3 And when the tempter came | Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

to him, he said, If thou be the

This mode of speaking may be illustrated by the manner in which we might speak of a person in a wasting sickness, or in deep affliction, without a relish for the common enjoy. ments or business of men, or for ordinary food. In conversation, we might say of such a person, He has eaten nothing for many a day.

But while the language does not render it positively certain that our Lord underwent an entire abstinence from food, it cannot, on the other hand, be shown that he did not wholly abstain from food of all kinds. Clearly, he might have been miraculously sustained; and at the end of the forty days, his natural appetite for food might have returned with distressing keenness, so that the temptation to obtain food by a miracle would be peculiarly powerful. An hungered; the same as our modern word hungry.

herbs, honey-dew; thus scantily sus taining his animal nature, and giving his soul undisturbed opportunity for contemplation and communion with God, adapted to the extraordinary work which he had undertaken. A comparison of other passages of the Scriptures favors this view. In Esther 4: 16, the Jews were directed to fast, and neither eat nor drink, three days, night nor day, on account of their imminent danger. In Matt. 11: 18, John is said to have come neither eating nor drinking; yet we are informed in Matt. 3: 4, that he lived in a coarse and unusual manner, denying himself the ordinary comforts of life. By comparing Matt. 11: 18, with Luke 7: 33, we discover, that John's not eating nor drinking, means, not eating nor drinking the ordinary articles of food, living in a very selfdenying way. Just so the fast in Esther's time was probably an abstain- 3. And when the tempter came to ing from the ordinary way of living, him. Satan came to Jesus, probably so as to have as little time as possible in the same way that he comes to us; occupied in preparing and eating food, that is, by suggesting wrong thoughts and living in a manner corresponding to and proposals to our minds. the deeply-distressing circumstances language of Mark (1: 13), and particu of the Jews; so that, in compari- larly that of Luke (4: 2), intimate that son with the usual method of living. Satan was tempting Jesus during the they might well be said to be fasting forty days. Of all the particular for three days. We may regard our temptations presented, perhaps only Saviour as feeling all the natural con- the most signal and trying ones are sequences of so long an abstinence recorded; namely, those which were from ordinary food, and thus being presented at the close of the forty in a situation that would render the days. He said. Matthew's repretemptation to create food a very pow-senting Satan as holding a conversaerful one. Luke does indeed say (4:2), that " in those days he did eat nothing." But by comparing this expression with another, recorded by the same writer, in Acts 27: 33, "This is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried, and continued fasting, having taken nothing," we perceive he may have meant, that the Saviour ate nothing in the usual regular manner. He lived most scantily. He ate what came to hand; and with no regular meals, and with none of common food, he passed the forty days


tion with Jesus, is fully explained by the artless manner in which many honest and pious persons speak of their being tempted, or of Satan's tempting them, to commit sin. The evangelist's manner of speaking respecting Satan, corresponds also with the manner of other sacred writers. See Rom. 16: 20. 1 Pet 5: 8. Rev. 2: 10. That is, they speak of him as we speak of one another. God, also, is spoken of in the same way, as having eyes, hands, feet, &c., and as speaking to men. The Son of God; the Messiah. Compare 3: 17. In the

and ceedeth out of the mouth of

4 But he answered said, It is written, Man shall God.

up into the holy city, and set

power on such an occasion, might imply a distrust of divine providence, and would not have been in accordance with the design of miracles. That design was, to furnish public evidence of his being commissioned from God; not to satisfy the cravings of his own hunger. Besides, to perform a miracle at the suggestion of Satan, and with the view of removing his pretended doubts, would have been wholly unsuitable.

not live by bread alone, 5 Then the devil taketh him but by every word that prooriginal, the article is not used; and there might be a question, whether we should translate the expression thus the Son of God, meaning the Messiah; or thus-a son of God, meaning a pious man. There is, however, no serious difficulty; for if Satan tempted Jesus on the ground merely of his claiming to be a pious man, the temptation to work a miracle would not have been appropriate; whereas it was appropriate, on the ground of his claiming to be the Messiah. That these stones be made bread. How artful the suggestion presented to Jesus, while in his distressing circumstances, in a state, so to speak, of starving, that he should employ his miraculous power in creating a supply for his


4. He answered and said. As Saan's suggestion is represented in the ight of a remark made to the Saviour, b the thought which at once arose in he Saviour's mind in opposition to it, is called an answer; as if there had been a conversation between them. It is written; in Deut. 8: 3. The thought expressed in the passage referred to, is, that bread is not the only substance which can sustain human life; that bread is not absolutely necessary, but that whatever God may please to appoint for that end, will sustain the life of man. || Word. The original term thus rendered, has as extensive a signification as our term thing; and the expression Every word [thing] that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, is equivalent to, Whatever God shall appoint. Man's life can be sustained not only by bread, but by any thing which God may appoint. This was the thought which Jesus contemplated, and perhaps uttered, as refreshing to his soul, and making powerless the evil suggestions of the adversary. The exercise of the Messiah's supernatural

