Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible
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Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible
Mark Chapter 5

Mark 5:1-20

See this account of the demoniacs fully explained in the notes at Matthew 8:28-34.

 

Mark 5:4 "Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him."

He had been often bound with fetters and chains - Efforts had been made to confine him, but his great strength - his strength increased by his malady - had prevented it. There often appears to be a great increase of strength produced by insanity, and what is here stated in regard to this maniac often occurs in Palestine and elsewhere now. Dr. Thomson ("The Land and the Book," vol. i. p. 213) says respecting this case: "There are some very similar at the present day - furious and dangerous maniacs, who wander about the mountains, and sleep in tombs and caves. In their worst paroxysms they are quite unmanageable and prodigiously strong." Luke 8:27 says of him that "he were no clothes," or that he was naked, which is also implied in the account in Mark, who tells us that after he was healed he was found "clothed and in his right mind," (Mark 4:15). This is often a striking characteristic of insanity. Dr. Pritchard (on "Insanity," p. 26) quotes from an Italian physician's description of raving madness or mania: "A striking and characteristic circumstance is the propensity to go quite naked. The patient tears his clothes to tatters." So Dr. Thomson ("The Land and the Book," vol. i. p. 213) says: "It is one of the most common traits in this madness that the victims refuse to wear clothes. I have often seen them absolutely naked in the crowded streets of Beirut and Sidon. There are also cases in which they run wildly about the country and frighten the whole neighborhood. These poor wretches are held in the greatest reverence by Muslims, who, through some monstrous perversion of ideas, believe them to be inspired and peculiarly holy."

 

Mark 5:5 "And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones."

Cutting himself with stones - These are all marks of a madman - a man bereft of reason, a wretched outcast, strong and dangerous. The inspired penman says that this madness was caused by an unclean spirit, or by his being under the influence of a devil. That this account is not irrational, see the notes at Matthew 4:24.

 

Mark 5:6 "But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,"

Worshipped him - Bowed down before him; rendered him homage. This was an acknowledgment of his power, and of his control over fallen spirits.

 

Mark 5:9 "And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many."

My name is Legion - See the notes at Matthew 8:29.

 

Mark 5:15 "And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid."

Sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind - There could be no doubt of the reality of this miracle. The man had been well known. He had long dwelt among the tombs, an object of terror and alarm. To see him all at once peaceful, calm, and rational, was proof that it was the power of God only that had done it.

They were afraid - They were awed, as in the presence of God. The word does not mean here that they feared that any evil would happen to them, but that they were affected with awe; they felt that God was there; they were struck with astonishment at what Jesus had done.

 

Mark 5:19 "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee."

Jesus suffered him not - Various reasons have been conjectured why Jesus did not suffer this man to go with him. It might have been that he wished to leave him among the people as a conclusive evidence of his power to work miracles. Or it might have been that the man feared that if Jesus left him the devils would return, and that Jesus told him to remain to show to him that the cure was complete, and that he had power over the devils when absent as well as when present. But the probable reason is, that he desired to restore him to his family and friends. Jesus was unwilling to delay the joy of his friends, and to prolong their anxiety by suffering him to remain away from them.

 

Mark 5:20 "And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel."

In Decapolis - See the notes at Matthew 4:25.

How great things ... - This was the natural expression of right feeling at being cured of such a calamity. So the desire of sinners freed from sin is to honor Jesus, and to invite the world to participate in the same salvation, and to join them in doing honor to the Son of God. Compare Psalm 66:16.

 

Mark 5:22-43

See the account of the raising of Jairus' daughter, and the healing of the woman with an issue of blood, fully explained in the notes at Matthew 9:18-26.

 

Mark 5:23 "And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live."

Lieth at the point of death - Is dying; in the last agonies.

 

Mark 5:26 "And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,"

Had suffered many things - Had resorted to many things painful, by the direction of the physicians, in order to be healed.

 

Mark 5:27 "When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment."

Came in the press behind - In the crowd that pressed upon him. This was done to avoid being noticed. It was an act of faith. She was full of confidence that Jesus was able to heal, but she trembled on account of her conscious unworthiness, thus illustrating the humility and confidence of a sinner coming to God for pardon and life.

 

Mark 5:30 "And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?"

Virtue had gone out of him - Power to heal. The word in the original means power.

Who touched my clothes? - This be said, not to obtain information, for he had healed her, and must have known on whom the blessing was conferred; but he did it that the woman might herself make a confession of the whole matter, so that the power of her faith and the greatness of the miracle might be manifested to the praise of God.

 

Mark 5:34 "And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague."

Daughter - A word of kindness, tending to inspire confidence and to dissipate her fears.

Be whole - That is, continue to be whole, for she was already cured.

Of thy plague - Thy disease; literally, thy "scourge." So a word from Jesus heals the moral malady of the sinner.

 

Mark 5:35,36 "While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe."

Why troublest thou ... - It seems that the people had not yet confidence that Jesus could raise the dead. He had not yet done it; and as the child was now dead, and as they supposed that his power over her was at an end, they wished no farther to trouble him. Jesus kindly set the fears of the ruler at rest, and assured him that he had equal power over the dead and the living, and could as easily raise those who had expired as those who were expiring.

 

Mark 5:38 "And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly."

The tumult - The confusion and weeping of the assembled people.

Wailed - Making inarticulate, mournful sounds; howling for the dead.

 

Mark 5:39 "And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth."

This ado - This tumult, this bustle or confusion.

And weep - Weep in this inordinate and improper manner. See the notes at Matthew 9:23.

But sleepeth - See the notes at Matthew 9:24.

 

Mark 5:41 "And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise."

Talitha cumi - This is the language which our Saviour commonly spoke. It is a mixture of Syriac and Chaldee, called Syro-Chaldaic. The proper translation is given by the evangelist - "Damsel, arise."

 

Mark 5:43 "And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat."

Something should be given her to eat - "He had raised her by extraordinary power, but he willed that she should be sustained by ordinary means." He also in this gave full evidence that she was really restored to life and health. The changes were great, sudden, and certain. There could be no illusion. So, when the Saviour had risen, he gave evidence of his own resurrection by eating with his disciples, (John 21:1-13).


Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible
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