11:23 Whoever is not with me is against me, 1 and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 2
11:24 “When an unclean spirit 3 goes out of a person, 4 it passes through waterless places 5 looking for rest but 6 not finding any. Then 7 it says, ‘I will return to the home I left.’ 8 11:25 When it returns, 9 it finds the house 10 swept clean and put in order. 11 11:26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there, so 12 the last state of that person 13 is worse than the first.” 14
1 sn Whoever is not with me is against me. The call here is to join the victor. Failure to do so means that one is being destructive. Responding to Jesus is the issue.
2 sn For the image of scattering, see Pss. Sol. 17:18.
4 tn Grk “man.” This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females.
5 sn The background for the reference to waterless places is not entirely clear, though some Jewish texts suggest spirits must have a place to dwell, but not with water (Luke 8:29-31; Tob 8:3). Some suggest that the image of the desert or deserted cities as the places demons dwell is where this idea started (Isa 13:21; 34:14).
6 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
7 tc ‡ Most
8 tn Grk “I will return to my house from which I came.”
9 tn Grk “comes.”
10 tn The words “the house” are not in Greek but are implied.
11 sn The image of the house swept clean and put in order refers to the life of the person from whom the demon departed. The key to the example appears to be that no one else has been invited in to dwell. If an exorcism occurs and there is no response to God, then the way is free for the demon to return. Some see the reference to exorcism as more symbolic; thus the story’s only point is about responding to Jesus. This is possible and certainly is an application of the passage.
12 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the concluding point of the story.
13 tn Grk “man.” This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females.
14 sn The point of the story is that to fail to respond is to risk a worse fate than when one started.