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and ministered unto him. That was done at the close of the forty days. There are other instances of persons fasting forty days, recorded in the scriptures. Moses, Exod. xxxiv. 28. Elijah, Kings xix. 8. In these cases they were, no doubt, miraculously supported.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, cominand that these stones be made bread.
3. The tempter. The devil, or Satan. See ver. 1. 'If thou be the Son of God.' If thou art the Messiah-if God's own Son --then thou hast power to work a miracle, and here is a fit opportunity to try thy power, and show that thou art truly his Son. • Command that these stones, &c. The stones that were lying around him in the wilderness. No temptation could have been more plausible, or more likely to succeed, than this. He had just been declared to be the Son of God, ch. iii. 17, and here was an opportunity to show that he was really so. The circumstances were such as to make it appear plausible and proper to work this miracle. Here you are," was the language of Satan, hungry, cast out, alone, needy, poor, and yet the Son of God! If you have this power, how easy could you satisfy your wants! How foolish is it, then, for the Son of God, having all power, to be starving in this manner, when by a word he could show his power, and relieve nis wants !!
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
4. In reply to this artful temptation, Christ answered by a quotation from the Old Testament, Deut. viii. 3. In that passage the discourse is respecting manna. Moses says that the Lord humbled the people, and fed them with manna, an unusual kind of food, that they might learn that man did not live by bread only, but 'that there were other things to support life, and that every thing which God nad commanded was proper for this. The term
word,' used in this place, means very often, in Hebrew, thing, and in this place has clearly that meaning. The substance of his answer, then, is— It is not so imperiously necessary that I should have bread, as to make a miracle proper to procure it. Life depends on the will of God. He can support it in other ways, as well as by bread. He has created other things to be eaten, and man nay live by every thing that his Maker has commanded.' And froin this temptation we may learn, 1. That Satan often takes advantage of our circumstances to tempt us. The poor he often tempts to repine and complain, and to be dishonest to supply their necesseties 2. Satan's temptations are often the strongest immediately after we have been remarkably favoured. Ho often attempts to fill us with pride, and self-conceit, when wo have been favoured with peace of mind, or any new view of God, and endeavours to urge us to do something which may bring us low, and lead us to sin. 3. His temptations are plausible. They seem to be only urging us to do what is good and proper. We are not to think, therefore, that because a thing may seem to be good in itself, it is required to be done. Some of his most powerful temptations are when he seems to be urging us to do what shall be for the glory of God. 4. We are to meet the temptations of Satan, as the Saviour did, with the plain positive declarations of scripture. We are to inquire whether the thing is commanded, and whether, therefore, it is right to do it; and must not trust to our own feelings, or even our wishes, in the matter.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
5. “Taketh him up. The word means to conduct one; to lead one; to attend or accompany one; or to induce one to go. It is used in many places in the same sense. From these passages it appears that what is meant here is, that Satan conducted Jesus or accompanied him; but not that this was done against the will of Jesus. * The holy city.' Jerusalem is called "holy' because the temple was there, and it was the place of their religious solemnities. 'Setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple. That part of the sacred edifice sometimes called Solomon's porch. The temple was built on the top of mount Moriah. The temple itself, together with the courts and porches, occupied a large space of ground. See note, Matt. xxi. 12. The porch on the south side
however, sixty-seven feet broad, and one hundred and fifty high. From the top of this to the bottom of the valley below was more than seven hundred feet, and Josephus says that one could scarcely look down without dizziness. It was here, probably, that Christ was placed.
Satan proposed that he should cast himself down thence; and if he was the Son of God, he said it could do no harm. There was a promise that he should be protected. This promise was taken from Ps. xci. 11, 12.
To this passage of scripture Christ replied with another, which forbad the act. This is taken from Deut, vi, 16: Thou shalt not ternpt the Lord thy God.' That is, Thou shalt not try him; or, Thou shalt not, by throwing thyself into voluntary uncommanded dangers, appeal to God for protection, or trifle with the promises made to those who are thrown into danger by his providence. It is true, indeed, that God aids those of his people who are placed by nim in trial or danger; but it is not true that the promise was meant to extend to those who wantonly provoke him, and trifle with the promised help.
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, lest at any time thou dash thy 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 the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.
8. “An exceeding high mountain.'. Probably some elevated place in the vicinity of Jerusalem, on the top of which could be seen no small part of the land of Palestine. "So Moses, before he died, went up into mount Nebo, and from it God showed him
all the land of Gilead unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar, Deut. xxxiv. 1-3. There are mountains from which no small part of the land of Canaan may be seen. * All the kingdoms of the world. The kingdoms of Palestine, or the land of Canaan, and those in the immediate vicinity. Judea was divided into three parts, and those parts were called kingdoms. The term 'world' is often used in this limited sense to denote a part, or a large part of the world, particularly the land of Canaan. See Rom. iv. 13, where it means the land of Judah ; also Luke ii. 1, and the note on the place, “The glory of them. The riches, splendour, towns, cities, mountains, &c., of this beautiful land.
