Mark 5:9 ESV:

9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the pigs, and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned in the sea.

And was he asking because he didn't know?

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    You are always pushing peoples buttons WoundedEgo :) – Dan S. May 6 '16 at 18:48
  • @DanS. "Only conflict is interesting" -- Anonymous – user10231 May 6 '16 at 20:33
  • I suppose Jesus could have just done it all silently....but then the Disciples would never have known what was happening and we would never have this scripture to ask a question about. – Joshua May 7 '16 at 2:13
  • @Joshua It's a weird story, isn't it? – user10231 May 7 '16 at 2:15
  • @WoundedEgo Yes but there are plenty of other cases where Jesus said things or asked questions for the Disciples benefit. I see no reason to think this is different. I can't really make an answer out of that since it relies on the interpretation of the other passages. But that's my view on it. – Joshua May 7 '16 at 2:23

The context and sense of the question mean that Jesus was asking for a name, rather than a title, although in some sense he was answered with a title. This is the only occasion in Mark's Gospel when Jesus does ask a supplicant for his name, yet we are not told the demoniac's name, only the response of the demons, who say 'Legion' because they are many. There is one other occasion in Mark's Gospel in which the person Jesus is helping is given a name, but once again it is not the supplicant's actual name. On this other occasion (Mark 10:46) we are told the blind beggar is the son of Timaeus (Bartimaeus - Bar being Aramaic for 'son' and Timaeus being a common Greek name).

When Jesus asked the demoniac his name, he did not know there were many demons, because he spoke (Mark 5:8) as if there would have been only one demon, saying, "Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit." We can then assume Jesus also did not know the man's name.

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    You can only assume what you claim to assume in this answer if you have previously assumed that nothing else the Gospel accounts tell us about Jesus knowledge about things that weren't readily observable (e.g. Philip under the fig tree or the Samaritan woman's marital history). If you've started with the presupposition that Jesus was not divine then this argument could make sense, but as far as arguing from this passage you've done nothing but beg the question based on a presumption that other accounts in the same text must be false. – Caleb Sep 30 '15 at 12:28
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    @Caleb Your comment is a little unclear. I have not answered this Q on any assumption that nothing else the Gospel accounts tell us about Jesus knowledge about things that weren't readily observable. I have merely stated what exegesis of Mark (the gospel in question) tells us - that (i) context and sense mean that Jesus was asking for a name; (ii) he was (we are) not told his name; (iii) Jesus ordered one demon out of the man, but there were many. It is unclear to me just where Philip and the marital status come into this. – Dick Harfield Oct 1 '15 at 0:32

In the Book of Genesis God gave Adam (Man) dominion over all creatures and by granting Adam the right to name them, the deal was sealed. It was my understanding from my study of the Bible that knowing a name of a creature imbued the asker control. One cannot control that which has no name, it is a kind of hook.

Jacob wrestled with an angel all night and when he was about to subdue that angel, he asked for the name of the creature and was struck in the hollow of his thigh and released the angel without ever knowing its name, thus never gaining control over the angel.

Naming has a power and knowing the name of something is the beginning of controlling it. This is true for everything that gives us trouble in our lives and if we cannot name that which troubles us, we are powerless to overcome that trouble. Jesus' asking for the name of the thing that was controlling the man was his first response to ridding the man of the demon(s).

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  • Welcome to BH.SE! Please take the tour to get a feel for how the site functions. The idea you have put forward here is unsupported, and may cause your answer to be removed. – enegue Oct 7 '17 at 13:27

Mark 5:9. is very clear by the fact that Jesus was asking THE MAN not the demons. Let us first establish what the question did.

  1. The question called back the demoniac to his personal or true identity (consciousness). The demons had robed him of his identity to such a big extent that not only did they make him an out cast from the human society but deprived him of the right to his name. so when Jesus demands for the name, it calls back the infirm man to his conscientiousness.

  2. The question disclosed the level of torment the demons had inflicted on the man. The demoniac's response LEGION was a term used to describe a battalion in ancient roman society which comprised of 4000- 6000. soldiers. The word in itself depicts strength, highly organised, readiness to destroy or kill on command from the top commander which is satan in this case.He was a host of about 6000 unclean spirits and under their torment.

  3. The question showed the unlimited and unstoppable grace of God that comes to ALL irrespective of your background or walk of life. The demoniac was a citizen of he region of the decapolis, (The land of the gerasenes). By asking for the name Jesus is showing man that irrespective of who you are, how situations have defined you, your past; you are still his child and your value still stands. In other words no matter what, you can still find your true identity in Christ Jesus.

Worth noting is the fact that Jesus very well knew the man was possessed by such a big number of demons amounting to a legion. so by him commanding in Mark 5:8 "come out of him you EVIL SPIRIT" singular, Jesus was well aware of the state of the demoniac and the response he was to give (LEGION) which is one collective noun, its why he uses singular "spirit".vs 8

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For what it's worth, I'll buy Dick's answer because I'm unconvinced that the Bible - anywhere - supports the idea that Jesus - the Son of God the Son of Man - was omniscient. He Himself stated that He came to do the will of the Father (John 12: 49, Hebrews 10:7 - from Ps 40). Paul teaches He is the new Adam. He lived a life of obedience rather than disobedience. This qualified Him to be propitiation for the sins of Adam's children.
If Jesus was 100% Man, well, man's brain cannot physically store infinite knowledge. He emptied Himself ... of His "God attributes" and trusted His life to the Father. So things He seemed to "know" were revealed to Him by the Father. At least that's how I see it.

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    Welcome to BH.SE! Please take the tour to get a feel for how the site functions. Your answer hasn't addressed the question that was asked, "In Mark 5:9 does Jesus ask for a name or a title? And why did he ask?". Please edit your answer to do so, or delete it and start again. Your response here is a comment, and should have been appended to the answer you have identified. – enegue Sep 22 '17 at 2:23

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