What does Matthew 8:33 mean?
ESV: The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men.
NIV: Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.
NASB: And the herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.
CSB: Then the men who tended them fled. They went into the city and reported everything, especially what had happened to those who were demon-possessed.
NLT: The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men.
KJV: And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.
NKJV: Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.
Verse Commentary:
Herdsmen responsible for the care and feeding of 2,000 pigs (Mark 5:13) have just witnessed the animals lose their minds and rush into the sea to drown themselves. They are also aware that the two demon-possessed men who lived in the tombs outside of town have been freed from their demons by a stranger. They may have understood that the stranger sent the demons from the men into the pigs (Matthew 8:28–32).

The herdsmen do exactly what one would expect an employee to do when a disaster strikes a business: they rush into town to tell what they have seen. Part of this would include explaining to the pig's owners what has happened to their profits, as well as telling about the strange man who seemed to have caused it all. Whether or not Jesus' reputation was established in this region, or not, His role in this incident would certainly have caused a stir.
Verse Context:
Matthew 8:28–34 describes what happens when Jesus arrives on the other side of the Sea of Galilee in a mostly Gentile region. He is immediately confronted by two demon-possessed men who live in tombs. The demons recognize that Jesus is the Son of God and ask if He has come to torment them. They beg Jesus to cast them into a huge herd of pigs visible in the distance. He does so and the pigs immediately run straight into the sea and drown. The men are freed from the demons, but the people of the region ask Jesus to leave.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew begins a series of stories revealing Jesus' authority over sickness, demons, and even the weather. Jesus heals a humble man with leprosy and great faith. He then heals the servant of a Roman centurion who understands that Jesus does not need to come to his home; He can just speak a word. Jesus praises the Gentile man's amazing faith. After healing many more, Jesus and the disciples get caught in a deadly storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus stops the storm with a word. Later, He casts demons out of two men and into a huge herd of pigs.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 8 follows the conclusion of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1–2). He turns to telling a series of dramatic stories to show Jesus' power and authority over every kind of disease, over demons, and even over the weather. Jesus also gives brief teachings about the hard road of following Him on earth. He calms a violent storm with a single command and casts demons from two violently possessed men. Matthew will focus mostly on miracles until shifting focus to Jesus' teachings and parables in chapter 11.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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