Gadarenes (Gergesenes)
Dictionary of Bible Names

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Gadarenes (Gergesenes)
Bible Meaning: Reward at the end (Gadarenes)
A stranger drawing near (Gergesenes)
Strong's Concordance #G1046, #G1086

Although Gadarenes and Gergesenes are derived from a different Greek word, they are essentially referring to the same area. The city of Gadara and its surrounding area are referred to as the Gadarenes. The region is located east of the Jordan River and southeast of the Sea of Galilee.

Gadara, though not directly named in Scripture, was part of the Decapolis. Although God's word does not name which cities were considered part of this region, Pliny's Natural History (c. 77 A.D.) lists these cities as Gerasa, Scythopolis, Hippos, Gadara, Pella, Philadelphia, Capitolias (Dion), Canatha, Raphana and Damascus.

The country of the Gadarenes (Gergesenes) is one of the few areas Jesus visited where Gentiles (non-Jews) composed the majority of the population.

Unique Confrontation

The Gadarenes was the place where Jesus confronted a man whose possession by demons gave him a level of superhuman strength like Samson (Mark 5:3 - 5, Luke 8:27). The man, who was naked when he saw Jesus, had the added ability of enduring both freezing and sweltering temperatures as well as pain he inflicted upon himself!

Location of Gadarenes and Gardara Map

The demonically possessed man who came to Jesus cried out his name was Legion. This name (Strong's #G3003) is a reference to a Roman military regiment that varied in soldier strength from 4,000 to 6,000. Even as the purpose of Roman legions was to enforce the will of the emperor, the goal of the multiple evil spirits was to carry out the devil's will of bringing pain, destruction and chaos to humans!

The Lord, in an act of great mercy, freed the Gadarenes' man by casting the demons out of him and allowing them to enter a nearby herd of pigs. The swine then immediately killed themselves by rushing off a cliff. The nearby townspeople, upon hearing of the great miracle (and not wanting to suffer further economic loss), begged Christ to leave the Gadarenes and never come back!

Important Verses

Matthew 8:28 - 29, 31, 34
And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? . . .

So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine . . .

And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.

Mark 5:1
And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

Luke 8:26
And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

Luke 8:37
Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them: for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.

Additional Studies

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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).