As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet Him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town. As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of Him. Then he screamed, “Why are You interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg You, don’t torture me!” So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power.
Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, for he was filled with many demons.
The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged Him to let them enter into the pigs. So Jesus gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned. When the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran.
People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been freed from the demons. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what happened told the others how the demon-possessed man had been healed. And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them. So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake. The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with Him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.Luke 8:27-39
There seem to be so many names for this place. Exactly where is it and why are there so many names?
The reason there are so many names is because there are variations in the Greek text.
- Gerasenon meaning Gerasanes, the people from the area of Gerasa.
- Gadarenon meaning Gadarenes, the people from the area of Gadara
- Gergesenon meaning Gergesenes, the people from the area of Gergesa.
A survey of the versions and their choice of the name for this place(s)
- Gerasa – AMP, ASV, BBE CEV, ESV, GNB, GW, BIS, ISV, ITB, JB, MSG, NASB, NLT, RSV, RV, TEV
- Gadara – EMTV, KJV and all KJV derivatives, LITV, Murdock, Webser, YLT,
- Gergesa – NIC, NEB
You can see the majority of versions opt for Gerasa (or Gerasenes) but the certainty of that being the name is not strong. Hence the variety of names in the various versions.
is the one that most versions choose but it is not necessary the correct name because most choose it. Gerasa is about 65 kms southeast of the lake.
ger´a-sa, ger´a-sēnz (Γέρασα, Gérasa; Γερασηνῶν, Gerasēnō̇n):
- Country of the Gerasenes
- The town itself is not named in Scripture, and is referred to only in the expression, “country of the Gerasenes” (Mar_5:1; Luk_8:26, Luk_8:37; see Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Appendix, 11). This describes the district in which Christ met and healed the demoniac from the tombs, where also took place the destruction of the swine. It was on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, and must have been a locality where the steep edges of the Bashan plateau drop close upon the brink of the lake. This condition is fulfilled only by the district immediately South of Wādy Semak, North of Ḳal ‛at el-Ḥuṣn. Here the slopes descend swiftly almost into the sea, and animals, once started on the downward run, could not avoid plunging into the depths. Many ancient tombs are to be seen in the face of the hills. Gerasa itself is probably represented by the ruins of Kurseh on the South side of Wādy Semak, just where it opens on the seashore. The ruins of the town are not considerable; but there are remains of a strong wall which must have surrounded the place. Traces of ancient buildings in the vicinity show that there must have been a fairly numerous population in the district.
- History The great and splendid city in the Decapolis is first mentioned as taken after a siege by Alexander Janneus, 85 bc (BJ, I, iv, 8). Josephus names it as marking the eastern limit of Peraea (BJ, III, iii, 3). He calls the inhabitants Syrians, when, at the beginning of the Jewish revolt, the district round Gerasa was laid waste. The Syrians made reprisals, and took many prisoners. With these, however, the Gerasenes dealt mercifully, letting such as wished go free, and escorting them to the border (BJ, II, xviii, 1, 5). Lucius Annius, at the instance of Vespasian, sacked and burned the city, with much slaughter (BJ, IV, ix, 1). From this disaster it appears soon to have recovered, and the period of its greatest prosperity lay, probably, in the 2nd and 3nd centuries of our era. It became the seat of a bishopric, and one of its bishops attended the Council of Chalcedon. Reland (Pal, II, 806) notes certain extant coins of Gerasa, from which it is clear that in the 2nd century it was a center of the worship of Artemis. It was besieged by Baldwin II, in 1121 ad. Mention is made of the strength of the site and the mighty masonry of its walls. William of Tyre calls the city Jarras, and places it 16 miles East of Jordan (Hist, xii, 16). The distance is about 19 miles from the river. It was conquered by the Moslems in the time of Omar (Guy le Strange, Palestine under the Moslems, 462). The sultan of Damascus is said to have fortified it; but there is nothing to show that the Moslems occupied it for any length of time.
- Description Modern Jerash lies on both banks of Wādy Jerash, about 6 miles from its confluence with Wādy ez-Zerḳā (the Jabbok). It is almost 20 miles from ‛Ammān (Philadelphia), and 22 from Fāhil (Pella). The ruins are wide and imposing and are better preserved than any others on the East of Jordan. They include several splendid temples, theaters, basilica, palaces and baths, with hippodrome and naumachia. The triumphal arch to the South of the city is almost entire. Two paved streets with double colonnades cut through the city at right angles, four massive pedestals still marking the point of intersection. An excellent account of the ruins is given in Thomson’s LB, III, 558ff.
There is nothing above ground of older date than the 2nd and 3rd centuries of our era; but there is no reason to doubt that the Greek city of Gerasa stood on the same site. The presence of a copious spring of sweet water makes it probable that the site has been occupied from olden time; but no trace remains of any ancient city. Some would identify the place with RAMOTH-GILEAD. The site is now occupied by a colony of Circassians, and there is reason to fear that, unless something is done to preserve them, many valuable remains of antiquity will perish.
is about 9.5 kms away and separated by the deep gorge of Yarmuk. There is no evidence in the Bible text of the presence of a deep gorge.
