Gerasenes (Lk 8:26-8:26)

“Then they arrived

At the country

Of the Gerasenes,

Which is opposite Galilee.”

 

Καὶ κατέπλευσαν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἀντιπέρα τῆς Γαλιλαίας.

 

Luke said that Jesus and his disciples sailed down (Καὶ κατέπλευσαν) to the country of the Gerasenes (εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν), which was opposite Galilee (ἥτις ἐστὶν ἀντιπέρα τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:28, Mark, chapter 5:1, as well as Luke here, have Jesus cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  They went to the country or region of the Gerasenes.  Matthew called it Gadarenes, while Luke called it Gerasenes, like Mark.  This might be one of two different towns on the east bank of the Jordan in the Decapolis territory, a group of 10 cities.  One was called Gadara, about 6 miles away from the southeast side of the Sea of Galilee, near where the Sea of Galilee ran into the Jordan River.  Today, it is in the country of Jordan, known as Umm Qais.  The other Decapolis town was called Gerasa, a town about 40 miles from the Sea of Galilee, which would be more inconsistent with this story.  Nevertheless, this was Gentile territory with only a few Jewish people there.  Jesus had traveled over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to its southern tip, to one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis territory.  Have you ever traveled to an area where they had different religious beliefs than you?

King Demetrius I (2 Macc 14:1-14:2)

“Three years later, word came to Judas Maccabeus and his men that Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, had sailed into the harbor of Tripolis with a strong army and a fleet. He had taken possession of the country, having made away with Antiochus and his guardian Lysias.”

This is similar to 1 Maccabees, chapter 7. About 161 BCE, King Demetrius I, who ruled the Seleucid Empire from 162-150 BCE, came with a strong army and navy fleet into the sea town of Tripolis. He was the son of King Seleucus IV and brother to King Antiochus IV. He had killed King Antiochus V, his nephew, and his guardian Lysias, who had run the government.

Demetrius I become king (1 Macc 7:1-7:4)

“In the one hundred fifty-first year, Demetrius son of Seleucus set out from Rome. He sailed with a few men to a city by the sea. There he began to reign. As he was entering the royal palace of his ancestors, the army seized King Antiochus and Lysias to bring them to him. But when this act became known to him, he said.

‘Do not let me see their faces!’

So the army killed them. Then Demetrius took his seat on the throne of his kingdom.”

Now we have a new player on the scene King Demetrius I (185-150 BCE), who was the son of King Seleucus IV, the brother of King Antiochus IV. He would rule from 161-150 BCE. He had escaped from Rome, who liked the 11 year old King Antiochus V. King Demetrius I was 24 years old in 161 BCE, when he began to rule. He came by boat to a small town. When he arrived at the royal palace, the army seized King Antiochus V and Lysias. When King Demetrius I heard about this, he told them to kill them since he did not want to see their faces. Thus he killed his nephew to begin to rule as King Demetrius I.