” “worse than the first,” which our Lord describes as taking up their abode in a man (Matthew 12:45).

Mark 5:9. Λεγεὼν, Legion) An appellation by Synecdoche [see Append., the genus for the species]. There was one principal leader among them, and the rest were conjoined with him, constituting thus the legion: and this, whether he had previously borne this Latin name, before that he entered this man, or then first assumed it.—πολλοί ἐσμεν, we are many) Luke affirms this in his own words [not in the man’s or the demon’s], ch. Mark 8:30. If in one nest [dwelling] there can be so many, how many there must be in the whole aggregate throughout the World! [Mere number in itself does not produce protection (patronage).—V. g.]

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