What does Mark 5:5 mean?The mountains here are the range of the Golan Heights that run along the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. They reach 2,500 feet (760 meters) in height and have a role in directing the winds that caused the storm recorded in Mark 4:35–41. The man possessed by a "legion" of demons (Mark 5:9) lives here in sepulchers: caves carved out of the rock for the bodies of the dead.
The way the man lives isn't even human. "Crying out" is from the Greek root word krazo and means to croak like a raven. The Greek root word for "cutting" is katakopto and means to beat, bruise, gash, and mangle.
Whether in the ancient practice of mediums, or modern books about gothic romance, demons are often portrayed as useful or even sympathetic and redeemable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Self-harm was well established as a rite in the worship of demons (1 Kings 18:28). And demons have no problem harming those they control (Mark 9:14–29). They are neither tamable nor benevolent. They wish to destroy us physically and spiritually.
It's not clear that the demoniac cut himself in worship of the demons. It's more likely he used the pain in an attempt to relieve the psychological agony he felt, similar to those who self-harm today. Those who self-harm often do so because they are lonely, misunderstood, can't express their feelings, or feel over-stimulated. Or because they feel empty and numb emotionally and wish to feel something strong. The demoniac could certainly have experienced any of these things.
As the people of the nearby village found out, the impulse to self-harm can't be healed by shackles and chains (Mark 5:4). Only Jesus can heal the broken pieces of our hearts and free us from evil.