The Truth Of The Demonic Pigs In The Bible

Pigs have significant meaning for different religions and cultures. In ancient Rome, people sacrificed the pigs to their gods, and the animals were part of their cuisine (via NPR). However, in other cultures, the animal is labeled dirty and impure, and people are not allowed to eat them. According to the Torah, Jews are only allowed to eat animals that chew their cud and have cloven hooves, making pork forbidden (via The Courier-Journal). They are also not allowed to touch their carcasses.

In Mesopotamia and Egypt, priests and rulers also avoided eating pork. Muslims inherited this rule from the Old Testament, but there is an exception if they are starving and there is nothing else to eat (via The National News). And in the New Testament, pigs also played an essential role when Jesus was casting demons out of a man when he was in Gentile territory.

Demons asked Jesus to send them into pigs

When Jesus and his disciples are traveling to Gerasenes, they meet a demon-possessed man living by the tombs. The demon sees Jesus approaching and says: "What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, don't torment me," per Mark 5:7.

Jesus tells the demon to leave the man's body and asks his name. The demon says his name is Legion and begs to enter a herd of 2,000 pigs. Jesus gives every demon permission, and once they enter the pigs, the animals jump into the sea and drown. When people in the city hear about it, they beg Jesus to leave.

When Jesus is entering a boat to leave, the man who was possessed by the demons begs to go with him, but Jesus does not allow it. "Go to your house, to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you and how he had mercy on you," he says, via Mark 5:19.

The Bible doesn't explain why the demons asked to enter the pigs, but people have tried to understand the meaning of the event throughout the centuries. According to Desire in God, the demons needed a habitation, and they had no idea the herd would jump into the water. Other sources suggest the death of the pigs was an economic loss for the owner, and Jesus wanted to show that human life is priceless (via Sean McDowell).