Top Ten Reasons Why There Were Pigs In Gerasenes

Remember the story of Jesus casting demons out of the crazy man in ? The demons freak out that Jesus is there because it’s not time for them to be tormented by Him yet. They ask Him if they can enter some nearby pigs, and He lets them. It’s a weird story, but it’s in the Gospels a couple of times, so we have to accept it as truth.

(Sidebar: During the whole Rob Bell “Love Wins” craze, I had a friend who claimed to believe the Bible, but denied that demons exist. He says that the demon expulsions are just unenlightened men of the first century trying to explain illnesses being healed. I asked him how could it be that Jesus carried on an intelligent, protracted, two-way conversation with an “illness” after the “illness” was excised out of the man. The conversation showed that the “illness” had a will, a coherent sense of past, present and future, knowledge of the supremacy and authority of Jesus Christ, and a compulsion to worship Jesus. I don’t know of any “illness” that can do that. He changed the subject. *sigh*)

There’s another interesting question in the sidelines: if Jews detested pigs, why were there pigs in the area?

The Bible doesn’t say. So I figure we could speculate a little and see where this goes. To that end, may I present…

Top Ten Reasons Why There Were Pigs in Gerasenes ( )

10 ) It was the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, the area of the Decapolis. Lots of non-Jews lived there.

9 ) They were wild Ferrel hogs feeding near the cliffs. The nearby shepherds were sheep shepherds, not hog herders.

8 ) Their pork was kosher, kept out of the camp for 7 days, and circumcised. This made them fit for consumption. Besides, it was Christmas!

7 ) The pigs weren’t for eating. They were ..ummm ..for producing manure to …fertilize crops.

6 ) There were lots of laws they didn’t keep. Why should this surprise us? “You received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it!” ()

5 ) They weren’t real Jews – They were JINOs!

4 ) As R. Sol Urbin Ohel Moed teaches us, “Technically, the greek word for ‘swine’ is ‘choiros’, which many people think means ‘swine’, but in the Akkadian, and so with the Syriac, it really refers to an indigenous type of little lamb owned by sea-faring peasants, suitable for pets, grazing, shishkabob and MLT (Mutton, Lettuce and Tomato) sandwiches.”

3 ) “Pigs?? What pigs?? Oh, you mean THOSE pigs!! Ha, ha.. yeah… lemme ummm.. tell ya about those pigs..”

2 ) Like any rational redneck, they smelled their Gentile neighbors having a pork BBQ and said “DAAAANG, Hoss! That sure does smell good! We gotta git us some!”

1 ) [your turn. why do you think there were pigs there?]

Post your suggestions below.


8:1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” 29 For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. 32 Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 36 And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

40 Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41 And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

49 While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” 51 And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. 52 And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened. (ESV)


8:1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” 29 For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. 32 Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 36 And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

40 Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41 And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

49 While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” 51 And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. 52 And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened. (ESV)


53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” (ESV)

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9 comments to Top Ten Reasons Why There Were Pigs In Gerasenes

  • I’ve heard that the apostles and Christ may have traveled to Spain. Pork was a prevalent food staple and as you travel near the gates of Gibraltar the terrain matches the craggy cliffs as well as the placement of aboveground as well as natural cave tombs which show signs of living inhabitants at some point. Also oral tradition in this area talks of Christ coming and preaching the gospel there but being asked to leave shortly afterwards. Also in a side note there’s a rock with what looks like a human footprint in it, it is said this is Christ’s footprint. But just a theory.

    • admin

      Very interesting. I’ve not heard that theory before.

      Paul talked about going to Spain in

      24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. 28 When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. (ESV)

      , so part of this is certainly within the realm of possibilities. And if I remember correctly, I think there is some tradition about other Apostles going to Spain.

      I would, however, be a little skeptical of stories about Jesus Himself visiting Spain. He was clear that His mission was not to the Gentiles and Samaritans, but rather, to the lost tribe of Israel. (

      24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (ESV)

      )

  • Charles Pye

    The story is about the power of Jesus and, even his name, to rid humans of demons and also to show that his power was for Gentiles as well. The Garasenes were not Jewish but the country was close to Galilee and Jesus had been to that side of the sea before. So why pigs? Because the writer of the story wanted to make sure that everyone would know that the Garasenes were not Jewish.

    The stories in the gospels may or may not have happened but, regardless, they are told in a way that makes a theological point and were never intended to be understood as factual history.

    • admin

      Thanks Charles.

      I’m wondering…
      * If one believes demons exists, why invent a false story to make the point that Jesus has power over demons? Surely He could have demonstrated real power over real demons, right?
      * And if one doesn’t believe demons exist ..same question: why invent a false story to make the point that Jesus has power over demonic creatures that don’t exist? (we don’t invent stories to let people know Jesus has power over the Tooth Fairy, do we?)

      In either case, the “theological point” is not helped by a fictitious story.

      But there are many reasons why I’m not keen on the idea of the Gospels as non-historical.
      – They’re written as factual history. Therefore they should be taken as such.
      – Many of the events are corroborated by other authors. These authors were Biblical (Peter, James, Paul, Hebrews, etc) and to a lesser extent, non-biblical (Josephus, Pliny, etc). Since these events were “supposedly” witnessed by hundreds (and even thousands of people), it would have been very easy for 1st century critics to debunk it as non-historical. Additionally, it would have been foolish for the Apostles to claim hundreds and thousands of witnesses (

      15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

      For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. (ESV)

      ).
      – The church fathers treated them as literal history.
      – Over the centuries, many scribes spent an enormous amount of time, energy and resources copying them, thereby lending credibility to them.

      Is there actually a real reason why the Gospel accounts shouldn’t be taken as factual history?

      Thanks.

  • Peter Johnson

    Them there pigs were trying to hog Jesus’ limelight☺!

  • Peter Johnson

    Them there pigs were going to try to ‘hog the limelight’that Jesus was famous for but ended up being lost in more ways than one! ☺

  • Anne Marsilje

    Jesus was wise to use what God gives us, for a teachable moment. Swine are considered unclean and unholy in the Jewish tradition, and Jesus was Jewish.This miracle, witnessed by his disciples, also shows Jesus’s wisdom in teaching the Word of God among non Jewish people.

  • debra wallace

    Jesus was Jewish and He said He came for the lost sheep of Israel…the 10 cities of Decapolis were Roman cities but also contained some Jews who were most likely not keeping the Torah or mixing paganism with Judaism…..Romans had many pagan gods and sacrifice pigs especially a certain black pig…..I believe the man with the unclean spirits was a Jew….a Jew would never hang out in a tomb because that would make him unclean according to Jewish law…..satan probably got a kick out of a Jew being forced by his demons to live in one….interesting that unclean spirits went into a unclean animal according to Judaism………what a sight to see and then told by to go and tell what happened to you and to those pigs to your fellow Jewish friends and family who may not be keeping the Torah…..just my opinion.

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