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Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, [1834], at

Mark Chapter 5

Mark 5:1

mar 5:1

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

Mar 5:4

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." Luk 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," Mar 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."

Mar 5:5

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 Mat 4:24.

Mar 5:6

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

Mar 5:9

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

Mar 5:15

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.

Mar 5:19

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.

Mar 5:20

In Decapolis - See the notes at Mat 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 Psa 66:16.

Mark 5:22

mar 5:22

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 Mat 9:18-26.

Mar 5:23

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

Mar 5:26

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

Mar 5:27

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.

Mar 5:30

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.

Mar 5:34

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.

Mar 5:35, Mar 5:36

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.

Mar 5:38

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

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

Mar 5:39

This ado - This tumult, this bustle or confusion.

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

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

Mar 5:41

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."

Mar 5:43

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, Joh 21:1-13.

Next: Mark Chapter 6