Updated: Mar 17, 2022
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INTRODUCTION. This miracle took place following Jesus' stilling of the storm when He and the disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25). They landed on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. The locality is variously called the land of the Gergesenes, Gadarenes, or Gerasenes in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, depending on which translation is used. (In the King James and New King James Versions, Matthew says Gergesenes, Mark and Luke say Gadarenes. In the American Standard Version and New American Standard Bible, Matthew says Gadarenes, while Mark and Luke say Gerasenes.)
About midway on the eastern shore of the sea was the small village of Gergesa. About six miles southeast from the south end of the sea was the large city of Gadara. Although Jesus and the disciples probably landed near the village of Gergesa, the region was called the country of the Gadarenes since Gadara was a large and important city. Gerasa, another large and famous city, was about 35 miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee, and the district could have been named for this city also. Gadara and Gerasa were two of the ten cities of the Decapolis which had formed an alliance to protect their exposed frontier from desert marauders. Most of the inhabitants of the area were Gentiles.
Near Gergesa are cliffs with steep slopes reaching down to the shore, and the limestone rocks are studded with many caves and tombs. A man (two men according to Matthew) possessed by demons dwelt in these tombs and met Jesus when He came out of the boat. Matthew states the men were so fierce they prevented travelers from passing by that way. Luke portrays one of the demoniacs as wearing no clothes. Mark describes the man as very dangerous and unable to be bound with fetters and chains.