Mark 5


The man possessed with a legion of demons cured, 1-20.

He raises Jairus's daughter to life, and cures the woman who

had an issue of blood, 21-43.


Verse 1. The Gadarenes.] Some of the MSS. have Gergasenes,

and some of them Gerasenes. Griesbach seems to prefer the latter.

See Clarke on Mt 8:28.

The Gadarenes were included within the limits of the

Gergasenes. Dr. Lightfoot supposes that, of the two demoniacs

mentioned here, one was of Gadara, and consequently a heathen, the

other was a Gergesenian, and consequently a Jew; and he thinks

that Mark and Luke mention the Gadarene demoniac because his case

was a singular one, being the only heathen cured by our Lord,

except the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman.

Verse 2. A man with an unclean spirit] There are two

mentioned by Matthew, who are termed demoniacs.

See Clarke on Mr 1:23.

Verse 3. Who had his dwelling among the tombs] See Mt 8:28.

Verse 4. With fetters and chains] His strength, it appears

was supernatural, no kind of chains being strong enough to confine

him. With several, this man would have passed for an outrageous

madman, and diabolic influence be entirely left out of the

question; but it is the prerogative of the inspired penman only,

to enter into the nature and causes of things; and how strange is

it, that because men cannot see as far as the Spirit of God does,

therefore they deny his testimony. "There was no devil; there can

be none." Why? "Because we have never seen one, and we think the

doctrine absurd." Excellent reason! And do you think that any

man who conscientiously believes his Bible will give any credit to

you? Men sent from God, to bear witness to the truth, tell us

there were demoniacs in their time; you say, "No, they were only

diseases." Whom shall we credit? The men sent from God, or you?

Verse 5. Crying and cutting himself with stones.] In this

person's case we see a specimen of what Satan could do in all the

wicked, if God should permit him; but even the devil himself has

his chain; and he who often binds others, is always bound


Verse 6. Worshipped him] Did him homage; compelled thereto by

the power of God. How humiliating to Satan, thus to be obliged to

acknowledge the superiority of Christ!

Verse 7. What have I to do with thee] Or, What is it to thee

and me, or why dost thou trouble thyself with me?

See Clarke on Mr 1:24, and

See Clarke on Mt 8:29,

where the idiom and meaning are explained.

Jesus] This is omitted by four MSS., and by several in

Lu 8:28, and by many of the first authority in Mt 8:29. See

the note on this latter place.

Verse 9. Legion: for we are many.] Could a disease have

spoken so? "No, there was no devil in the case; the man spoke

according to the prejudice of his countrymen." And do you think

that the Spirit of God could employ himself in retailing such

ridiculous and nonsensical prejudices? "But the evangelist gives

these as this madman's words, and it was necessary that, as a

faithful historian, he should mention these circumstances." But

this objection is destroyed by the parallel place in Luke,

Lu 8:30, where the inspired writer himself observes, that the

demoniac was called Legion, because many demons had entered into


Verse 10. Out of the country.] Strange that these accursed

spirits should find it any mitigation of their misery to be

permitted to exercise their malevolence in a particular district!

But as this is supposed to have been a heathen district, therefore

the demons might consider themselves in their own territories; and

probably they could act there with less restraint than they could

do in a country where the worship of God was established.

See Clarke on Mr 5:1.

Verse 11. A great herd of swine]

See Clarke on Mt 8:30.

Verse 12. ALL the devils] παντες, all, is omitted by many

MSS. and versions; Griesbach leaves it out of the text. οι

δαιμονες is omitted also by several: Griesbach leaves it doubtful.

Probably it should be read thus, And they besought him, saying.

Verse 13. Gave them leave.] For επετρεψεν, DH, three others,

and three copies of the Itala have επεμψεν, sent them.

Verse 14. The swine] Instead of τουςχοιρους, BCDL, three

others, Syriac, Coptic, AEthiopic, Vulgate, and Itala, read

αυτους, them-And they that fed THEM fled. Griesbach has

adopted this reading.

Verse 15. That-had the legion] This is omitted by D, and two

others, AEthiopic, Persic, Vulgate, and all the Itala but one.

Mill, Bengel, and Griesbach, think it should be omitted.

Verse 19. Suffered him not] οδεινσους, Howbeit Jesus, is

omitted by ABKLM, twenty-seven others, both the Syriac, both the

Persic, Coptic, Gothic, Vulgate, and one of the Itala. Mill and

Bengel approve of the omission, and Griesbach leaves it out of the


Go home to thy friends, &c.] This was the cause why Jesus

would not permit him to follow him now, because he would not have

the happiness of his relatives deferred, who must exceedingly

rejoice at seeing the wonders which the Lord had wrought.

Verse 20. Decapolis] See Clarke on Mt 4:25.

Verse 23. My little daughter] τοθυγατριονμου, that little

daughter of mine. The words express much tenderness and concern.

Luke observes, Lu 8:42,

that she was his only daughter, and was about twelve years of age.

At the point of death] εσχατωςεχει, in the last extremity,

the last gasp. See Clarke on Mt 9:18.

Verse 25. A certain woman] See Mt 9:20.

Verse 26. Had suffered many things of many physicians,-and was

nothing bettered, but rather grew worse] No person will wonder at

this account, when he considers the therapeutics of the Jewish

physicians in reference to hemorrhages, especially of the kind

with which this woman was afflicted.

