The obsessed may be get blinded, dumb, deaf or mad under the effect of the obsessing Spirit (the Spirit who caused obsession).

But the Spirit causing obsession is itself blind, dumb or deaf!, This seems somehow strange.

How did the deaf Spirit hear Jesus and respond to Jesus's order?

How to solve this matter in Mark 9:17, 25?

Mark 9:17;

  1. And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; KJV.

Mark 9:25;

  1. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, {cf15I Thou} dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. KJV.

The text is clear in Greek text, KJV and ASV: the Spirit is dumb and deaf.

The text in ESV: Mark 9:17 (the Spirit made the obsessed mute), while Mark 9:25 (the Spirit itself is mute and deaf).

The text implicitly, but not expressly, indicates that the boy was dumb and deaf.

  • @NigelJ read Mark 9:17, 25. The text says clearly that the Spirit is dumb and deaf!. Obsessing Spirit means the spirit which caused obsession.
    – salah
    Jan 29, 2020 at 10:07
  • @NigelJ the text didn't say (dumbness and deafness Spirit), the text is very clear: the Spirit itself is dumb and deaf.
    – salah
    Jan 29, 2020 at 10:34
  • @NigelJ that is what I am talking about, how did Jesus command it with spoken words and the deaf Spirit hear and obey?!. The text is very clear.
    – salah
    Jan 29, 2020 at 11:18
  • This question seems linguistic rather than hermeneutical, and appears to be based on the notion that ancient Greek words or expressions have precisely the exact same meaning as their modern English counterparts.
    – Lucian
    Feb 1, 2020 at 7:41
  • @Lucian the question is clearly both linguistic and hermeneutic, it is not about modern English counterparts, it is about all other translations in all other languages. It's unpleasant that all translators in all other languages misunderstood the original Greek text. It's surely hermeneutic and exegetical.
    – salah
    Feb 1, 2020 at 8:02

3 Answers 3


In the Greek text there are two layers of meaning :

το πνευμα το αλαλον και κωφον εγω σοι επιτασσω [TR] [Mark 9:25]

... the spirit the dumb and deaf I thee command [Literal EGNT (1)]

There is a person before Jesus. And within that person there is a demonic being, by whose presence the person is rendered dumb.

The father only knew the boy was dumb (note the man's words to Jesus). The reason he was dumb was that he was deaf. The deafness made him dumb. It is Jesus who discerns that the boy is deaf.

The boy sees people's mouths move, but he hears no sound. He doesn't know how to make 'sound' for he is not aware of what 'sound' is.

There is a wealth of spiritual meaning in this incident. Without hearing, humanity cannot communicate (with God).

When Jesus rectifies the situation, he speaks - I would suggest - on two levels.

He is communicating with an invisible spirit. He needs not utter any words for he has power over such demonic beings.

So first he addresses the spirit directly, 'the spirit'.

But among men, on earth, in the world, Jesus is manifest and a boy is in front of him and he then addresses what is visible 'the dumb and deaf'.

His spoken words, spoken with a human mouth, are heard in the atmosphere and penetrate the ears of the boy.

And his spiritual power directly affects the invisible demon inside the boy.

Two layers. Two articles.

With the enforced departure of the evil influence, the boy can now hear. And thus, he can begin to learn how to speak.

All of this has spiritual meaning for mankind.

It is my own understanding that the spirit itself is not deaf and dumb, but its presence has that effect on the host that it invades. This is, I understand, a similar kind of thing to a flu virus which does not itself have influenza symptoms.

The virus affects a host and the host suffers the symptoms of the disease carried by the invading species.

By removing all traces of the invader, and by treating the consequent disease, the host will be cured and the symptoms will disappear.

(1) The Englishman's Greek New Testament, literal interlinear translation.


You can interpret deaf and dumb as it is seen in this time, as something wrong. Spirit is timeless and does not need positive or negative interpretations. Being deaf means not hearing, no ears. Dumb means not speaking with a mouth that makes sounds. It does not mean: not knowing. Spirit is not bound to a body. No body, no mouth, no ears. Always Spirit.


The spirit, the fallen angel, that made a man dumb is not dumb of course, for dumbness implies physical organs, without which it cannot exist, and since the fallen angel does not have physical organs, it is excluded that this fallen angel whom God for some reason permitted to enter the poor man may be dumb.

The language is that of a popular, everyday usage, like, for instance, Donald Trump called the North Korean leader "Rocket-man", he did not imply that he was a rocket, but that he was a - potential - rocket launcher.

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