gad´a-ra (Γάδαρα, Gádara):
- Country of the Gadarenes – This city is not named in Scripture, but the territory belonging to it is spoken of as χώρα τῶν Γαδαρηνῶν, chō̇ra tō̇n Gadarēnō̇n, “country of the Gadarenes” (Mat_8:28). In the parallel passages (Mar_5:1; Luk_8:26, Luk_8:37) we read: χώρα τῶν Γερασηνῶν, chō̇ra tō̇n Gerasēnō̇n “country of the Gerasenes.” There is no good reason, however, to question the accuracy of the text in either case. The city of Gadara is represented today by the ruins of Umm Ḳeis on the heights south of el-Ḥummeh – the hot springs in the Yarmūk valley – about 6 miles Southeast of the Sea of Galilee. It maybe taken as certain that the jurisdiction of Gadara, as the chief city in these regions, extended over the country East of the Sea, including the lands of the subordinate town, GERASA (which see). The figure of a ship frequently appears on its coins: conclusive. proof that its territory reached the sea. The place might therefore be called with propriety, either “land of the Gerasenes,” with reference to the local center, or “land of the Gadarenes,” with reference to the superior city.v(NOTE. – The Textus Receptus of the New Testament reading. τῶν Γεργεσηνῶν, tṓn Gergesēnṓn, “of the Gergesenes,” must be rejected (Westcott-Hort, II. App., 11).)
- History – The name Gadara appears to be Semitic It is still heard in Jedūr, which attaches to the ancient rock tombs, with sarcophagi, to the East of the present ruins. They are closed by carved stone doors, and are used as storehouses for grain, and also as dwellings by the inhabitants. The place is not mentioned till later times. It was taken by Antiochus the Great when in 218 bc he first invaded Palestine (Polyb. v.71). Alexander Janneus invested the place, and reduced it after a ten months’ siege (Ant., XIII, iii, 3; BJ, I, iv, 2). Pompey is said to have restored it, 63 bc (Ant., XIV, iv, 4; BJ, I, vii, 7); from which it would appear to have declined in Jewish hands. He gave it a free constitution. From this date the era of the city was reckoned. It was the seat of one of the councils instituted by Gabinius for the government of the Jews (Ant., XIV, v, 4; BJ, I, viii, 5). It was given by Augustus to Herod the Great in 30 bc (Ant., XV, vii, 3; BJ, I, xx, 3). The emperor would not listen to the accusations of the inhabitants against Herod for oppressive conduct (Ant., XV, x, 2 f). After Herod’s death it was joined to the province of Syria, 4 bc (Ant., XVII, xi, 4; BJ, II, vi, 3). At the beginning of the Jewish revolt the country around Gadara was laid waste (BJ, II, xviii, 1). The Gadarenes captured some of the boldest of the Jews, of whom several were put to death, and others imprisoned (ibid., 5). A party in the city surrendered it to Vespasian, who placed a garrison there (BJ, IV, vii, 3). It continued to be a great and important city, and was long the seat of a bishop (Reland, Palestine, 776). With the conquest of the Moslems it passed under eclipse, and is now an utter ruin.
- Identification and Description – Umm Ḳeis answers the description given of Gadara by ancient writers. It was a strong fortress (Ant., XIII, iii, 3), near the Hieromax – i.e. Yarmūk (Pliny N H, xvi) – East of Tiberias and Scythopolis, on the top of a hill, 3 Roman miles from hot springs and baths called Amatha, on the bank of the Hieromax (Onomasticon, under the word). The narrow ridge on which the ruins lie runs out toward the Jordan from the uplands of Gilead, with the deep gorge of Wādy Yarmūk – Hieromax – on the North, and Wādy el ‛Arab on the South. The hot springs, as noted above, are in the bottom of the valley to the North. The ridge sinks gradually to the East, and falls steeply on the other three sides, so that the position was one of great strength. The ancient walls may be traced in almost their entire circuit of 2 miles. One of the great Roman roads ran eastward to Ḍer‛ah; and an aqueduct has been traced to the pool of el Ḳhab, about 20 miles to the North of Ḍer‛ah. The ruins include those of two theaters, a basilica, a temple, and many important buildings, telling of a once great and splendid city. A paved street, with double colonnade, ran from East to West. The ruts worn in the pavement by the chariot wheels are still to be seen.
That there was a second Gadara seems certain, and it may be intended in some of the passages referred to above. It is probably represented by the modern Jedūr, not far from es-Salṭ (Buhl, Geographic des alten Palastina, 255; Guthe). Josephus gives Pella as the northern boundary of Peraea (BJ, III, iii, 3). This would exclude Gadara on the Hieromax. The southern city, therefore, should be understood as “the capital of Peraea” in BJ, IV; vii, 3. Gadara was a member of the DECAPOLIS (which see).
was favored by Origen because it was much closer to the lake and because he felt the other names had been chosen because people didn’t know Gergesa existed.
All E-Sword lists for Gergesa is as follows:
A false reading of “Gadarenes” retained in the King James Version of Mat_8:28. See GADARA.
Yet many modern researchers feel the present town of Khersa is the one that was intended and feel that linguistically it retains enough of the root from the etymology of the ancient name to be the place talked about – namely Gergesa. Of all the place names mentioned, Khersa (ancient Gergesa) best fits the description and the details of the story. It is a region to tombs, vaults hewn into the rock cliffs. A steep hill descends down to the lake’s edge. Furthermore Khersa is situated diagonally across the lake from Capernaum. It sure seems to be the place meant in the gospels.
As you can see from the above there is lots of conflicting information on the name and location of this place. I have given you all the information now. Up to you to work out what you think about the name of this place and which one of these was meant. At the least, you understand why there is considerable debate on the name and location and why there is variation in the text on this place name. So here they are in their raw state this time – just as you would find them in E-Sword.]
What’s in a name?
Earth is the ONLY planet not named after a god.Rick Godwin
Remember that God owns everything. Your name may be on the account, but don’t get any wrong ideas.Bob Gass
Sticks and stone may break my bones but names will never hurt me. What a lie! Words do hurt and wound, sometimes life long.Anon
When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.Billy, age 4 (Such wisdom from a 4 year old!)