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In the Gospel of Matthew, we are told that two demon-possessed men approached Jesus:

  • Matthew 8:28-29: "When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 29And they cried out, saying, 'What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?'"

This is in contrast to the Gospel of Mark, where only one demoniac appears:

  • Mark 5:2-3, 5-7: "When [Christ] got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain... 5Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. 6Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7and shouting with a loud voice, he said, 'What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!'"

Is there a obvious, significant reason for the discrepancy between the two Gospels?

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I think the most significant reason would be that Mark may have been focused on the one demoniac who afterward requested to follow Jesus. Only one of the two is recorded as having made this plea, and Jesus asked the man to stay, knowing that he would witness to his friends and neighbors. Jesus was better received to that region when next he came.

We see this at the end of that scene.

And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. (Mark 5:18, KJV)

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. (Mark 5:19, KJV)

Matthew does not record this part, nor do we know exactly what the other demoniac did or where he went instead of coming to Jesus begging to be allowed to go with him. Presumably, the other demoniac was less affected by Jesus' compassionate and merciful act. All we know is that one of the two wanted to become Jesus' disciple, and Mark appears to have remembered just this one. It may be that Matthew, being on another side of the group, had not witnessed this conversation, but had seen the two demoniacs clearly at the start.

The disciples could only recount what they had witnessed from their own perspectives. We have the benefit of looking at the various accounts and piecing together a clearer picture of what actually happened.

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  • This seems like a very reasonable, plausible answer. +1.
    – Xeno
    Sep 16 at 6:50

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