Casting Out a Demon

At Qumran there were first century parchment and papyri writings found.  In Cave 4 there was a text recording efforts to rebuke a demon.  In text 4Q560 a  "... fever demon, chills demon, chest demon", was commanded to not disturb at night with disturbing dreams, (The Dead Sea Scrolls, M. Wise, 1996).

Qumran Settlement near the side of the Dead Sea -- 2006

The ancient Persians had Zoroastrian writings about the powers of light and darkness; it was the good God versus the evil leader of the demons.

The idea of a good and bad spirit was preserved in the Bible in the book of Job; a discourse including a tale of God and Satan debating the loyalty of Job. 

In Jesus' day hallucinations, disorderly conduct, physical or neurological disorders, and bad behaviors were attributed to demons.  The book of Job described Satan as a spirit of temptation and evil.  It is obvious that a demon of shaking and fever was a metaphor for a disease like malaria.  Jesus was able to make people well and to rid them of bad conditions.  The word Satan was used metaphorically in the Bible.  

Matthew 12:27 (American Standard Version)

27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

Many of the people rejected Jesus accusing him of being able to cure people with strange mental and physical disorders by being in collusion with the devil.  Jesus responded with words to the effect that it was not by the devil that the devil was cast out, for the devil does not cast out its own.  Some went to their traditional religious leaders to try to get divine intervention, however Jesus was drawing crowds by the thousands and many were going to him for he had authority instead of hypocrisy.

At the Golan Archaeology Museum in Qatzrin there is Byzantine Period Jewish exorcism prayer in Hebrew on a silver amulet invoking the name of God (Yahu) to drive the fever/shivers (malaria?) and demons from Yaitha; the daughter of Marian.  The 5th-6th century amulet was found at Horvat Kanaf in the Golan where Judaism flourished under the Christian Byzantine empire. 

The Byzantine era Jewish community above Lake Tiberius called upon Yahu (Yahweh) to drive out the demon of shaking fever -- probably malaria.  There is a contrasting text from the first century:

Matthew 8

14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother lying sick of a fever.
And he touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she arose, and ministered unto him.
And when even was come, they brought unto him many possessed with demons: and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all that were sick:

In this case fever was a sickness that required healing and not a demon to be driven out.  The early Christian writers may have been able to discern a difference between a person doing evil and physical illness.  

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