And he asked his father
As he lay rolling about in this miserable condition, that the length and stubbornness of his disorder might be known, and so the cure the more remarkable, and appear the more expressive of his divine power and goodness:
how long is it ago since this came unto him?
since this evil spirit entered into him, and these disorders have attended him?
and he said of a child;
or "from his infancy"; so that it was not for any actual sin that he had committed, that this sore affiction came upon him; and yet he could not be without sin, since it was not agreeable to the justice, mercy, and goodness of God, to afflict, or suffer to be afflicted, one that is innocent; and therefore must be tainted with original sin, which is the source and spring of all afflictions, calamities and judgments.