And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought to you my son, which has a dumb spirit;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A dumb spirit.—This, again, is peculiar to St. Mark, as is also the “gnashing of the teeth” and the “pining” or “withering” in the next verse.
which hath a dumb spirit—a spirit whose operation had the effect of rendering his victim speechless, and deaf also (Mr 9:25). In Matthew's report of the speech (Mt 17:15), the father says "he is lunatic"; this being another and most distressing effect of the possession.Matthew 17:14-21;
(See Poole on "Matthew 17:14", and following verses to Matthew 17:21) and considered what Mark and Luke have to complete it. For our instruction we may learn several things from the consideration of it:
1. The great goodness of God in preserving us from the power of evil spirits, as also the daily working of his providence for our preservation. What but this kept this man from being destroyed by the fires and the waters into which he had been often thrown by the evil spirit?
2. That the shorter the devil’s time is, the more he rageth, Mark 9:20. This is true, both as to the devil himself, and his instruments: Revelation 12:12, The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. Thus, in the moment of conversion Christians often meet with the strongest conflicts of temptation.
3. The fault is not in Christ, but in ourselves, if we receive not that mercy from him which he hath, and which we stand in need of, and beg from him—If (saith Christ) thou canst believe.
4. God rewardeth weak faith where it is attended with a sincere desire of increase. This poor man showed a very imperfect faith in saying, If thou canst do any thing; but it being in some degree sincere, the Lord rewardeth it, though weak, he desiring an increase of it, and that God would from his goodness supply what was defective in his faith.
5. The great cures both of our bodies and souls in some cases, require more extraordinary and importunate addresses and applications unto God, more especially where evils are more inveterate. For other things relating to this history;
See Poole on "Matthew 17:14", and following verses to Matthew 17:21.
Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; signifying, that he had heard much of him, as a very great man, and he believed him to be a master in Israel, who was famous both for doctrine and miracles, and therefore he brought his son to him, to be cured by him; but Christ not being in the way, he proposed him to his disciples, who attempted it without success. The case of his son was, he had a "dumb spirit". The Evangelist Matthew says he was "lunatic", Matthew 17:15; and by his account of him it appears, that he had the "epilepsy", or falling sickness; and which, when upon him, took away the use of his speech. And so the Jews ascribe dumbness to the violence of a disease: thus they ask (g);
"what is "Cordiacus" (kardiakov)? one that has a disorder which affects the heart, and causes a deliquium (a fainting and swooning away), but a man, , "who is become dumb", through the force of a disease;''
which was the case of this child: though this disease did not arise from natural causes, but from a diabolical possession; for he had a spirit, a foul spirit, a devil, as he is called: some further account is given of this unhappy case, in the next verse.And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Mark 9:17. The father of the sick boy answers for the company, explaining the situation, laying the main stress of course on the deplorable condition of his child.—πρὸς δε, to thee, not aware that Jesus was absent.—πνεῦμα ἄλαλον, a dumb spirit; the boy dumb, and therefore by inference the spirit.17. my son] and his “only son” (Luke 9:38).
a dumb spirit] dumb in respect to articulate sounds, to which he could give no utterance, though he could suddenly cry out (Luke 9:39).Mark 9:17. Εἷς, one) Neither the Scribes nor the disciples were venturing to speak.Verse 17. - One of the multitude answered him, Master I brought - the Greek is ἤνεγκα - unto thee my son. He brought his son, expecting to find Jesus; but failing in this, he applied to our Lord's disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they could not. St. Matthew (Matthew 17:14) says that the man came kneeling to Christ, "and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic." The word in the Greek there is σεληνιάζεται. Etymologically, no doubt, "lunatic" conveys the meaning of the word most nearly. But the graphic description here of St. Mark corresponds exactly to epilepsy, and to epilepsy acted upon by an unclean spirit, who in this instance deprived the sufferer of his speech. Lunatics were so called from the prevailing impression, not without foundation, that the light and the changes of the moon have an influence upon the body, and so act through the body upon the mind. This influence seems to be recognized in Psalm 121:6, "The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night."
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