Rabbi Jochanan says: "Take of gum Alexandria, of alum, and of

crocus hortensis, the weight of a zuzee each; let them be bruised

together, and given in wine to the woman that hath an issue of

blood. But if this fail,

"Take of Persian onions nine logs, boil them in wine, and give

it to her to drink: and say, Arise from thy flux. But should this


"Set her in a place where two ways meet, and let her hold a cup

of wine in her hand; and let somebody come behind and affright

her, and say, Arise from thy flux. But should this do no good,

"Take a handful of cummin and a handful of crocus, and a handful

of faenu-greek; let these be boiled, and given her to drink, and

say, Arise from thy flux. But should this also fail,

"Dig seven trenches, and burn in them some cuttings of vines not

yet circumcised (vines not four years old;) and let her take in

her hand a cup of wine, and let her be led from this trench and

set down over that, and let her be removed from that, and set down

over another: and in each removal say unto her, Arise from thy

flux." Dr. Lightfoot gives these as a sample, out of many others,

extracted from Bab. Shabb. fol. 110.

And from some of these nostrums it is evident the woman could

not be bettered, and from some others it is as evident that she

must be made worse; and from all together it is indubitably

certain that she must have suffered many things;-and from the

persons employed, the expense of the medicaments, and the number

of years she was afflicted, as she was not a person of great

opulence, it is most perfectly credible that she spent all that

she had. She was therefore a fit patient for the Great Physician.

The case of this woman was, a very afflicting one: 1. Because

of the nature of her malady; it was such as could not be made

public, without exposing her to shame and contempt. 2. It was an

inveterate disorder; it had lasted twelve years. 3. It was

continual; she appears to have had no interval of health. 4. Her

disorder was aggravated by the medicines she used-she suffered

much, &c. 6. Her malady was ruinous both to her health and

circumstances-she spent all that she had. 6. She was now brought

to the last point of wretchedness, want, and despair; she was

growing worse, and had neither money nor goods to make another

experiment to procure her health. 7. She was brought so low by

her disorder as to be incapable of earning any thing to support

her wretched life a little longer. It has been said, and the

saying is a good one, "Man's extremity is God's opportunity."

Never could the power and goodness of God be shown in a more

difficult and distressful case. And now Jesus comes, and she is


Verse 27. Came in the press behind] She had formed her

resolution in faith, she executes it, notwithstanding her

weakness, &c., with courage; and now she finds it crowned with


Verse 31. Thou seest the multitude thronging then, &c.] Many

touch Jesus who are not healed by him: the reason is, they do it

not by faith, through a sense of their wants, and a conviction

of his ability and willingness to save them. Faith conveys the

virtue of Christ into the soul, and spiritual health is the

immediate consequence of this received virtue.

Verse 33. Fearing and trembling] See Mt 9:22.

Verse 34. Be whole of thy plague.] Rather, continue whole,

not, be whole, for she was already healed: but this contains a

promise, necessary to her encouragement, that her disorder should

afflict her no more.

Verse 35. Why troublest thou the Master] These people seem to

have had no other notion of our Lord than that of an eminent

physician, who might be useful while there was life, but

afterwards could do nothing.

Verse 36. Jesus-saith] These words were spoken by our Lord to

the afflicted father, immediately on his hearing of the death of

his child, to prevent that distress which he otherwise must have

felt on finding that the case was now, humanly speaking, hopeless.

Verse 38. He cometh] But ερονται, they come, is the reading

of ABCDF, four others, and several versions.

Wept and wailed] See Clarke on Mt 9:23.

Verse 40. The father and the mother] Prudence required that

they should be present, and be witnesses of the miracle.

And them that were with him] That is, Peter, James, and John,

Mr 5:37. It is remarkable that our Lord gave a particular

preference to these three disciples, beyond all the rest, on three

very important occasions: 1. They were present at the

transfiguration. 2. At the raising of Jairus's daughter. 3. At

his agony in the garden of Gethsemane.

Where the damsel was lying.] ανακειμενον, lying. This word is

very doubtful. BDL, one other, Coptic, and later Arabic, with

five of the Itala, omit it. Other MSS. express the same idea in

five different words: Griesbach leaves it out of the text. See

his Testament.

Verse 41. Talitha cumi] [Syriac], This is mere Syriac, the

proper translation of which the evangelist has given. The Codex

Bezae has a very odd and unaccountable reading here, ραββιθαβιτα

κουμι, My master. Damsel arise. Suidas quotes this place under

the word αββακουμ thus ταληθακουμ. κουμ is the reading of

several ancient MSS., but it is certainly a faulty one.

Verse 43. Something should be given her to eat.] For though

he had employed an extraordinary power to bring her to life, he

wills that she should be continued in existence by the use of

ordinary means. The advice of the heathen is a good one:-

Nec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus

Inciderit. HORAT.

"When the miraculous power of God is necessary, let it be

resorted to: when it is not necessary, let the ordinary means be

used."-To act otherwise would be to tempt God.

While Christ teaches men the knowledge of the true God, and the

way of salvation, he at the same time teaches them lessons of

prudence, economy, and common sense. And it is worthy of remark,

that all who are taught of him are not only saved, but their

understandings are much improved. True religion, civilization,

mental improvement, common sense, and orderly behaviour, go hand

in hand.

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