5. The holy city; Jerusalem, so called, as being the place where the temple was situated, and the public worship of God was performed. Compare Is. 48: 2. Dan. 9:24. || Pinnacle of the temple. The temple, in the time of Christ, had several porches. There was one distinguished by its size and height. It was one hundred cubits high, or, reckoning from the valley below, down which a person could not look without dizziness, four or five hundred cubits, that is, six or seven hundred feet. It was this, in all probability, which is here meant. But how did the devil take him to this place? Probably as one person takes, or carries, another to some place. A man takes another to a place, when he accompanies him, particularly with a design to accomplish something respecting him in that place. Jesus, having spent as much time as he desired in the wilderness, again sought the habitations of men. He was now probably proposing, in his own mind, to visit the temple in Jerusalem. From the loftiest elevation of the temple, he could take a survey of the city and of the surrounding country, to whose inhabitants he was soon to appear in a most important relation. In prosecuting this design, the tempter accompanied him; and he might in a guileful manner communicate such thoughts as would strengthen the Saviour's purpose to ascend the highest spot of the building. And when the Saviour arrived

teth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up,

at that spot, a favorable opportunity presented for insinuating another temptation.

lest at any time thou dash th foot against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all

tested the reality and strength of his faith.

8. The devil availed himself of another favorable opportunity to seduce the Messiah to take a wrong course.

6. Cast thyself down. There might have been some reference in this temptation to what we find expressed Taketh him; that is, as in by some of the inhabitants of Jerusa- the former instance, induced him to lem, in John 7: 27-" No man know- go, and went with him. There is no eth whence he [the Messiah] is." need, from the nature of this language Should Jesus have cast himself down of regarding Jesus as putting himse from that elevation, and the knowl- into Satan's power, or as at all es edge of so wonderful a descent be couraging Satan in his foul designs, spread abroad, it might have given or as allowing himself to be in any him immediate favor with the people. degree overcome by him. The deSuch might have been the form of the sign of Jesus in ascending the lofty temptation. Or it might have been mountain was doubtless a very dif simply a strong temptation presump-ferent one from that which Sata tuously to put divine providence to wished to accomplish in accompany. the test, such as might well be sup-ing him, or in any way inducing him posed to arise in the mind of a man to go. An exceeding high mounwho was standing on a very giddy tain. In the vicinity of Jerusalem height. For it is written; Ps. 91: there were lofty elevations. East 11, 12, a passage expressing the care of from Jerusalem, on the other side of divine providence over the righteous. the Jordan, there was also Mount 7. It is written again; Deut. 6: 16. Nebo, from one of whose summits, Tempt. This word here signifies to namely, Pisgah, Moses had a view of put to the proof, or to test. Thus, the promised land. Deut. 34: 1—4. Thou shalt not put the Lord thy God What mountain was intended by to the proof; thou shalt not test the the evangelist, cannot be determined. truth of his promises, by needlessly || All the kingdoms of the world. Luke placing thyself in dangerous circum- (4 : 5), adds," in a moment of time;" stances. The force of this passage, that is, so to speak, at a single glance. in rebutting Satan's suggestion, conThe world is sometimes used to desisted in its being a caution against note an extensive region. Compare a presumptuous confidence in God, Rom. 1: 8. The word used in the and a needless testing of the veracity original of Luke 4: 5, is somewhat of God. We are not to understand different from the word used by Matthe Saviour as here calling himself thew, but, like that, is applicable to a "the Lord thy God," and cautioning smaller or to a larger extent of counSatan not to persist in tempting him. try, and is actually used when only The view presented above is the only Palestine is meant. See Acts 11: one consistent with the connection. 28. History shows that Palestine was The word tempt is used in the same the country where the famine there sense in Gen. 22:1 -"God did tempt spoken of prevailed. In the verse Abraham;" that is, put him to trial, before us, we may understand the

the kingdoms of the world, and he glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto

word in this limited sense, as expressing the principalities in and around Palestine. This whole region was divided into several governments—a term which answers well to the original one rendered kingdoms. But as Palestine, with the country around, was an appendage to the vast Roman empire, a mind which was contemplating worldly authority and the splendor connected with it, might naturally pass from viewing Palestine to a mental apprehension of the whole empire, and even of the government of the whole world. While, then, Jesus, on the summit of the mountain, was surveying the land, with the design of deeply affecting his heart in prospect of what he was to do and to suffer in that region, Satan may have suggested the ideas, How glorious it would be to become the monarch of these regions! and, as the people were expecting the Messiah, and expecting in him a great temporal deliverer and prince, How easily might all this power and splendor be acquired! If Jesus would but renounce the authority of God, and, ceasing to contemplate his real work, would place himself on the side of Satan, and pay homage to him, all this power and glory might become

his own!

