“When the swine herdsmen
Saw what had happened,
They ran off.
They reported this
In the city
And in the countryside.”
ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ βόσκοντες τὸ γεγονὸς ἔφυγον καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν καὶ εἰς τοὺς ἀγρούς.
Luke said that when the swine herdsmen saw what had happened (ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ βόσκοντες τὸ γεγονὸς), they ran off (ἔφυγον). They reported (καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν) this in the city (εἰς τὴν πόλιν) and the in the countryside (καὶ εἰς τοὺς ἀγρούς). All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:33, Mark, chapter 5:14, and Luke here, have the herdsmen of these pigs tell everybody in the area what happened, with slight nuances in each story. Mark said that the shepherds of this herd of pigs fled when they saw what had happened to their flocks. They recounted the whole story about what had happened to the demoniac and their herd of pigs to the town and the countryside. However, people came out to see what had happened, to see what had taken place. Matthew said that the shepherds of these herds of pigs ran off when they saw what had happened to their flocks. They went into the town, probably Gadara. Then they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs and their herd of pigs. They were without a job. Have you ever lost your job suddenly?
“Those who had seen
What had happened
To the demoniac
And to the swine,
καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο τῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων.
There is something similar in Luke, chapter 8:36, while there is nothing like this in Matthew. Mark said that those who had seen what had happened (οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο) to this demoniac, the one possessed by the devils or evil spirits (ῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ) told everyone. They reported, described, or related it to other people (καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς) how the swine or the pigs (καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων) ran into the sea. There was nothing secret about this transfer of evil spirits from a human to a herd of pigs.
“Now a large herd
At some distance
The demons begged him.
‘If you cast us out,
Into the herd
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.
“Then King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people. Everyone should give up their particular customs. All the gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion. They sacrificed to idols and profaned the Sabbath. The king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. He directed them to follow customs strange to the land. He forbade burnt offerings, sacrifices, and drink offerings in the sanctuary. He wanted them to profane the Sabbath and the feasts. He wanted them to defile the sanctuary and the priests. He wanted them to build altars and sacred precincts with shrines for idols. He wanted them to sacrifice swine and unclean animals. He wanted them to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane. Thus they should forget the law and change all the ordinances. He added.
‘Whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die.’’’
King Antiochus IV wanted his whole kingdom unified, which included Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Asia Minor, quite a large kingdom. This might be difficult to enforce. It was later rescinded by King Antiochus V (172-161 BCE) since he was only 9 when he became king and died at the age of 11. Sometimes it is not good to be the king. King Antiochus IV was not as tolerant as his father King Antiochus III (223-187 BCE), who allowed the Israelites to follow the Mosaic Law. The Persian kings had also been tolerant towards following the Mosaic Law. King Antiochus IV wanted everyone to give up their particular customs, not a good idea in a large kingdom. The gentiles and some Israelites said okay, no big deal. He said that anyone who did not comply would be killed. He wanted them to sacrifice to idols, by building altars and shrines for his idols. He wanted them to profane the Sabbath and their own festivals. He wanted them to do away with their sanctuaries and priests. He wanted them to sacrifice swine and other unclean animals. He wanted them not to have their sons circumcised. Basically, he wanted them to forget about their own laws and just follow his ordinances.