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Bible Commentaries

People's New Testament

Mark 5

SUMMARY.--In the Country of the Gadarenes. The Fierce Demoniac. The Demons and the Swine. The Gadarenes Do Not Wish Jesus. The Preacher in Decapolis. Jesus Again in Capernaum. The Daughter of Jairus. The Woman with the Issue of Blood. Healed by Faith. The Dead Damsel Made Alive.

Verse 1

They came to the other side. After the storm.

Into the country of the Gerasenes. Matthew in the parallel account says Gadarenes. The explanation is easy. Gerasa, a town whose modern name is Gersa, stood on the southeast shore of the sea, while Gadara, the chief city of the district, was south about seven or eight miles. As the capital city of the district, "the country of the Gadarenes" embraced Gerasa and its vicinity.

Verse 2

There met him out of the tombs. The tombs are still seen in the cliff near Gersa. For notes on demoniacal possession and this account see Mat 8:28-33. Compare Luk 8:26-39.

Verse 3

Dwelling in the tombs. The tombs of that age were either natural or artificial caves in a rocky hillside, and hence would afford shelter. They are now sometimes the homes of the poorer classes.

No man could bind him. Modern lunatics in their frenzy often exhibit almost superhuman strength.

Verse 10

Besought . . . that he would not send them out of the country. In other words, "Do not send us back to the place of perdition from whence we came." They confess the power of Christ.

Verse 11

Mountain side. At Gersa the mountain rises near the sea.

A great herd of swine. Either the property of Gentiles, or of Jews who disobeyed the law of Moses for gain.

Verse 13

Ran . . . down a steep place. The declivity at the base of the mountain at Gersa is almost perpendicular.

Verse 17

They began to pray him to depart. Christ does not stay where he is not wanted. He never visited the country of the Gadarenes again.

Verse 20

Decapolis. A district so called from its ten cities, of which Gadara was one. The first preacher of Christ there was one who could testify of his power.

Verse 21

When Jesus was passed . . . to the other side. Sailed back across the sea to Capernaum.

Verse 22

One of the rulers of the synagogue. The office of ruler in the synagogue was somewhat similar to that of elder in a Christian congregation.

Verse 23

At the point of death. In Mar 5:35 the word comes to the ruler that his daughter is dead. Matthew in his account condenses the two reports and says, "She is dead."

Verse 25

And a certain woman. For notes on this miracle, see Mat 9:20-22. Compare Luke 8:41-56.

An issue of blood. A hemorrhage of the womb or bowels.

Verse 26

Suffered many things of many physicians. The medical art in Judea in that age was in a very crude condition. Lightfoot gives, from the Rabbinical books, the remedy for a female hemorrhage: "Let them dig seven ditches, in which let them burn some cuttings of vines under four years old. Let her take in her hand a cup of wine; let them lead her away from this ditch and make her sit over that. Let them remove her from that and sit her over another. At each removal you must say to her, 'Arise for thy flux.'" This is an illustration of what this woman suffered.

Verse 30

Perceiving that power. Christ, conscious of the approach and condition of this woman, voluntarily healed her. His language that follows is to bring out the moral issue. He cured her, not by touch or word, as was usual with him, but by act of will. By his question he called out her public confession. Faith saves. It may not be intelligent faith, for this woman was not well instructed, but is a faith strong enough to lead to action.

Verse 35

While he yet spake, . . . Thy daughter is dead. For notes on this example of Christ's power over death, see Mat 9:18-19 and Mat 9:23-26. Compare Luk 8:41-42 and Luk 8:49-56.

Verse 37

Suffered no man to follow him. Into the house of the ruler. The mourners were excluded and only the parents and three apostles, the same three that saw him transfigured, and in the agony of Gethsemane, were allowed to enter. Matthew omits this fact.

Verse 38

Many weeping and wailing greatly. At a Jewish funeral were professional mourners called by Matthew "minstrels." It is still the funeral fashion in the East.

Verse 41

Talitha cumi. Words from the common language of the people of Palestine in that age, meaning, "Damsel, arise."

Verse 42

Straightway. The restoration was immediate.

Verse 43

That no man should know it. That is, that it should not be published abroad. It was often needful for Jesus to restrain the fame of his miracles for various reasons, one of which was the wrath they excited in the Jewish authorities. It was needful for him to delay exciting them to the point of putting him to death till his time had come.

There are three cases, besides his own resurrection, of Christ raising the dead. This case is immediately after death; another, that of the son of the widow of Nain (Luk 7:11-15), at least twenty-four hours after death; the third, that of Lazarus (John, chapter 11), several days after death, when corruption would naturally have begun; in one case privately; in the second, publicly; in the third, before bitter enemies.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Mark 5". "People's New Testament". 1891.