The swine on the hillside (Mk 5:11-5:12)

“Now there on a hillside,

A great herd

Of swine

Was feeding.

The unclean spirits

Begged him.

‘Send us into the swine!

Let us enter them!’”

 

ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πρὸς τῷ ὄρει ἀγέλη χοίρων μεγάλη βοσκομένη·

καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Πέμψον ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, ἵνα εἰς αὐτοὺς εἰσέλθωμεν.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:30-31, and Luke, chapter 8:32, and Mark here, have the unclean spirits or the demoniacs ask to be sent into the herd of pigs nearby, with slight nuances in each story.  This incident took place near a mountain or hill (ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πρὸς τῷ ὄρει).  There was a large herd of swine, pigs, or hogs (ἀγέλη χοίρων πολλῶν) feeding (βοσκομένη) on this hill, since this was gentile or a Greek area that was not Jewish.  Then the unclean spirits, not the demoniac, begged, entreated, or beseeched Jesus (καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες) to send them into these pigs or swine (Πέμψον ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς χοίρους), so that they could enter them (ἵνα εἰς αὐτοὺς εἰσέλθωμεν).  It seems like these evil spirits knew that they belonged in the unclean pigs or swine.

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The man with the unclean spirit worships Jesus (Mk 5:6-5:7)

“When this demoniac

Saw Jesus

From a distance,

He ran

And bowed down

Before him.

He shouted

At the top of his voice.

‘What have you to do

With me?

Jesus!

Son of the Most High God!

I adjure you

By God!

Do not torment me!’”

 

καὶ ἰδὼν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔδραμεν καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτόν,

καὶ κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγει Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ Ὑψίστου; ὁρκίζω σε τὸν Θεόν, μή με βασανίσῃς.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:29 and Luke, chapter 8;28, and Mark here, have this demoniac speak to Jesus in somewhat similar words.  Matthew had 2 demoniacs, but Mark and Luke had only one and are closer to each other in this incident.  Mark said that when this demoniac saw Jesus from a distance (καὶ ἰδὼν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν), he bowed down before him and worshipped him (καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτόν).  He cried or shouted out with a loud voice (καὶ κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ).  He wanted to know why Jesus had anything to do with him (λέγει Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί).  Then he called Jesus, the Son of God the Most High (Ἰησοῦ Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ Ὑψίστου).  He asked, swearing by God, that Jesus not torment them (ὁρκίζω σε τὸν Θεόν, μή με βασανίσῃς).  All three gospel writers have the demonic person or persons recognize that Jesus was the Son of God, not just another faith healer.  Thus, the evil spirits were able to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, as earlier in Mark, chapter 1:23 and 3:11.

The man with the unclean spirit (Mk 1:23-1:24)

“Just then,

There was,

In their synagogue,

A man

With an unclean spirit.

He cried out.

‘What have you

To do with us?

Jesus of Nazareth!

Have you come

To destroy us?

I know

Who you are!

The Holy One of God!’”

 

Καὶ εὐθὺς ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ, καὶ ἀνέκραξεν

λέγων Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ; ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς. οἶδά σε τίς εἶ, ὁ Ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Matthew, chapter 8:29, has something similar, but it was not in a Capernaum synagogue, but in Gadarenes and it was 2 demonic spirits, not one as here.  Mark, chapter 5:7, as well as Luke, chapter 8;28 had these demoniacs speak to Jesus with somewhat similar words.  However, this is closer to Luke, chapter 4:33, where it is almost word for word.  Here Mark and Luke said that just then in their synagogue, (Καὶ εὐθὺς ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν) a man with an unclean spirit (ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ,) cried out or shouted out to Jesus (καὶ ἀνέκραξεν).  He asked Jesus of Nazareth (Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ) what he had to do with them (λέγων Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί).  Had Jesus come to destroy or kill them (ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς)?  He said that he knew who he was (οἶδά σε τίς εἶ), the Holy One of God (ὁ Ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Matthew had them say that Jesus had come to torment them, not destroy them, since the time of the final judgment day had not arrived.  This unclean spirit world was alive and active in first century Israelite culture.  The term “Holy One of God” had been applied to the prophet Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 4:9, as another name for a prophet, which was not as strong as the “Son of God,” a more powerful term.  Thus, the evil spirits were able to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as a special person.

