Possessed With Devils
Possessed with Devils the usual rendering in the A.V. of the Greek δαιμονιζόμενοι (but also δαιμονισθέντες, Mr 5:18; comp. δαιμόνια ἔχειν, Lu 8:27; πνεῦμα δαιμονίου ἀκαθάρτου ἔχειν, 4:33), Mt 4:24; Mt 8:16; Mt 15:22; Ac 8:7; Lu 8:2. These were persons afflicted with disease, as epilepsy (Mt 17:15; Lu 9:39), paralysis (Lu 13:11,16), dumbness (Mt 9:32; Mt 12:22), and especially with melancholy and insanity (Mt 8:28; Mr 5:2 sq.; Lu 8:27 sq.); whence the healed are said to be of sound mind (σωφρονοῦντες, Mr 5:15; Lu 8:35). It is not necessary to suppose that the epilepsy or the dumbness, when this was the main feature of the case, was complicated with peculiar physical disorders, although epilepsy is very commonly connected with something of the kind (see Farmer, Vers. p. 89; Hippocrat. Virg. Morb. c. 1; Esquirol, Path. u. Therap. d. Seelenstörungen
[Leips. 18271, p. 73; comp. p. 503) indeed, while these special disabilities of men in other respects in sound and vigorous health were naturally referred to a supernatural cause, this would be especially the case with the sudden attacks of epilepsy, falling at irregular intervals and without premonition. Everything of this kind the Jews, like the Greeks and Romans referred to evil spirits taking possession of men (see Ac 10:38; Lu 13:16; comp. Josephus, Ant. 6, 8, 2, on 1Sa 16:14,23; see also Lightfoot, p. 388; Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenth. 2, 454; Maimonides, Schab. 2, 5; Erub. 3, 4; Creuzer, Symbolik, 3, 4 sq.). The case was the same among the ancients with those extraordinary events and achievements, accomplished by men, which seemed too great to proceed from the natural human powers-they were referred to the operation of a divinity. Not only hallucinations, melancholy, and epilepsy (called by Herodotus the sacred disease, 3, 33), but also the ravings of Bacchantes and Corvbantes were viewed as proceeding from superhuman inspiration (Herod. 4:79; Eurip. Brach. 298 sq.; Dion. Hal. De Demosthen. c. 22; see also Herod. 3, 33; Heliod. Eth. 4, 10; Bos, Exercit. Phil. p. 62 sq.). Hence to demonize (jatuoriav) is the common Greek expression meaning to be insane (AEsch. Choph. 564; Sept. c. Theb. 1003: Eurip. Phcn. 899; Aristoph. Thesmoph. 1060; Plutarch, Marsell. 20; Lucian, Philopseud. c. 16; and Wetst. 1, 282; esp. Aretaei Caussa Morb. diut. 1, 4). But these demons were generally viewed as the spirits of the deceased (Philostr. Apoll. 3, 38; Horace, Epod. 5, 91; comp. Josephus, War, 7:6, 3; and on exorcising them, see Plutarch, Synpos. 7:5; Lucian, Philopseud. c. 16; on the Syriac and Arabic usage of speech a, see Jahn, chtreage, p. 173 sq.). The practice of exorcism upon such men, for the purpose of driving out the daemons, was very common (comp. Lucian, Philopseud. c. 16; and see Mt 12:37; Lu 9:49; Ac 19:13 sq.; comp. Justin Mart. Apol. 2, 7). The exorcists made use of magical formulae, said to have descended from Solomon (Josephus, Ant. 8:2, 5), in connection with certain roots, stones, etc. (id. War, 7:6, 3; Mishna, Götting, 67:2; Plutarch, De Fluv. 16:2). Afterwards these men were found also in other countries (Lucian, Philopseud. c. 16). Many suppose that Jesus simply adopted the popular mode of speech in his age in speaking of daemonic possession, and healed the unfortunate sufferers without sharing in the view commonly taken of their disease (P. von Hemert, Accommodat in N.T. p. 51 sq.; Hase, Leben Jesu, p. 71 sq.), just as the physicians in the time of Origen, who did not at all believe in real possession by devils (comp. the principles of Maimonides; Jahn, Vachtraiti e, p. 185). On his method of healing, comp. Paulus, 1, 423; 2, 621; and on Mr 9:29, against the view of Pautlus, Fritzsche on Mt 17:21. Where prayer and fasting are recommended to the apostles as means of exorcism, Porphyry (Abstinen. 2, 204, 417 sq.) may be compared. It was very natural that the sufferers, when healed, wished to remain in the vicinity of the Great Physician (Lu 8:38; comp. 8:2); for there they considered themselves most safe against the return of the daemons.
The symptoms recorded of individual demoniac agree with those which are noticed in diseases of the kinds mentioned above.
