Matthew 8:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 8:31, NIV: The demons begged Jesus, 'If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.'

Matthew 8:31, ESV: And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.”

Matthew 8:31, KJV: So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

Matthew 8:31, NASB: And the demons begged Him, saying, 'If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of pigs.'

Matthew 8:31, NLT: So the demons begged, 'If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.'

Matthew 8:31, CSB: "If you drive us out," the demons begged him, "send us into the herd of pigs."

What does Matthew 8:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus has been confronted by two demon-possessed men. The demons know Jesus is the Son of God and that He will order them out of the men. They know, also, that they will have no choice but to obey whatever command He gives to them (Matthew 8:28–30). The "herd" of pigs nearby is not a small cluster, but several thousand animals (Mark 5:13).

Now the demons appear to accept their impending fate. Luke tells us that they didn't want to be sent into the abyss (Luke 8:31), while Mark says they did not want to be sent out of the country (Mark 5:10). The abyss was understood to be a place where demons were kept until the time of God's judgment (Revelation 9:1–2). Rather than face those options, the demons beg to be sent into the pigs, instead. Scripture does not specify how this would be ultimately any different, given how the animals respond (Matthew 8:32). Still this is their plea.