555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

285. How Should We Interpret Jesus' Words "The Damsel Is Not Dead, but Sleepeth"?

The Saviour's language in Mark 5:39 was as though he had used the familiar figure "she hath fallen asleep" —the same figure that is frequently employed in the Scriptures in describing death as sleep. (See Acts 7:60; I Cor. 15:6,18; II Peter 314.) Some have interpreted the language of Mark 5 to mean that the maid was in a trance or swoon; but most commentators agree that Mark 5:35 is a clear affirmation that all the signs of death were evident, that the life had already fled and that the reassuring words of the Master (in verse 36)' before he had even seen the maid, were intended to strengthen the ruler's faith and prepare him for the manifestation of divine power that followed. The last nine verses, read as a whole, bear out this conclusion.