New Defender's Study Bible Notes
5:1 the sea. The Sea of Galilee is actually a lake, approximately thirteen miles by eight miles in size.
5:1 Gadarenes. These are called Gergesenes in the parallel account in Matthew 8:28-34. Gergesa was a small town on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in the district of Gadara, a larger city.
5:2 a man. The account in Matthew mentions two demoniacs (Matthew 8:28-34). Since both Mark 5:1–20 and Luke 8:26-37 discuss only the one man who was healed, the implication is that the second fled away—either still possessed or, if healed like his companion, unthankful and unrepentant.
5:3 among the tombs. The old city of Gadara is now in ruins, but a striking reminder of this possessed man who came “out of the tombs” (Mark 5:2) to confront Jesus is seen in the many “tombs” that are still there in the cliffs above the city.
5:9 Legion. A Roman legion could contain as many as six thousand soldiers, but the implication here is simply “many.” Actually, there were at least two thousand (Mark 5:13). Jesus had asked the man his name, but the dominant evil spirit answered, using the man’s vocal apparatus. The same phenomenon is occasionally encountered in demon-possessed people today, with the responding spirit exhibiting knowledge and voice structure markedly different from that of the person possessed.
5:17 depart out of their coasts. This is a sad, but all too typical, commentary on the spiritual coldness in the human heart.
5:26 all that she had. Large and fruitless medical bills are apparently not uniquely a modern phenomenon! It is interesting that in his parallel account, Luke (who was himself a physician) did mention that she had unsuccessfully spent all she had on physicians, but could not bring himself to the further acknowledgment that she “rather grew worse!”
5:30 virtue had gone out. “Virtue” is used here in the sense of its original meaning, “strength,” or “power.” See note on Philippians 4:8.
5:43 know it. At this stage of His ministry, Jesus wanted people to believe Him and His words on their own merit, not because of seeing miraculous occurrences. With the complete Scriptures now available to the vast majority of the world’s population, there is less need for “signs and wonders” than even in Jesus’ day.