Jesus recrosses the Sea of Galilee after some local unpleasantness cuts short his visit to the Decapolis. “[The Gerasenes] began to beg him to leave their neighborhood” (Mark 5:17). Are these pig farmers afraid because he commands unclean spirits? Or are they worried about their livelihood?
The word beg (parakaleo) is used three times in the story of the Gerasene demoniac and again in Mark 5:23. In the passage skipped over by the lectionary, Mark 5:1–20, the demons beg Jesus not to send them out of the country. The local farmers beg him to go away and not bother them any more. The former demoniac, newly clothed and in his right mind, begs to accompany Jesus back to Galilee. Back in his own neighborhood, Jesus is confronted by Jairus, a prominent member of the community, who begs him to come lay hands on his daughter and heal her.