The First Commentary on Mark: An Annotated Translation

By Michael Cahill | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5

And immediately as he left the boat, a man from the tombs, with an unclean spirit, met him ( Mark 5:2).

By the sixth miracle the man who used to live among the tombs is cured ( Mark 5:3).1 He was not bound in chains nor fetters, for no one could control him.

He was in the hills and among the tombs, shouting, and cutting himself with stones ( Mark 5:5).

He represents the most hopeless people of the gentiles,2 whom the Apostle describes in turn as proud,3 boastful,4 unclean, bloody, idolatrous, shameful, unfettered by either the law of nature or of God, or by any human fear.5

His name is Legion ( Mark 5:9), that is the ten thousand who fall at the Father's right hand which is Christ.6 The herd of pigs is consigned to this demon, for

____________________
1
The commentator continues his enumeration of the miracles of Jesus.
2
Cf. Eph 4: 17-19.
3
Cf Rom 1:30.
4
Cf Rom 1:29; cf. 2 Tim 3:2.
5
Cf. Rom 2: 14-15. The region of the Decapolis is correctly recognized as non-Jewish territory, allowing the possessed man to be easily allegorized as the gentile people. However, as we will see later, the commentator is not limited by ethnic origins in his making of allegories.
6
Cf. Ps 91:7. The same verse is used at Mark 3: 18 as part of the etymological treatment of "Alphaeus." Here the casting of the large number of demons into the sea by Jesus suggests the verse to the writer and allows him to explain that, since Jesus is the right hand of the Father, he shares his power. The Roman legion did not comprise 10,000 soldiers.

-55-

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The First Commentary on Mark: An Annotated Translation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Note: xiv
  • Introduction 3
  • Prologue 19
  • Chapter I 25
  • Chapter 2 41
  • Chapter 3 43
  • Chapter 4 49
  • Chapter 5 55
  • Chapter 6 59
  • Chapter 7 63
  • Chapter 8 69
  • Chapter 9 73
  • Chapter 10 79
  • Chapter 11 83
  • Chapter 12 89
  • Chapter 13 95
  • Chapter 14 99
  • Chapter 15 115
  • Chapter 16 127
  • Epilogue 133
  • Appendix an Interpolated Homily 135
  • Bibliography 139
  • Index of Biblical Texts 147
  • Select Index to Annotations 153
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