Mark 9:16-20

Mark 9:16 (KJB)
And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?

The Scribes had really been questioning the disciples and it was obvious they were unable to answer many of their questions so Jesus comes over to them and asks them what their questions were. In fact, the Scribes were not just questioning, they were disputing with the disciples and that must have gotten the attention of Jesus. The Scribes took advantage of the fact that Jesus was not with the disciples at that moment but when Jesus came back from the Mount, He immediately got involved with their dispute.

Mark 9:17 (KJB)
And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

Now the time of questioning by the Scribes had finally come to an end and a man had brought his son to Jesus who was possessed by a dumb spirit. A dumb spirit is one who makes the person they are indwelling incapable of speech. (Luke 11:14 KJV) And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. In the Matthew account he is called lunatic. (Mat 17:15 KJV) Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is a lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. The word “lunatic” means “devil possessed, or one who is moonstruck.” The word “vexed” means “experience suffering or affliction.” So this boy not only was incapable of speaking, he was thrown into the fire and water by the spirit. Since the boy could not talk, his father did all the talking for him.

Mark 9:18 (KJB)
And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

This boy was indwelled by a very violent devil. “He teareth him” refers to the violence of the convulsions and the involuntary dashing of the boy’s body by the devil. “He foameth” refers to the fact that a white foam comes out of his mouth as if he was rabid. “Gnasheth with his teeth” refers to the grinding of the teeth. “Pineth away” has to do with withering away as a plant dries up from lack of water. Then the man states that he had already tried bringing his son to the nine disciples which had stayed behind while the others were up on Mount Meron with Jesus. For some reason the disciples could not free the boy from the devils. (Mat 10:1 KJV) And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Previously they had been given the authority to cast out devils from people but this time they seemed powerless to be able to do this.

Mark 9:19 (KJB)
He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

The nation of Israel had seen the miracles of God in time of Moses and yet they were hardened. The nine disciples had also been witness to the miracles of Jesus and witnessed the casting out of devils by Jesus and yet this people had remained faithless. The boy’s father also was faithless and the Scribes would not have cared about the boy and those in the crowd were concerned for themselves and this would have shown faithlessness in the entire crowd. Then Jesus asks two questions in a seemingly perturbed way. How long shall He be with them and how long will He suffer or bear their unbelief? His earthly ministry was coming to a close and no longer would He be able to instruct the disciples. He also knew that they saw His power over the kingdom of Satan and how He gave them the powers to cast out the devils and yet they could not. Then He asks them to bring the boy to Him.

Mark 9:20 (KJB)
And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

They brought the boy to Jesus and as soon as the boy came near Jesus, the devil in him began to cause the boy to tare or severely convulse and then he fell on the ground and wallowed in foaming. The word “wallowed” carries with it the idea of “being rolled.” This devil had started to roll this boy around in his own foam which came from his mouth. The devil must have caused the boy some very nasty convulsions and maybe because he was in the presence of Jesus. This may have angered the devil so he did what he could to the boy, taking out his hellish anger on him.