Matthew Poole's Commentary
And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.Mark 5:1-20 Christ casteth out the legion of devils, and suffereth
them to enter into the herd of swine.
Mark 5:21-24 He is entreated by Jairus to go and heal his daughter.
Mark 5:25-34 By the way he healeth a woman of an inveterate issue
Mark 5:35-43 He raiseth Jairus’s daughter to life.
Ver. 1-20. This famous piece of history hath the testimony of three evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. We meeting with it in Matthew, did not only largely open what passages Matthew hath about it, but what both Mark and Luke have. See Poole on "Matthew 8:28", and following verses to Matthew 8:34. We shall only annex here some short notes. Interpreters judge the country of the Gergesenes, and of
the Gadarenes mentioned here, to have been the same, sometimes receiving the denomination from one city, sometimes from another in it. Why the devils are called unclean spirits, in opposition to the Holy Spirit, &c., we have formerly showed; as also why they delight to be about tombs. We have also showed his power, which (by God’s permission) he exerciseth upon men: some he possesseth, and acteth the part of the soul in them (especially as to the locomotive faculty); these are properly called demoniacs, energoumenoi. Others he afflicts more as a foreign agent, offering violence to them. Others he more secretly influences, by impressions and suggestions: thus he still ordinarily worketh in the children of disobedience, Ephesians 2:2; nor are the people of God free from this impetus, though, being succoured by Christ, they are not so ordinarily overcome. Of the mighty power of the evil angels to break chains and fetters we need not doubt, considering that though fallen from their first righteousness, they yet have their natural power as spirits.
I adjure thee by God, is no more than, I solemnly entreat thee; it hath not the force of, Swear unto me by God, as some would have it. Matthew mentions two (of these demoniacs); Mark and Luke but one: there were doubtless two, but probably one of them was not so raging as the other, and therefore less taken notice of. Some think one of these men was a heathen, the other a Jew:
1. Because the term legion, which the demoniac gives himself, is a heathen term, signifying a squadron of soldiers, about six thousand or more, as some reckon.
2. Christ was now in a country full of heathens.
3. The woman of whose cure we next read was a Syrophenician. It is observable, that a multitude of evil spirits is called by the name of the devil; because, though considered as individual spirits they are many, yet in their malice and mischievous designs against mankind they are as one.
Oh that the people of God were as well united in designs for his glory! Some interpreters start a question here, not very easy to be resolved, viz. What made the devils so desirous that Christ would not send them out of the country. Their answer is not improbable: That it was a paganish, ignorant, sottish place, where usually the devil hath the best markets and the greatest rule. For as it is said of Christ, that he could not do much in some places where he came because of their unbelief; so neither can the devil do much in some places, because of the faith of the gospel received by them. Hence it is observable, that as the devil is not able to play his game in any place amongst Christians, as he doth this day amongst heathens; so he hath much less power at this day in places where the word of God is more generally known, and more faithfully preached, than in other places where people are more ignorant of the Scriptures, and have less faithful and frequent preaching. In the latter he dealeth most by more inward suggestions and impressions. Our learned Dr. Lightfoot observes it probable, that this city or country was generally made up of pagans, or apostatized Jews, because they nourished so many swine, which to the Jews were unclean beasts. For other things relating to the explication of this history;
See Poole on "Matthew 8:28", and following verses to Matthew 8:34.
And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.Ver. 7. See Poole on "Mark 5:6"
For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.See Poole on "Mark 5:1"
And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.See Poole on "Mr 5:1"
And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.See Poole on "Mr 5:1"
And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.See Poole on "Mr 5:1"
Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.Ver. 19. See Poole on "Mr 5:1"
And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.Ver. 20. See Poole on "Mr 5:1"
And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.Ver. 21-24. This whole history also is recorded both by Matthew and Luke, and we have already fully opened the several passages of it mentioned by all the evangelists, to which we refer the reader. (See Poole on "Matthew 9:18", &c.), Christ was now come over again into Galilee, where though the temple was not, yet there were synagogues, where the people did ordinarily assemble to worship God. Nor were they without order in these synagogues; they had one whom they called the ruler of the synagogue, who directed and ordered the affairs of that particular synagogue. It is more probable that Jairus (here mentioned) was in that sense so called, than because he was one of the court of twenty-three which the Jews are said to have had in every city.
And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,See Poole on "Mark 5:21"
And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.See Poole on "Mark 5:21"
And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.See Poole on "Mark 5:21"
And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,Ver. 25-34. See Poole on "Matthew 9:18", and following verses to Matthew 9:22, upon this whole history, containing a passage which happened in the way between the place where our Saviour first heard of the sickness of Jairus’s daughter and his house, whither our Saviour was now going. We shall in these histories observe our Saviour propounding several questions to persons: of the matter to which they related, he could not be presumed to be ignorant, being as to his Divine nature omniscient; but he only propounded them for the bettering of the knowledge of those to whom or amongst whom he spake, that his miracles might be more fully and distinctly understood. So also he is said to have known many things (as here,
that virtue had gone out of him) which he only knew as he was God, and knew all things. It is also observable how Christ encourages the first rudiments of saving faith in him. All that we read of this woman is, that she said,
If I may but touch his clothes, I shall be whole: this was much short of her owning and receiving him as her Lord and Saviour. It amounted to no more than a persuasion she had of his Divine power and goodness, and that with respect to the healing of a bodily distemper; neither doth it import her believing him to be the eternal Son of God, but one to whom God had communicated a power of healing. In this confidence she cometh unto him, and toucheth the border of his garment. She is presently healed. Christ saith, her faith had made her whole. Christ measures her faith by the light and means she had received, and accordingly rewards it; and if the notion be true, that where he healed the body he also healed the soul, this was the beginning of a greater faith in her.
And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,See Poole on "Mark 5:25"
When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.See Poole on "Mr 5:25"
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.See Poole on "Mark 5:25"
And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.See Poole on "Mark 5:25"
And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?See Poole on "Mark 5:30"
And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?See Poole on "Mark 5:25"
And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.See Poole on "Mark 5:25"
But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.See Poole on "Mark 5:25"
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.See Poole on "Mark 5:25"
While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?Ver. 35-43. There is nothing in this history needeth further notes for explication, than what we gave in the notes on Matthew, to which I here refer the reader; See Poole on "Matthew 9:18", See Poole on "Matthew 9:19", See Poole on "Matthew 9:23", and following verses to Matthew 9:31.
There is nothing more unaccountable in all the passages of our Saviour’s life recorded by the evangelists, than the charges that he gave to several persons healed by him,
that no man should know it. Especially if we consider:
1. That he did not charge all so; he bid the person possesses with the devil, Luke 5:19, go home to his friends, and tell them how great things the Lord had done for him.
2. That he could not expect to be concealed had they yielded obedience, for his miracles were done openly, and it was not likely that all would keep silence, nay, he commanded the leper to go and show himself to the priests.
3. Few of those thus charged did keep silence; nor do we ever find that Christ reflected blame on them, from which yet we cannot acquit them.
But we must not think to understand the reasons of all Christ’s actions and speeches; he had doubtless wise ends in doing it, though we do not understand them.
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.See Poole on "Mark 5:35"
And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.See Poole on "Mark 5:35"
And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.See Poole on "Mark 5:35"
And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.See Poole on "Mark 5:35"
And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.See Poole on "Mark 5:35"
And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.Ver. 41. See Poole on "Mark 5:35"
And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.See Poole on "Mark 5:35"
And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.See Poole on "Mark 5:35"