The Meaning of Mark 5:13 Explained

Mark 5:13

KJV: And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

YLT: and immediately Jesus gave them leave, and having come forth, the unclean spirits did enter into the swine, and the herd did rush down the steep place to the sea -- and they were about two thousand -- and they were choked in the sea.

Darby: And Jesus immediately allowed them. And the unclean spirits going out entered into the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep slope, into the sea (about two thousand), and were choked in the sea.

ASV: And he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the sea, in number about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea.

What does Mark 5:13 Mean?

Context Summary

Mark 5:1-20 - Power Over Unclean Spirits
This poor victim of a dark tyrant power was endowed with superhuman strength, and scorned restraint. Terrible to others, he endured untold misery himself, and sought relief in tears and self-inflicted torture. The evil spirit who inflicted torment was also in dread of torment from the gentle Savior, as one whose eyes are inflamed dreads the light. What an admixture of man and demons-he answered, We are many! And how malignant! The demons dread disembodiment and prefer a swine's body to none. Many in our midst are held by a similar diabolic power, against which, because they yielded at first by imperceptible degrees, they now struggle in vain. Yet for such there is absolute deliverance in Christ. The emblem of a sinner, a very Samson in evil-doing, this man gives encouragement to all those who are driven to evil by demon power.
Distinguish between the sinner and the evil spirits that have control of him, and do their will. The demon that torments a man loves mischief, and would rather destroy swine than be idle. It was not Christ who destroyed these animals, but the spirit of evil. Hast thou been redeemed? Go forth and win others for thy Lord. Tell them what he has done for thee! [source]

Chapter Summary: Mark 5

1  Jesus delivering the possessed of the legion of demons,
13  they enter into the pigs
22  He is entreated by Jairus to go and heal his daughter
25  He heals the woman subject to bleeding,
35  and raises Jairus' daughter from death

Greek Commentary for Mark 5:13

And he gave them leave [και επετρεπσεν αυτοις]
These words present the crucial difficulty for interpreters as to why Jesus allowed the demons to enter the hogs and destroy them instead of sending them back to the abyss. Certainly it was better for hogs to perish than men, but this loss of property raises a difficulty of its own akin to the problem of tornadoes and earthquakes. The question of one man containing so many demons is difficult also, but not much more so than how one demon can dwell in a man and make his home there. One is reminded of the man out of whom a demon was cast, but the demon came back with seven other demons and took possession. Gould thinks that this man with a legion of demons merely makes a historical exaggeration. “I feel as if I were possessed by a thousand devils.” That is too easy an explanation. See note on Matthew 8:32 for “rushed down the steep.” [source]
They were choked [epnigonto)]
Imperfect tense picturing graphically the disappearance of pig after pig in the sea. Luke 8:33 has apegnigē choked off, constative second aorist passive indicative, treated as a whole, Matthew 8:32 merely has “perished” (επνιγοντο — apethanon died). [source]
choked off []
, constative second aorist passive indicative, treated as a whole, Matthew 8:32 merely has “perished” (επνιγοντο — apethanon died). [source]
Ran [ὥρμησεν]
The verb indicates hasty, headlong motion. Hence, as Rev., rushed. [source]
Two Thousand. []
As usual, Mark alone gives the detail of number. [source]
A steep place []
But the noun has the definite article: τοῦ κρημνοῦ , the steep, as Rev. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Mark 5:13

