Mark 9:20
And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
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(20) He fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.—Another graphic touch found only in St. Mark.

Mark 9:20-22. And when he saw him — When the child saw Jesus, being brought to him by his father: when his deliverance was at hand; immediately the spirit tore him — Made his last, grand effort to destroy him. Is it not generally so, before Satan relinquishes his power over a soul of which he has long had possession? And he (Christ) asked, How long is it, &c. — The Lord Jesus made this inquiry for the same reason for which he suffered Satan to make the violent attack upon the youth just mentioned, namely, that the spectators might be impressed with a more lively sense of his deplorable condition. And he said, From a child — Greek, παιδιοθεν, from his childhood, or, as some render it, from his infancy. And ofttimes it — The evil spirit; hath cast him into the fire, &c., to destroy him — Such is the power it has over him, and such its infernal rage and malice! But if thou canst do any thing — In so desperate a case; have compassion on us — On me as well as him; and help us — The afflicted father, greatly discouraged by the inability of our Lord’s disciples, and dispirited by the sight of his son’s misery, and by the remembrance of its long continuance, was afraid this possession might surpass the power of Jesus himself, and therefore spoke thus, expressing his doubts and fears in a manner very natural, and yet strongly pathetic, and obliquely interesting the honour of Christ in the issue of the affair.

9:14-29 The father of the suffering youth reflected on the want of power in the disciples; but Christ will have him reckon the disappointment to the want of faith. Very much is promised to our believing. If thou canst believe, it is possible that thy hard heart may be softened, thy spiritual diseases may be cured; and, weak as thou art, thou mayest be able to hold out to the end. Those that complain of unbelief, must look up to Christ for grace to help them against it, and his grace will be sufficient for them. Whom Christ cures, he cures effectually. But Satan is unwilling to be driven from those that have been long his slaves, and, when he cannot deceive or destroy the sinner, he will cause him all the terror that he can. The disciples must not think to do their work always with the same ease; some services call for more than ordinary pains.And wheresoever - In whatever place - at home or abroad, alone or in public.

He teareth him - He rends, distracts, or throws him into convulsions.

He foameth - At the mouth, like a mad animal. Among us these would all be considered as marks of violent derangement or madness.

And pineth away - Becomes thin, haggard, and emaciated. This was the effect of the violence of his struggles, and perhaps of the want of food.

20. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him—Just as the man with the legion of demons, "when he saw Jesus, ran and worshipped Him" (Mr 5:6), so this demon, when he saw Him, immediately "tare him." The feeling of terror and rage was the same in both cases.

and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming—Still Jesus does nothing, but keeps conversing with the father about the case—partly to have its desperate features told out by him who knew them best, in the hearing of the spectators; partly to let its virulence have time to show itself; and partly to deepen the exercise of the father's soul, to draw out his faith, and thus to prepare both him and the by-standers for what He was to do.

See Poole on "Mark 1:17"

And they brought him unto him,.... The father of the child, and those that were with him, brought the child to Jesus, into his presence, before him:

and when he saw him, that is, either when Jesus saw the child, or the child saw Jesus; or the evil spirit in him, and by him which were all at once:

straightway the spirit tare him; threw him into a violent fit, shook him, and convulsed him in a dreadful manner; knowing his time was short, and being filled with indignation and rage, that he should be obliged, as he knew he must, to leave the child very speedily; and was therefore resolved to do all the mischief, and put him to all the pain he could:

and he fell on the ground; at the feet of Jesus, not being able to stand, through the violent motions and convulsions he threw him into:

and wallowed, foaming; rolled about from side to side, foaming at the mouth, and in the most exquisite rack and torture.

And they brought him unto him: and when he {g} saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

(g) As soon as Jesus had looked upon the boy that was brought to him, the demon began to rage in this way.

Mark 9:20. ἰδὼν may be taken as referring to the boy (Schanz), in which case we should have an anacolouthistic nominative for the accusative, the writer having in view to express his meaning in passives (ἐκυλίετο); or to the spirit (πνεῦμα) by a construction ad sensum = the spirit seeing Jesus made a last attack (Weiss in Meyer, et al.). This is most in keeping with the mode of conceiving the matter natural to the evangelist. The visible fact was a fresh fit, and the explanation, from the possession point of view, that the spirit, seeing Jesus, and knowing that his power was at an end, made a final assault.

20. straightway the spirit] The mere introduction to our Lord brings on one of the sudden and terrible paroxysms, to which he was liable.

Mark 9:20. Ἰδὼν) Others read ἰδὸν, which is to be referred to πνεῦμα. Comp. Heupelii annot. on Mark, p. 230. Ἰδὼν remains the established reading, i.e. the boy seeing Him, viz. Jesus: and the construction is conveniently analysed and explained by Hyperbaton,[5] and seeing Him and falling, etc.; wherein the straightway, etc., interrupts the construction the less violently, inasmuch as it is all the same as if he were to say, forthwith he was torn by the spirit. A similar figure of speech occurs, ch. Mark 3:17.

[5] Words transposed contrary to the ordinary and natural construction: ἤνεγκαν αὐτὸν (the boy) πρὸς αὐτὸν (Jesus); καὶ ἰδὼν (the boy) αὐτὸν (Jesus), εὐθέως τὸ πνεῦμα ἑσπάραξεν αὐτὸν (the boy); καὶ πεσὼν (the boy), etc.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 20. - And they brought him unto him. The father, it would seem, was not able of himself to bring him, so fierce and violent were the paroxysms of the disorder. And when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him (συνεσπέραξεν) - it might be rendered, convulsed him - grievously. Observe the Greek construction (καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν τὸ πνεῦμα), masculine participle with neuter noun. The sight of Christ stirred the evil spirit dwelling in the child. He was irritated by the presence of Christ; for he knew his power, and feared lest he should be cast out. Then came the last and most violent convulsion. He wallowed foaming. The word "to wallow" is probably from the Latin volvo. He rolled about in his agony. St. Gregory, quoted by Trench ('Miracles,' p. 397), shows how true all this is to nature; and that "the expulsion of a deadly evil from our spiritual being is not accomplished without a terrible struggle, followed in some cases by extreme prostration." Mark 9:20Mark is more specific in his detail of the convulsion which seized the lad as he was coming to Jesus. He notes the convulsion as coming on at the demoniac's sight of our Lord. "When he saw him, straightway the spirit," etc. Also his falling on the ground, wallowing and foaming. We might expect the detail of these symptoms in Luke, the physician.
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