Mark Chapter 5  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Mark 5
Mar 5:1

“Gerasenes.” While Mark and Luke say “Gerasenes,” Matthew says “Gadarenes.” For more on how to harmonize this account in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, see commentary on Matthew 8:28.

Mar 5:2

“a man with an evil spirit.” Matthew says there were two men, and has other different details as well. For more on how to harmonize this account in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, see commentary on Matthew 8:28.

Mar 5:3

“who lived in the tombs.” The Greek text has the noun “dwelling,” as if it was a home, but that is hard to express in English because the man did not build a home in the tombs, he lived there. Changing the noun to a verb, “lived” makes the sentence clear in English. The man lived in the tombs (cp. Luke 8:27).

“in the tombs.” The Greek word “in” (en) can be “in” or, as many versions, “among,” but since the hillsides of that area east of the Sea of Galilee are steep and have many cave-tombs, it is not likely he lived “among” the tombs. That would be akin to living on a hillside with some cave-tombs around. It is much more likely that he lived inside a cave-tomb, but what the state of dead bodies he would be around were, we are not told. They could be rotting, or have turned to dust.

Mar 5:4(top)
Mar 5:5

“night and day.” The biblical day began at sunset, so “night and day” is correct.

Mar 5:6

“bowed down before him.” See commentary on Matthew 2:2.

Mar 5:7

“What do you want with me.” See commentary on Matthew 8:29.

“demand that you swear under oath.” The Greek word translated into this phrase is the verb horkizō (#3726 ὁρκίζω), and in this context it means to put someone under oath;a to demand that Jesus swears an oath by the name of God that he will not torment the demon. Many English versions translate horkizō by the English word “adjure,” which is a good translation except almost no English reader knows what “adjure” means.

It seems very strange that the demon would demand that Jesus swear under oath “by God” not to torment him. How and why would he do that? In Matthew 8:29 the demons asked if Jesus was going to torment them before the “appointed time.” Demons know there is a day of judgment coming when they will be punished for their millennia of sins. But at the time of this encounter between demons and Jesus, they also knew from Scripture that there were things that had to happen before the day of judgment arrived, such as Jesus having his heel bruised (Gen. 3:15; which we now know was Jesus being tortured and put to death). By this time in Jesus’ ministry, it was clear to the demons that he was the one who would be the final warrior and judge who would see them put into Gehenna, but according to the promises in Scripture, that day could not come quite yet, so the demon wanted to put Jesus under an oath that he would not somehow circumvent the apparent timeline in Scripture and put him immediately into Gehenna. The plea went nowhere; Jesus would not agree to that.

This scripture is very revealing in that it shows that the demons are afraid of the Day of Judgment, but there are millions of human beings who have ignored or defied God all their lives who are not. The Day of Judgment and the punishment for unbelief that follows it should be frightening to anyone who does not believe, but it is part of the pride of humankind that people willingly ignore God and also ignore their own death and destiny, acting as if they will not happen, but Judgment Day and the punishment that follows it will indeed happen and at that time there will be crying and gnashing of teeth, just like Jesus said. It has been a major role of believers of all time to try to turn evil people back to God so that they too can live forever.

[For more on the crying and gnashing of teeth, see commentary on Matt. 8:12. For more on annihilation in Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, see Appendix 5, “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire.”]

“torment me.” See commentary on Matthew 8:29.

BDAG, s.v. “ὁρκίζω.”
Mar 5:8(top)
Mar 5:9(top)
Mar 5:10(top)
Mar 5:11(top)
Mar 5:12

“enter into them.” When demons enter a person or an animal they can enter right into the person’s body and exert control from the inside.

Mar 5:13(top)
Mar 5:14

“the men who were looking after them fled.” See commentary on Matthew 8:33.

“the people.” The text reads “they,” but it is clarified in the REV to “the people,” that is, the people of the city.

Mar 5:15

“clothed.” The clothes would have likely come from the apostles. It was common to have at least an extra tunic to travel with (cp. Matt. 10:10)

Mar 5:16(top)
Mar 5:17

“territory.” The Greek is more literally, “border” or “boundary,” and then, by metonymy, what is surrounded by a boundary, a region, territory, etc. The exact nuance must be determined from the context. In this case, “region” seems too large. The people just wanted Jesus out of their area. They did not understand his power over demons and seem to have been frightened by it (cp. Luke 8:37), and also perhaps they were concerned about losing more of their valuable animals.

Mar 5:18

“afflicted by the demon.” The Greek is singular, “by the demon,” and thus reference is being made to the top demon who was in charge of the other demons. The demonic world has higher and lower ranking demons just as the angelic world does.

Mar 5:19

“but he did not let him.” This was a good answer given that the man was almost certainly a Gentile, and it would have caused problems for a Gentile to travel with Jesus and the apostles.

Mar 5:20

“Decapolis.” See commentary on Matthew 4:25.

Mar 5:21

“the lake.” This is the lake called “the Sea of Galilee.”

Mar 5:22

“one of the rulers of the synagogue came.” For evidence that this event occurred in Capernaum, see commentary on Luke 8:40.

