When the even was come
The other evangelists say, when "the sun was set", or "setting"; which circumstances are observed, not as some think, because the cool of the evening, and when the sun was set, it was more seasonable and convenient, in those hot countries, to bring out their sick, than in the heat of the day: nor are they remarked, as others think, because it was an unseasonable time to bring them to Christ, when he had been fatigued all day long, and yet he healed them; such was his goodness and compassion: but the true reason of the mention of them is, because it had been their sabbath day, as appears from ( Mark 1:21 ) ( Luke 4:31 ) and they could not, according to their canons, bring them sooner. Their sabbath began at sun setting; hence they say F19, that on the eve of the sabbath, that is, immediately preceding it, when the sabbath is about to begin, it is lawful to work (hmxh eqvtv de) , "until the sun sets"; and so it ended at sun setting the next day, which they judged of by the appearance of three stars F20.
``R. Phinehas, in the name of R. Aba Bar Papa, says, if but one star appears, it is certainly day; if two, it is a doubt whether it is night or not; if three, it is certainly night. On the eve of the sabbath, if he sees one star and does any work, he is free; if two, he brings a trespass offering for a doubt; if three, he brings a sin offering; at the going out of the sabbath, if he sees one star, and does any work, he brings a sin offering; if two, he brings a trespass offering for a doubt; if three, he is free.''So that till the sun was set, and three stars appeared as a proof of it, it was not lawful to do any sort of business; but as soon as it was out of doubt, that the sun was set, they might do anything: and this being the case,
they brought to him (Christ) many that were possessed with devils;
whose bodies Satan had been suffered to enter into, and were acted, and governed, and thrown into strange disorders by him. Such possessions, through divine permission, were frequent; that Christ, who was come in the flesh, might have an opportunity of showing his power over Satan, and giving proof of his deity and Messiahship.
And he cast out the spirits with his word;
only by speaking to them; who were obliged, at his command, and by his orders, to quit their tenements, though unwillingly enough.
And healed all that were sick;
whoever they were, without any respect of persons, of whatsoever disease attended them: the most stubborn, inveterate, and otherwise incurable disorder, was not too hard for him, which he cured without the help of medicine, and where that could be of no use, and either by speaking, or touching, or some such like means.
F19 T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 33. 1.
F20 T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 2. 2. Maimon. Sabbat, c. 5. sect. 4.