The demons want to be pigs (Mt 8:30-8:31)

“Now a large herd

Of swine

Was feeding

At some distance

From them.

The demons begged him.

‘If you cast us out,

Send us

Into the herd

Of swine.’”

 

ἦν δὲ μακρὰν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ἀγέλη χοίρων πολλῶν βοσκομένη.

οἱ δὲ δαίμονες παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Εἰ ἐκβάλλεις ἡμᾶς, ἀπόστειλον ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν ἀγέλην τῶν χοίρων.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 5:12 and Luke, chapter 8:32, and Matthew here, have these demoniacs ask to be sent into the herd of pigs nearby, with slight nuances in each story.  This large herd of pigs (ἀγέλη χοίρων πολλῶν) was feeding or in a pasture (βοσκομένη) at some distance away from them (ἦν δὲ μακρὰν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν), since this was gentile or a Greek area that was not Jewish.  Then the demoniacs begged Jesus (οἱ δὲ δαίμονες παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες), if he was going to cast them out (Εἰ ἐκβάλλεις ἡμᾶς), to send them into these pigs (ἀπόστειλον ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν ἀγέλην τῶν χοίρων).  It seems like these evil spirits knew that they belonged in the unclean pigs or swine.

The demoniacs call Jesus the Son of God (Mt 8:29-8:29)

“The demoniacs shouted out.

‘What have you to do

With us?

O Son of God!

Have you come here

To torment us

Before the time?’”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔκραξαν λέγοντες Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ; ἦλθες ὧδε πρὸ καιροῦ βασανίσαι ἡμᾶς;

 

All three synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 5:7 and Luke, chapter 8;28, and Matthew here, have these demoniacs speak to Jesus in somewhat similar words.  They cried or shouted out (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔκραξαν λέγοντες).  They wanted to know why the Son of God (Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ) had come to torment them (ἦλθες ὧδε…βασανίσαι ἡμᾶς), since the time (πρὸ καιροῦ) of the final judgment day had not arrived.  All three gospel writers have the demonic person or persons recognize that Jesus was the Son of God, not just another faith healer.  They maintained that the time of their torment or the end times had not yet arrived.  Thus, the evil spirits were able to recognize Jesus as the Son of God.

Famous faith healer in Syria (Mt 4:24-4:24)

“So,

Jesus’ fame spread

Throughout all Syria.

They brought to him

All the sick.

This included

Those afflicted

With various diseases,

And with oppressive pains.

It also included

Demoniacs,

Epileptics,

And paralytics.

He cured them.”

 

καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἡ ἀκοὴ αὐτοῦ εἰς ὅλην τὴν Συρίαν· καὶ προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις καὶ βασάνοις συνεχομένους, δαιμονιζομένους καὶ σεληνιαζομένους καὶ παραλυτικούς, καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς.

 

Once again, Matthew has some unique information about the fame or the news of Jesus that had spread all over Syria (καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἡ ἀκοὴ αὐτοῦ εἰς ὅλην τὴν Συρίαν) that was not in the other gospel stories.  This was not impossible since Syria was just north of Galilee and actually Damascus was closer to the Sea of Galilee than Jerusalem.  Besides, there was a large Jewish population in Syria also.  Perhaps this Gospel of Matthew came from Syria.  However, the key element was the healing power of Jesus that also was very strong in the Gospel of Mark.  Here in Matthew, Jesus is the faith healer per excellence.  They brought all kinds of sick people to Jesus (καὶ προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ πάντας τοὺς κακῶς).  This included people with various diseases and oppressive pains (ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις καὶ βασάνοις συνεχομένους).  There was also demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics (δαιμονιζομένους καὶ σεληνιαζομένους καὶ παραλυτικούς) who came to him.  He cured them all (καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς.).  There was no difference between spiritual and physical illness, so that healing those possessed of the devil was not out of the question.