51. The Gerasa Lunatic
1They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.a
2And when he had come out of the boat, there met him a man
3who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him anymore, even with a chain.
4He had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.
5Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones.
6And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him;
7and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus? I beseech you, do not torment me.”
11Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; 13and the herd rushed down over the steep bankb into the sea, and were drowned in the sea. 14The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 15And they came to Jesus, and saw the man sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16And those who had seen it told what had happened to the man and to the swine. 17And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood.c 18As he was getting into the boat, the man begged him that he might be with him.
19But he refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
20And the man went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolisd how much Jesus had done for him; and all men marveled.
(Mk. 5:1–7, 11, 13–20)
a “the country of the Gerasenes”—Also referred to as the country of the Gaderenes. (Mt. 8:28.) Gerasa (Kheresa) is identified with ruins now called Kerza. It is about five miles from where the Jordan enters the Sea of Galilee. (See map on page 69.)
b “the steep bank”—Most of the eastern shore slopes up gently to the highlands beyond, but just south of Geresa is the only place where steep hills come close to the water such that swine could have rushed over a steep bank. (Haley's Bible Handbook, p. 467)
c “And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood.”—The herdsmen and those who witnessed the event all believed that Jesus had cast a legion of demons out of the troubled man, and that the demons had then entered a herd of swine and caused them to rush over the cliff to their death. This made them afraid, perhaps of losing more of their swine.
d “Decapolis”—The area east of the Jordan that contained a number of Greek cities. (See map on page 24.)
Mk. 5:2 him a / him out of the tombs a (RSV) • man who / man with an unclean spirit, who (RSV)
Mt. 5:7 Jesus? I / Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I (RSV) • I beseech you, do / I adjure you, by God, do (RSV)
Mt. 5:13 herd rushed / herd numbering about 2,000 rushed (RSV)
Mk. 5:15 the man sitting / the demoniac sitting (RSV) • mind, and / mind, the man who had had the legion; and (RSV)
Mk. 5:16 the man and / the demoniac and (RSV)
Mk. 5:18 man begged / man who had been possessed with demons begged (RSV) (151:6/1695–7)