And always night and day, he was in the mountains
And this being in an Heathen country, would have rendered him an unclean person, if he had not been possessed with an unclean spirit; for so runs one of the Jewish canons F19:
``he that walks in an Heathen land, on mountains and rocks, is unclean.''And in the tombs:
which very likely were on the mountains, and cut out of them, it being usual to cut their sepulchres out of rocks:
crying, and cutting himself with stones;
with sharp pieces of stone, which he picked up among the broken tombstones, or from off the mountains, where he was night and day; and besides taking up stones with his hands, and cutting himself with them, he might cut his feet with the sharp stones of the mountains, in which he ran about; these mountains were those, that encompassed the sea of Tiberias; for of it is (htwa Nypyqm Myrhv) , "that the mountains surround it" F20: for the place where this man was, was near the sea of Tiberias, over which Christ was just now come; and soon as he arrived on shore, he met him, and found him in this condition. This man was a lively emblem of a man in a state of nature and unregeneracy: he had "an unclean spirit", as every natural man has; his soul or spirit is defiled with sin, particularly his mind and conscience: this pollution is natural to him; he brings it into the world with him; it is very uersal, it has spread itself over all the powers and faculties of his soul, and is what he cannot cleanse himself from: "who can say I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" ( Proverbs 20:9 ) . Nothing that he can do, or can be done for him by a mere creature, can free him from it: nothing but the blood of Christ, and that cleanses from all sin: this man, through the possession of Satan, was a madman, and exceeding fierce and furious: there is a spirit of madness in all unregenerate men; they are exceeding mad against God, and Christ, and the saints, as Saul was before conversion, ( Acts 26:9-11 ) . For who but madmen would stretch out their hands against God, strengthen themselves against the Almighty, run upon him, even on his neck, and upon the thick bosses of his bucklers? ( Job 15:25 Job 15:26 ) . Who but such would oppose themselves to the Son of God, or do despight to the Spirit of grace, who are equal in power and glory with God the Father? or kick against the pricks, by persecuting the members of Christ? Who but men out of their senses, would seek to ruin and destroy themselves, both soul and body? This man was altogether under the power and influence of Satan, and had a legion of devils within him. Satan is in every unconverted man, in every child of disobedience; and works effectually in him, and leads him captive at his will: and he has besides a swarm of fleshly lusts in him, which have the government over him. This man had his dwelling among the tombs, where the dead lay: so unregenerate men dwell among dead sinners, they have their conversation among the men of the world, who are dead in trespasses and sins, and according to the course of it: and as this man could not be bound with chains and fetters, but these were broke asunder by him; so wicked men are not to be bound, restrained, and governed, by the laws, commands, and ordinances of God; they despise them, break through them, and cannot be subject to them, their language is, "let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us", ( Psalms 2:3 ) . And as no man could tame this man, so it is not in the power of men, by the force of moral persuasion, by all the arguments, expostulations, exhortations, promises, or threatenings, they can make use of, to influence the carnal minds of men, or make any real change in them: or bring them into a subjection to the law of God, or Gospel of Christ, and remove from them the spirit of madness, and opposition to all that is good: and to say no more; as this man was mischievous to himself, and cut himself with stones, so carnal men are the worst enemies to themselves; they cut and wound themselves with their sins, though, like the madman, they are not sensible of it; and if grace prevent not, will destroy themselves, both soul and body, with their transgressions.
F19 Misn Oholot, c. 19. sect. 6.
F20 T. Hieros. Erubin, fol. 25. 2.