(a.) On Mt 17:15, comp. Paul. AEgin. 3:13, where he speaks of a morbus comlitialis, in which the whole body is convulsed; which affects chiefly boys, sometimes young men; and in which the convulsion is accompanied with a sudden inarticulate cry. The chief distinguishing mark, however, is a foaming at the mouth (comp. Lu 9:39; Lucian, Philopseud. c. 16). Coel. Aurelian (Morb. Chron. 1, 4) speaks of a class of diseased persons, epileptics, who fell in public places (from which the disease is still sometimes called falling-sickness, and in German Fallsucht; comp. Rabb. נוֹפֵל or נַכפֶּה an epileptic), or even into rivers or the sea. Arettmus (De Morbo Epil. 5) speaks of some who fell in weakness into the river. It was early observed that this affliction seemed to have some connection with the changes of the moon (Dougtaei Anaect. 2, 5; Bartholin, Mor b. Bibl. c. 18; comp. Aret. Morb. Chronicles 1:4; Origen, in Matthew 3, p. 577; Lucian, Tox. c. 24; Isidor. Orig. 4:7). Hence the use of the world σεληνιάζεσθαι, Mt 4:24; Mt 17:15; comp. Suicer, Thesaur. 2, 946. In Latin, too, epileptics were called lunatici, or moonstruck. Again, epilepsy, in connection with partial insanity, was the disease of the man mentioned in Mr 1:23 sq.; Lu 4:33 sq.; comp. esp. Mr 1:26.
(b.) On Mt 8:28, comp. Wetstein, 1, 354 sq. The proofs of vast strength, and of a violent rage against himself (Mr 5:4-5; comp. Ac 19:16), leave no doubt that this man was a maniac. The fact that he avoided society, and wished to dwell alone among tombs, point to the peculiar mania which Savages calls Mania misanathropica, or that which Keil (Rhapsodie über die Anwend. d. psych. Kurmethode, etc. LHalle, 1803], p. 363) calls Mania errabunda. Yet his mania was but temporary, though the delusion which it accompanied was permanent, showing itself in settled ideas (Mr 5:9; Lu 8:30). Thus, according to the principles of Heinroth (Lehrbuch der Seelenstörungen, 1, 360 sq.), the case is one of delusion joined with melancholy, and sometimes heightened to mania. Mental as well as physical diseases are often thus complicated with each other (Esquirol, p. 73); comp. further, Targum Jerus Terumoth, 40, 2, where an insane man (שׁוֹטֶה) is thus described: "He goes forth and spends the night among the tombs; and tears his clothing, and destroys whatever is offered him." The leaping down of the swine, perhaps a part only of the herd, was produced, as some think, by the violent running towards them of the demoniacs, under the fixed impression that the daemons could not leave them save by finding another dwelling-place in the unclean beasts (comp. Josephus, Ant. 8, 2, 5; see esp. Eichhorn, Bibl. 6, 835 sq.; (Grimm, Exeget. Aufs. 1, 123 sq.; Schmidt, Exeget. Beifr. 2, 85 sq.; Greiling, in Helne, Mus. 1, 620 sq.; Friedrich, Vers. einer Literaturgesch. d. Pathol. u. Therapie d. psych Krankh. [Würzb. 1830], p. 7 sq.; Schleiermacher, Predigten, 3, note 3, on Acts 16:16). The view of the earlier theologians and physicians was that in the case of the demoniac healed 'by Jesus there had been an actual bodily indwelling of evil spirits. From this view (set forth by J. Marckius, Textual Exercit. p. 257 sq.; Deyling, Observat. 2, 371 sq.; Ernesti, Neue theol. Bibl. 3, 799 sq.; Zeibich, Vetre. Betracht. 3, 306 sq.; Storr, Ousc. 1, 53 sq.; Eschenbach, Scriptor. Med. Bibl. p. 41 sq.) many dissented long ago, following a hint of St. Augustine, De Genesi ad lit. 12:17 (see Hobbes, Leviathan, c. 8 and 45; Bekker, Byzant. Welt, bk. 4, c. 7 sq.; Wetstein, 1, 279 sq.; Bartholin, De Morb. Bibl. c. 19). It was formally combated by Mead, Bibelkrankh. p. 63 sq. See Semler, Com. de Daeimoniacis quorum in N.T. fit mentio (Halle, 1760); Umständliche Untersuchung der Damon- Leute (ibid. 1762); Gruner, De Demoniacis a Chri. Percuratis (Jena, 1775); Lindlinger, in his Schr. de Ebraeor. yet. Arte Med. translated into German by Cölln, with preface by Semler (Brem; 1776) his Briefe iib. die Damonischen in d. Evang., with additions by Semler (Halle 1783); Zimmerman, Diatr. de Daemonicis Evang. (Rinteln, 1786); Medicin. — hermen. Untersuch. ip. 15 sq. Comp. Carmls, Psychol. d. ebr. p. 393 sq.; Baur, Bibl. Theol. d. N.T. 1, 213 sq; Jahn, Archaöl. I, 2, 400 sq. (omitted in the 2nd ed.; comp. Nachtiadge to Jalhn's Theol. Veike, p. 451 sq.). Additional literature is cited by Volbeding, Index Programmatum, p. 41; Hase, Leben Jesu, p. 99; Darling, Cyclop. col. 830, 923, 926, 182, 1882; Danz, Bibl. Theolo(qiwt, p. 125, 204. See also Woodward, Demoniacal Possession (Lond. 1839, 1856); Meth. Quar. Rev. July, 1857; Free-will Bapt. Quar. April, 1858; Heb. Rev. Oct. 1865. Comp. SEE DAEMONIAC.