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Mark 5:1-20

Context
Healing of a Demoniac

5:1 So 1  they came to the other side of the lake, to the region of the Gerasenes. 2  5:2 Just as Jesus 3  was getting out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit 4  came from the tombs and met him. 5  5:3 He lived among the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 5:4 For his hands and feet had often been bound with chains and shackles, 6  but 7  he had torn the chains apart and broken the shackles in pieces. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5:5 Each night and every day among the tombs and in the mountains, he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 5:6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him. 5:7 Then 8  he cried out with a loud voice, “Leave me alone, 9  Jesus, Son of the Most High God! I implore you by God 10  – do not torment me!” 5:8 (For Jesus 11  had said to him, “Come out of that man, you unclean spirit!”) 12  5:9 Jesus 13  asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “My name is Legion, 14  for we are many.” 5:10 He begged Jesus 15  repeatedly not to send them out of the region. 5:11 There on the hillside, 16  a great herd of pigs was feeding. 5:12 And the demonic spirits 17  begged him, “Send us into the pigs. Let us enter them.” 5:13 Jesus 18  gave them permission. 19  So 20  the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs. Then the herd rushed down the steep slope into the lake, and about two thousand were drowned in the lake.

5:14 Now 21  the herdsmen ran off and spread the news in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 5:15 They came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man sitting there, clothed and in his right mind – the one who had the “Legion” – and they were afraid. 5:16 Those who had seen what had happened to the demon-possessed man reported it, and they also told about the pigs. 5:17 Then 22  they asked Jesus 23  to leave their region. 5:18 As he was getting into the boat the man who had been demon-possessed asked if he could go 24  with him. 5:19 But 25  Jesus 26  did not permit him to do so. Instead, he said to him, “Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you, 27  that he had mercy on you.” 5:20 So 28  he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis 29  what Jesus had done for him, 30  and all were amazed.

1 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate a summary and transition in the narrative.

2 tc The textual tradition here is quite complicated. Most later mss (A C Ë13 Ï syp,h) read “Gadarenes,” which is the better reading in Matt 8:28. Other mss (א2 L Δ Θ Ë1 28 33 565 579 700 892 1241 1424 al sys bo) have “Gergesenes.” Others (א* B D latt sa) have “Gerasenes,” which is the reading followed in the translation here and in Luke 8:26. The difference between Matthew and Mark (which is parallel to Luke) may well have to do with uses of variant regional terms.

sn The region of the Gerasenes would be in Gentile territory on the (south)eastern side of the Sea of Galilee across from Galilee. Matthew 8:28 records this miracle as occurring “in the region of the Gadarenes.” “Irrespective of how one settles this issue, for the [second and] Third Evangelist the chief concern is that Jesus has crossed over into Gentile territory, ‘opposite Galilee’” (J. B. Green, Luke [NICNT], 337). The region of Gadara extended to the Sea of Galilee and included the town of Sennabris on the southern shore – the town that the herdsmen most likely entered after the drowning of the pigs.

3 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 sn Unclean spirit refers to an evil spirit.

5 tn Grk “met him from the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.” When this is converted to normal English word order (“a man met him from the tombs with an unclean spirit”) it sounds as if “with an unclean spirit” modifies “the tombs.” Likewise, “a man with an unclean spirit from the tombs met him” implies that the unclean spirit came from the tombs, while the Greek text is clear that it is the man who had the unclean spirit who came from the tombs. To make this clear a second verb, “came,” is supplied in English: “came from the tombs and met him.”

6 tn Grk “he had often been bound with chains and shackles.” “Shackles” could also be translated “fetters”; they were chains for the feet.

7 tn Grk “and.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

8 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

9 tn Grk What to me and to you?” (an idiom). The phrase τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί (ti emoi kai soi) is Semitic in origin, though it made its way into colloquial Greek (BDAG 275 s.v. ἐγώ). The equivalent Hebrew expression in the OT had two basic meanings: (1) When one person was unjustly bothering another, the injured party could say “What to me and to you?” meaning, “What have I done to you that you should do this to me?” (Judg 11:12, 2 Chr 35:21, 1 Kgs 17:18). (2) When someone was asked to get involved in a matter he felt was no business of his own, he could say to the one asking him, “What to me and to you?” meaning, “That is your business, how am I involved?” (2 Kgs 3:13, Hos 14:8). These nuances were apparently expanded in Greek, but the basic notions of defensive hostility (option 1) and indifference or disengagement (option 2) are still present. BDAG suggests the following as glosses for this expression: What have I to do with you? What have we in common? Leave me alone! Never mind! Hostility between Jesus and the demons is certainly to be understood in this context, hence the translation: “Leave me alone….”

10 sn Though it seems unusual for a demon to invoke God’s name (“I implore you by God”) in his demands of Jesus, the parallel in Matt 8:29 suggests the reason: “Why have you come to torment us before the time?” There was an appointed time in which demons would face their judgment, and they seem to have viewed Jesus’ arrival on the scene as an illegitimate change in God’s plan regarding the time when their sentence would be executed.

11 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 sn This is a parenthetical explanation by the author.

13 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

14 sn The name Legion means “thousands,” a word taken from a Latin term for a large group of soldiers. The term not only suggests a multiple possession, but also adds a military feel to the account. This is a true battle.

15 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

16 tn Grk “mountain,” but this might give the English reader the impression of a far higher summit.

17 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the demonic spirits) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 sn Many have discussed why Jesus gave them permission, since the animals were destroyed. However, this is another example of a miracle that is a visual lesson. The demons are destructive: They were destroying the man. They destroyed the pigs. They destroy whatever they touch. The point was to take demonic influence seriously, as well as Jesus’ power over it as a picture of the larger battle for human souls. There would be no doubt how the man’s transformation had taken place.

20 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate a conclusion and transition in the narrative.

21 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate a transition to the response to the miraculous healing.

22 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

23 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

24 tn Grk “be,” that is, “remain.” In this context that would involve accompanying Jesus as he went on his way.

25 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

26 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

27 sn Jesus instructs the man to declare what the Lord has done for him, in contrast to the usual instructions (e.g., 1:44; 5:43) to remain silent. Here in Gentile territory Jesus allowed more open discussion of his ministry. D. L. Bock (Luke [BECNT], 1:781) suggests that with few Jewish religious representatives present, there would be less danger of misunderstanding Jesus’ ministry as political.

28 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “So” to indicate the conclusion of the episode in the narrative.

29 sn The Decapolis refers to a league of towns (originally consisting of ten; the Greek name literally means “ten towns”) whose region (except for Scythopolis) lay across the Jordan River.

30 sn Note that the man could not separate what God had done from the one through whom God had done it (what Jesus had done for him). This man was called to witness to God’s goodness at home.



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