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
9. All these things,' &c. All these kingdoms. All these qominions Satan claimed a right to bestow on whom he pleased. They were very wicked; and with no small degree of plausibility, therefore, he asserted his claim to give them away. Satan regarded Christ as the King of the Jews. As the Messiah, he supposed he had come to take possession of all that country. He was poor and unarmed, and without followers or armies. Satan proposed to put him in possession of it at once, without any difficulty, if he would worship himn and acknowledge him as the proper lord and disposer of that country; if he would trust to him rather than to God. 'Worship me. See note on Matt. ii. 2. Render religious homage. We may be surprised at his boldness. But he supposed it was an object dear to the heart of the Messiah to obtain these kingdoms. He claimed a right over them; and ne seemed not to be asking too much, if he gave them to Jesus, that Jesus should be willing to acknowledge the gist, and express
gratitude for it. So plausible are Satan's temptations, even when They are blasphemous, and so artfully does he present his allure. ments to the mind.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
10. This was a bolder attack than any which had been offered, a more decided and deadly thrust at the piety of the Saviour. It was a proposition that the Son of God should worship the devil, instead of honouring and adoring Him who made heaven and earth; that he should bow down before the prince of wickedness. It is written.' In Deut. vi. 13.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
11. The devil leaveth him.' The devil left him for a time, Luke iv. 13. He intended to return again to the temptation, and if possible to seduce him yet from God. • The angels came and ministered." See ch. i. 20. They came and supplied his wants, and comforted him. From the whole of this we may learn, 1. That no one is so holy as to be free from temptation; for the pure Son of God was sorely tempted by the devil. 2. That when God permits a temptation or trial to come upon us, he will, if we look to him, give us grace to resist and overcome it, 1 Cor. x, 13. 3. We see the art of the tempter. His temptations are adapted to times and circumstances. What could have been more plausible than his suggestions to Christ? They were applicable to his circumstances. They had the appearance of much piety. They were backed by passages of scripture-misapplied, but still most artfully presented. He never comes boldly and tempts men to sin, telling them that they are committing sin. Such a mode would defeat his design. It would put penple on their guard. He commences, therefore, artfully, plausibly, and the real purpose does not appear till he has prepared the mind for it. This is the way with all temptation. No wicked man would at once tempt another to be profane, to be drunk, to be an infidel, or to commit adultery. The principles are first corrupted. The confidence is secured. The affections are won. And then the allurement is by little and little presented, till the victim falls. How should every one be on his guard at the very first appearance of evil, at the first suggestion that may possibly lead to evil! 4. One of the best ways of meeting temptation is by applying scripture. So our Saviour did; and they will always best succeed who best wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, Eph. vi. 17.
12 | Now, when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee ;
12. For an account of the fmprisonment of John, see Matt, siv, 1-12. He departed into Galilee.' See Matt. ii. 22. The reasons why Jesus went then into Galilee were, probably, l. Because the attention of the people had been much excited by John's preaching, and it was more favourable for his own ministry. 2. It seemed desirable to have some one to second John in the work of reformation. 3. It was less dangerous for him to commence his labours there than near Jerusalem.
13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea-coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim ;
13. 'Leaving Nazareth. Because his townsmen cast him out, and rejected him. See Luke iv. 14–30. •Came and dwelt in Capernaum.' This was a city on the sea of Tiberias. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament, but is repeatedly in the gospels.
In this place, and its neighbourhood, Jesus spent no small part of the three years of his public ministry. It is hence called his own city, Matt. ix. 1. In the time of Christ this was a large and flourishing city. It is now in ruins. Upon the sea-coast. The sea of Tiberias. In the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim. Two tribes of the children of Israel located in this part of the land of Canaan. Compare Gen. xlix. 13. Joshua xix. 10.32.
14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles :
14, 15.' That it might be fulfilled, &c. This place is recorded in Isa. ix. 1, 2. Matthew has given the sense, but not the very words of the prophet. 'Beyond Jordan.' This does not mean to the east of Jordan, as the phrase sometimes denotes, but rather in the vicinity of the Jordan, or perhaps in the vicinity of the sources of the Jordan. See Deut. i. l; iv. 49. Galilee of the Gentiles.' Galilee was divided into upper and lower Galilee. Upper Galilee was called Galilee of the Gentiles, because it was occupied chiefly by Gentiles. It was in the neighbourhood of Tyre, Sidon, &c. The word Gentiles includes in the scriptures all who are not Jews.
16 The people which sat in darkness, saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.
16. "The people which sat in darkness.'. Those who are ignorant of God, and their duty, are said to be in darkness. As ignorance is often connected with crime and vice, so darkness is sometimes used to denote sin, 1 Thess: v. 5; Eph. v. 8; Luke