The legion of demons (Lk 8:30-8:30)

“Jesus then asked him.

‘What is your name?’

He said.

‘Legion!’

Many demons

Had entered him.”

 

ἐπηρώτησεν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς Τί σοι ὄνομά ἐστιν; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Λεγιών, ὅτι εἰσῆλθεν δαιμόνια πολλὰ εἰς αὐτόν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus then asked this possessed man (ἐπηρώτησεν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) what his name was (Τί σοι ὄνομά ἐστιν)?  The man responded (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that his name was “Legion (Λεγιών),” because many demons had entered him (ὅτι εἰσῆλθεν δαιμόνια πολλὰ εἰς αὐτόν).  There is nothing like this question in the Matthew gospel story.  However, this is similar to Mark, chapter 5:9.  This famous question and answer has taken on a life of its own in many apocalyptic works about evil spirits.  Mark indicated that Jesus questioned this man with the unclean spirit about what his name was?  It was common in most expulsions of evil spirits to know the name of the one being expelled, in order to control them.  The man with the unclean spirit responded to Jesus that his name was “Legion (Λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι),” a Latin term.  A Roman legion would have been about 6,000 men.  Thus, the unclean spirit was responding that he had many unclean spirits, perhaps as many as 6,000.  What do you think about unclean evil spirits?

Advertisements

Jesus said they needed to pray (Mk 9:29-9:29)

“Jesus said

To his disciples.

‘This kind

Can come out

Only through prayer.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ.

 

Mark added the need for prayer.  There is no emphasis on faith as in Matthew, chapter 17:20, where Jesus talked about faith and the mustard seed.  Here the emphasis is on prayer.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this kind of evil spirit could only be expelled (Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν) through prayer (εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ).  Prayer might imply faith, but it is not explicit here.

Jesus cures her daughter (Mk 7:29-7:30)

“Jesus said to her.

‘For saying that,

You may go!

The demon

Has left your daughter.’

Thus,

She went home.

She found her child

Lying in bed.

The demon was gone.”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Διὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον ὕπαγε, ἐξελήλυθεν ἐκ τῆς θυγατρός σου τὸ δαιμόνιον.

καὶ ἀπελθοῦσα εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς εὗρεν τὸ παιδίον βεβλημένον ἐπὶ τὴν κλίνην καὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐξεληλυθός.

 

A similar response can be found in Matthew, chapter 15:28.  There was no mention of faith here as there was in MatthewMark said that Jesus answered her (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ).  Jesus said that she had by her words accepted her position as a dog under the table, so that she could go home (Διὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον ὕπαγε).  Jesus said that the demon had come out of her daughter (ἐξελήλυθεν ἐκ τῆς θυγατρός σου τὸ δαιμόνιον).  Thus, she then went away from Jesus to her home (καὶ ἀπελθοῦσα εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς).  There she found that her child was lying in bed (εὗρεν τὸ παιδίον βεβλημένον ἐπὶ τὴν κλίνην), but the demon was gone or expelled from her (καὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐξεληλυθός).  Despite the reluctance of Jesus to go outside of the Israelites, this Canaanite woman persuaded him to cure her daughter of her demonic illness.  Jesus cured her child without touching her or being in her presence.

 

Simon takes the citadel in Jerusalem (1 Macc 13:49-13:53)

“The men who were in the citadel at Jerusalem were prevented from going in and out to the country to buy and sell things. So they were very hungry. Many of them perished from famine. Then they cried to Simon to make peace with them. So he did. He expelled them from there. He cleansed the citadel from its pollutions. On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the one hundred seventy-first year, the Jews entered it with praise and palm branches. They had harps, cymbals, and stringed instruments. They sang hymns and songs because a great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel. Simon decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel. He and his men lived there. Simon saw that his son John had reached manhood, so he made him commander of all the forces. He lived at Gazara.”

The Syrian men who were in the Jerusalem citadel could not go in or out to buy or sell anything. Thus they became hungry like a famine. Finally, they wanted to make peace with Simon. He decided to expel them from the citadel. There was a big celebration with praise and palm branches as the Jews entered the citadel in 141 BCE, about a year after their independence. Before they went in with harps, cymbals, and stringed instruments singing hymns and songs, they had the citadel cleansed from the foreign pollutions. They were going to celebrate this every year on the 23rd day of the 2nd month, that is sometime in May. Simon and his men decided to live in the citadel. He sent his son John to be the commander of the armed forces and live in Gaza. This apparently was his son John Hyrcanus who was the high priest from 134-104 BCE.

Simon takes Gazara (1 Macc 13:43-13:48)

“In those days Simon encamped against Gazara. He surrounded it with troops. He made a siege engine. He brought it up to the city so that he battered and captured one tower. The men in the siege engine leaped out into the city as a great tumult arose in the city. The men in the city, with their wives and children, went up on the wall with their clothes torn. They cried out with a loud voice, asking Simon to make peace with them. They said.

‘Do not treat us according to our wicked acts

But according to your mercy.’

So Simon reached an agreement with them. He stopped fighting against them. However, he expelled them from the city. He cleansed the houses in which the idols were located. He then entered it with hymns and praise. He removed all the wickedness from it. He settled in it men who observed the law. He also strengthened its fortifications. He then built in it a house for himself.”

Apparently this Gazara was Gaza. Simon surrounded it with his troops.   The siege war engine was like a tower on wheels with catapults and battering rams that could break fortifications. As the people in Gaza saw this, they tore their clothes and asked for mercy. Simon decided not to kill them, but to expel them from the Gaza strip. He then put law abiding Jewish people there and built a house for himself. Does that sound familiar? Before he entered the city of Gaza, he cleansed the houses that had idols so that all the wicked things were gone when he entered the town singing hymns.