Mar 5:23

“Come.” R. C. H. Lenski points out that in certain cases the Greek word hina [untranslated] simply introduces an imperative, not a purpose clause.a Here, it is the imperative of prayer, which is why some versions, fill in the “ellipsis” with “I pray.”

“close to dying.” The Greek is more literally, that she “has the end,” meaning that she “is at the end” of her life.

Lenski, Interpretation of St. Mark’s Gospel.
Mar 5:24(top)
Mar 5:25

“And there was a woman.” See commentary on Luke 8:47.

Mar 5:26(top)
Mar 5:27(top)
Mar 5:28

“was saying.” She talked to herself (cp. Matt. 9:21) over and over.

“If I just touch.” The Greek word kan goes with the verb “touch” and has the force of “just” or “only” in this verse (cp. NASB2020; CEB; CSB; NIV; NJB).

“healed.” The word “healed” is the Greek word sōzō (#4982 σῴζω). The Greek word sōzō has a wide semantic range, and thus means different things in different contexts. For example, it can mean “be healed” from disease, as it is here in Mark 5:28, or it can mean things such as “delivered” or “rescued,” as from some danger, or it can mean “saved” as in saved from death and given everlasting life.

Mar 5:29

“dried up.” The Greek means to dry up, but the meaning of the word, in this case, is that her blood flow stopped immediately and she was healed.a

See BDAG, s.v. ξηραίνω.
Mar 5:30

“knowing in himself.” The translation “knowing in himself” is very literal and very accurate. When a person with holy spirit ministers healing to other people, that ministering places a strain on the person that a spiritually sensitive person can feel. The strain is as much a spiritual drain as a physical one, although the feeling is in the physical body. For most Christian healers, it takes ministering to a lot of people before the drain can be clearly felt in one’s body, but Jesus Christ was the most spiritually sensitive person who ever lived and there is no reason to doubt that when the woman with the issue of blood took her healing from him that he felt it in his body, and thus knew it within himself.

Mar 5:31(top)
Mar 5:32(top)
Mar 5:33(top)
Mar 5:34

“made you well.” The Greek sōzō, in the context of sickness, is to be made whole or to be healed. In the context of everlasting life, it is to be “rescued, saved,” but that is not the context here.

“Go in peace.” Had Jesus simply let the woman take her healing and leave, she would likely have been wracked by guilt. Jesus knew not to let that happen, and in doing so set a wonderful example for us. We need to take care of people emotionally as well as physically.

and free from your affliction.” The woman had already been healed, so Jesus is not commanding her to be healed, but to continue enjoying life in her restored health. The Greek noun translated “affliction” is mastix (#3148 μάστιξ), which is literally a whip, and was used metaphorically of a whipping, affliction, disease, etc.

Mar 5:35

“Jairus.” The name “Jairus” has been added for clarity due to the large number of pronouns in the context.

Mar 5:36

“overhearing what they said.” This phrase is more literally, “overhearing the word that was spoken,” but it refers to what the people said.

Mar 5:37(top)
Mar 5:38

“and people crying and wailing loudly.” In the biblical culture, it was common and customary for people to cry loudly when someone died as a tribute to the person and to outwardly demonstrate one’s love for the deceased person. Also, there were professional mourners who would come to a funeral and weep and wail loudly to get people’s emotions flowing (cp. Jer. 9:17). If there were musicians available they often came as well (cp. Matt. 9:23). Jairus was a leader in the synagogue and an important person, and Capernaum was an influential town in the Galilee, so there is no doubt that there were professional mourners there, who had little or no actual ties to the family, and other who were not particularly close friends of the family, and so when Jesus announced that the girl was not dead they started laughing (Mark 5:38-40). Ordinarily, a person close to the family would have thought of Jesus as a hard-hearted troublemaker and become angry at him. The reason this crowd did not was due to custom: they were there to show support and not because they had a deep emotional tie to the family.

[For more on the difference between lamenting and mourning, see commentary on 2 Samuel 11:26.]

Mar 5:39

“asleep.” The Greek verb is koimaō (#2837 κοιμάω), to fall asleep, to be asleep. Sleep is used as a euphemism and metaphor for death (see commentary on Acts 7:60). What Jesus said was true in the common idiom of the day, which used “sleep” to mean dead, but the way he said it did not communicate that to the people.

Mar 5:40

“they began to laugh.” This is an ingressive imperfect.

“and those who were with him.” That is, those who he had brought along with him, i.e., Peter, James, and John.

Mar 5:41(top)
Mar 5:42

“for she was 12 years old.” This describes why she could walk even though she had been referred to as “little” in this and other Gospel records.

“greatly amazed.” The Greek text is “amazed…with a great amazement,” which is the figure of speech polyptoton, the repetition of both noun and verb forms together.a It highlights the degree of astonishment, they were greatly amazed. Some manuscripts add “immediately,” and have “and immediately they were utterly amazed.”

[See figure of speech “polyptoton.”]

Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 267.
Mar 5:43(top)

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