9. Will I give thee. Satan was called the god, or prince, of this world. John 12: 31. 14: 30. 2 Cor. 4:4. In accordance with this idea was the impious suggestion of the adversary. Fa'l down and worship me. Respect and homage were frequently expressed by prostration, together with corresponding language. Hence the phrase "fall down and worship," signifies what we express by the phrase do homage. In the

him, Get thee hence, Satan. for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

present case, Jesus might be said to be paying homage to Satan, had he been willing to renounce God and to seek for great worldly power.

10. The thought of grasping at temporal power was instantly repelled. It is written; Deut. 6:13. Jehovah only is the Lord of power and might, the dispenser of kingdoms and of glory. To him only is such homage due as Satan sought for himself. earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." Ps. 24: 1.


11. The devil leaveth him. Luke (4 : 13) adds the words "for a season.' Satan renewed his attacks near the termination of the Messiah's work on earth. John 14: 30. || Angels came and ministered unto him. Compare Mark 1: 13. Heavenly beings came, to rejoice with him at the triumphant issue of his trials, to administer in various ways to his wants, and particularly to impart consolation to his mind. So, on another occasion, an angel from heaven strengthened him. Luke 22: 43. Compare Heb. 1: 14. For Luke's account of our Saviour's temptation, see Luke 4: 1-13.

HINTS FOR REFLECTION, suggested by the account of our Lord's temptation.

1. Jesus, in view of his great work, sought opportunity for special communion with God. See the note on v. 1. How suitable an example for us, when undertaking any important work!

2. In immediate connection with special religious exercises, was dreadful temptation. When, then, we are in the most devout and religious state, let us specially guard against temptation.

3. Temptations are often presented in a very specious guise. Even

12 Now when Jesus had he came and dwelt in Caperheard that John was cast into naum, which is upon the seaprison, he departed into Galilee : coast, in the borders of Zabu13 And leaving Nazareth, lon and Nephthalim : the word of God may be abused to the purpose of encouraging a person in sin. v. 6.

4. The word of God, properly understood and applied, is a happy preservative from temptation. vs. 4, 7,


For an

John was cast into prison. account of John's imprisonment, see Matt. 14: 3-5. Mark 6: 17-20. Luke 3: 19, 20. || Into Galilee; the northern part of the country. See the Map. Jesus retired to Galilee, probably because he had accomplished in Judea as much as circumstances rendered suitable at present; and, the

5. Worldly advancement ought to be of no weight, when contrasted with duty to God and with our spirit-jealousy of the Pharisees and other ual interests.

6. Holy angels are not indifferent spectators of our sorrows and trials. v. 11. Heb. 1: 14.

7. We have a Saviour, who has been sorely tempted, and who is able to succor us when tempted. Heb. 2: 17, 18. 4:15.

12. Matthew here passes over a considerable space of time, which intervened between the temptation and our Saviour's taking up his abode in Capernaum. To obtain a correct view of our Saviour's history, the evangelists must be compared together. One of them omits some things, which another relates. One gives a more full account than another. Hence the accounts of all are necessary in order to obtain a connected view of events. According to the statements of John, it would seem, that Jesus became considerably known in Judea, by means of John the Baptist and certain persons whom he had invited to an acquaintance with himself (John 1: 35, &c.); that he went to Galilee, and attended the wedding at Cana (2:1-11); that thence he went to Capernaum and spent a few days (2: 12); that he again went to Jerusalem to attend a passover (2: 13-25), and remained some time in Judea, increasing the number of his followers, before John the Baptist was cast into prison (3: 22-36). After John was imprisoned, Jesus retired from Judea to Galilee. Of this last-mentioned going to Galilee Matthew now speaks.



distinguished men having been excited (John 4: 1), a longer continuance there might only have cherished their ill-will, and exposed himself prematurely to their machinations. Galilee was a part of the land where their influence was less felt, and where he could more profitably devote himself to the object of his mission. It was necessary, too, that all parts of the land should share in his labors.

On this journey to Galilee, probably, he passed through Samaria, as is related by John, 4th chapter. When arrived in Galilee, he healed in Cana the nobleman's son (John 4: 46–54), and exercised his ministry in the synagogues of Galilee.

13. And leaving Nazareth. Luke (4: 16-31) informs us of the Saviour's going to Nazareth, and of the circumstances in which he departed from it. || Dwelt in Capernaum; made Capernaum the principal place of his residence. See Luke 4: 31. Capernaum, as the Map shows, was situated on the north-western shore of the sea of Galilee. || Zabulon and Nephthalim; names of two tribes of the Israelites, so called from the two sons of Jacob, Zebulun and Naphtali. Gen. 49: 13, 21. There is a slight difference in the sounds of these names, as expressed in the Hebrew and in the Greek languages. In the division of the land among the tribes under Joshua, these two obtained their lots in the neighborhood of the sea of Galilee. Josh. 19: 10, 11, 32.

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