Matthew 18:28 Took him by the throat [αὐτὸν ἔπνιγεν]
Lit., throttled. Wyc., strangled. Compare were choked, Mark 5:13. Creditors often dragged their debtors before the judge, as the Roman law allowed them to do, holding them by the throat. Thus Livy (4: 53), relates how, a difficulty having arisen between the consul Valerius and one Menenius, the tribunes put an end to the contest, and the consul ordered into prison (collum torsisset, twisted the neck ) the few who appealed. And Cicero (“Pro Cluentio,” xxi.) “Lead him to the judgment-seat with twisted neck (collo obtorto )Compare Cicero, “In C. Verrem,” 4:10. [source]
Mark 5:9 My name is Legion [Λεγιων ονομα μοι]
So Luke 8:30, but not Matthew. Latin word (legio). A full Roman legion had 6,826 men. See note on Matthew 26:53. This may not have been a full legion, for Mark 5:13 notes that the number of hogs was “about two thousand.” Of course, a stickler for words might say that each hog had several demons. [source]
Luke 8:33 Rushed down the steep [ωρμησεν κατα του κρημνου]
Ablative with κατα — kata as in Mark 5:13; Matthew 8:32 and the same vivid verb in each account, to hurl impetuously, to rush. [source]
Luke 8:33 Were choked [απεπνιγη]
Second aorist (constative) passive indicative third singular (collective singular) where Mark 5:13 has the picturesque imperfect επνιγοντο — epnigonto f0). [source]
Acts 27:14 Beat down from it [εβαλεν κατ αυτης]
Second aorist active indicative of βαλλω — ballō to throw. Here “dashed” (intransitive). Αυτης — Autēs is in the ablative, not genitive case, beat “down from it” (Crete), not “against it or on it.” (Robertson, Grammar, p. 606). Αυτης — Autēs cannot refer to πλοιον — ploion (boat) which is neuter. So the ablative case with κατα — kata as in Mark 5:13, Homer also. The Cretan mountains are over 7,000 feet high. A tempestuous wind which is called Euraquilo (ανεμος τυπωνικος ο καλουμενος Ευρακυλων — anemos tuphōnikos ho kaloumenos Eurakulōn). ΤυπωνΤυπως — Tuphōn̂Tuphōs was used for the typhoon, a violent whirlwind (τυρβο — turbo) or squall. This word gives the character of the wind. The Ευρακυλων — Eurakulōn (reading of Aleph A B against the Textus Receptus Ευροκλυδων — Eurokludōn) has not been found elsewhere. Blass calls it a hybrid word compounded of the Greek ευρος — euros (east wind) and the Latin αθυιλο — aquilo (northeast). It is made like ευρονοτος — euronotos (southeast). The Vulgate has euroaquilo. It is thus the east north east wind. Page considers Euroclydon to be a corruption of Euraquilo. Here the name gives the direction of the wind. [source]

What do the individual words in Mark 5:13 mean?

And He allowed them having gone out the spirits - unclean entered into the pigs rushed the herd down the steep bank the sea about two thousand they were drowned in the sea
Καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους ὥρμησεν ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ τὴν θάλασσαν ὡς δισχίλιοι ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ

ἐπέτρεψεν  He  allowed 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐπιτρέπω 
Sense: to turn to, transfer, commit, instruct.
ἐξελθόντα  having  gone  out 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: ἐξέρχομαι 
Sense: to go or come forth of.
πνεύματα  spirits 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: πνεῦμα  
Sense: a movement of air (a gentle blast.
τὰ  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Neuter Plural
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀκάθαρτα  unclean 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: ἀκάθαρτος  
Sense: not cleansed, unclean.
εἰσῆλθον  entered 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: εἰσέρχομαι  
Sense: to go out or come in: to enter.
εἰς  into 
Parse: Preposition
Root: εἰς  
Sense: into, unto, to, towards, for, among.
χοίρους  pigs 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: χοῖρος  
Sense: a swine.
ὥρμησεν  rushed 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ὁρμάω  
Sense: to set in rapid motion, stir up, incite, urge on.
ἀγέλη  herd 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ἀγέλη  
Sense: herd or oxen or cattle, a herd or company.
κατὰ  down 
Parse: Preposition
Root: κατά 
Sense: down from, through out.
κρημνοῦ  steep  bank 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: κρημνός  
Sense: a steep place, a precipice.
θάλασσαν  sea 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: θάλασσα  
Sense: the sea.
ὡς  about 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ὡς 
Sense: as, like, even as, etc.
δισχίλιοι  two  thousand 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: δισχίλιοι  
Sense: two thousand.
ἐπνίγοντο  they  were  drowned 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Plural
Root: πνίγω  
Sense: to choke, strangle.
θαλάσσῃ  sea 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: θάλασσα  
Sense: the sea.