Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungry.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Luke 4:2. Being forty days tempted — According to Luke here, and Mark 1:12, he was tempted of Satan during the whole of these forty days; but we are favoured with no account of the various subtle arts which that evil spirit used in the course of so long a temptation. Only the three assaults which he made at the expiration of the forty days are recorded; perhaps because they were more violent than the rest, or more for the instruction of mankind. In those days he did eat nothing — And therefore was supported all the time by a miracle; for he found no inconvenience from so long and preternatural a fast. He did not, it seems, even feel the sensation of hunger till the forty days were expired. Moses, who was a type of Jesus, was remarkable for fasts of this kind; for at two different times he was forty days and forty nights with the Lord, Deuteronomy 9:9-25; Deuteronomy 10:10. In like manner Elijah, who was a type of Christ’s forerunner, went in the strength of the meat he had eaten, for forty days and forty nights, unto Horeb, the mount of God. Moreover, as Moses, during his forty days’ fast, received from God the laws which he afterward delivered to the Israelites, and, by continuing so long without food, proved the reality of his intercourse with God; so Jesus, during the whole of his fast, enjoyed continual converse with his heavenly Father, and received the new law, or evangelical doctrine, which he communicated to his first disciples, to be by them transmitted to future ages, John 8:26; and John 15:15; and by the miracle of a total abstinence from food for so long a time, demonstrated the truth of his mission. And it is probable, that this solemn fast of Christ, like those of Moses and Elias, was intended partly, at least, to prove the divinity of his mission, and to inculcate the necessity of subduing the animal passions and fleshly lusts, and vanquishing the pleasures of sense, before a man takes on himself the high character of an instructer of others in the knowledge of divine things.Matthew 4:2-3.
Lu 4:1-13. Temptation of Christ.
(See on Mt 4:1-11.)See Poole on "Matthew 4:2", and following verses to Matthew 4:4. Mark 1:13 who affirms, as here, that he was so long tempted by Satan; as he might be invisibly, and, by internal suggestions, before he appeared visibly, and attacked him openly, with the following temptations. The Ethiopic version adds, "and forty nights": and such were these days in which Christ was in the wilderness, and fasted, and was tempted there: they, were such as included nights, as well as days; see Matthew 4:2
and in those days he did eat nothing not any sort of food whatever; he tasted of no kind of eatables or drinkables, during the whole space of forty days; nor in the nights neither, in which the Jews allowed persons to eat in times of fasting; See Gill on Matthew 4:2. And this entire abstinence, as it shows the power of Christ in the supporting of his human nature, without food, for such a time, and the disadvantages under which, as man, combated with Satan; so, that this fast was never designed as an example to his followers, and to be imitated by them:
and when they were ended; the forty days, and forty nights:
he afterward hungered; which he did not before; and which shows the truth of his human nature; and is mentioned to observe the occasion of the following temptation, and the advantage on the tempter's side.Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 4:2. ἡμέρας τεσσ.: this is to be taken along with ἤγετο. Jesus wandered about in the desert all that time; the wandering the external index of the absorbing meditation within (Godet).—πειραζόμενος: Lk. refers to the temptation participially, as a mere incident of that forty days’ experience, in marked contrast to Mt., who represents temptation as the aim of the retirement (πειρασθῆναι); again guarding against wrong impressions, yet at the same time true to the fact. The present tense of the participle implies that temptation, though incidental, was continuous, going on with increasing intensity all the time.—οὐκ ἔφαγεν οὐδὲν implies absolute abstinence, suggestive of intense preoccupation. There was nothing there to eat, but also no inclination on the part of Jesus.2. forty days] The number was connected in the Jewish mind with notions of seclusion, and revelation, and peril;—Moses on Sinai, Exodus 34:18; Elijah, 1 Kings 19:8; the wanderings of the Israelites, Numbers 14:34; Jdg 13:1.
tempted] The present participle implies that the temptation was continuous throughout the forty days, though it reached its most awful climax at their close.
of the devil] The Jews placed in the wilderness one of the mouths of Gehenna, and there evil spirits were supposed to have most power (Numbers 16:33; Matthew 12:43). St Mark uses the Hebrew form of the word—‘Satan.’ Both words mean ‘the Accuser,’ but the Greek Diabolos is far more definite than the Hebrew Satan, which is loosely applied to any opponent, or opposition, or evil influence in which the evil spirit may be supposed to work (1 Chronicles 21:1; 2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:18). This usage is far more apparent in the original, where the word rendered ‘adversary’ is often Satan, Numbers 22:22; 1 Samuel 29:4; 1 Kings 11:14, &c. On the other hand, the Greek word Diabolos is comparatively rare in the N. T. (The word rendered ‘devils’ for the ‘evil spirits’ of demoniac possession is daimonia.) St Matthew also calls Satan “the tempter.” Few suppose that the Devil came incarnate in any visible hideous guise. The narrative of the Temptation could only have been communicated to the Apostles by our Lord Himself. Of its intense and absolute reality we cannot doubt; nor yet that it was so narrated as to bring home to us the clearest possible conception of its significance. The best and wisest commentators in all ages have accepted it as the symbolic description of a mysterious inward struggle. Further speculation into the special modes in which the temptations were effected is idle, and we have no data for it. Of this only can we be sure, that our Lord’s temptations were in every respect akin to ours (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 2:18); that there was “a direct operation of the evil spirit upon His mind and sensibility;” that, as St Augustine says, “Christ conquered the tempter, that the Christian may not be conquered by the tempter.” All enquiries as to whether Christ’s sinlessness arose from a ‘possibility of not sinning’ (posse non peccare) or an ‘impossibility of sinning’ (non posse peccare), are rash intrusions into the unrevealed. The Christian is content with the certainty that He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (see Hebrews 5:8).
he did eat nothing] St Matthew says more generally that ‘He fasted,’ and St Luke’s phrase probably implies no more than this (see Matthew 11:18). The Arabah at any rate supplied enough for the bare maintenance of life (Jos. Vit. 2), and at times of intense spiritual exaltation the ordinary needs of the body are almost suspended. But this can only be for a time, and when the reaction has begun hunger asserts its claims with a force so terrible that (as has been shewn again and again in human experience) such moments are fraught with the extremest peril to the soul. This was the moment which the Tempter chose. We rob the narrative of the Temptation of all its spiritual meaning unless in reading it we are on our guard against the Apollinarian heresy which denied the perfect Humanity of Christ. The Christian must keep in view two thoughts: 1. Intensely real temptation. 2. Absolute sinlessness. It is man’s trial ‘to feel temptation’ (sentire tentationem); Christ has put it into our power to resist it (non consentire tentationi). Temptation only merges into sin when man consents to it.
“’Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall.”—Shakespeare.
The temptation must be felt or it is no temptation; but we do not sin until temptation really sways the bias of the heart, and until delight and consent follow suggestion. The student will find the best examination of this subject in Ullmann’s treatise On the Sinlessness of Jesus (Engl. Transl.).Luke 4:2. Ἡμέρας τεσσαράκοντα, forty days) This is commonly construed with πειραζόμενος, being tempted. But it was not until the time when Jesus hungered, after the forty days were completed, that the Tempter came to Him; Matthew 4:3. It ought therefore to be construed with ἤγετο, was led into the wilderness, and was in the wilderness forty days. A similarly abbreviated mode of expression [See Append, on Concisa Locutio] in ch. Luke 20:9, He went away, to be absent for a long time [ἄπεδήμησεν χρόνους ἱκανούς]; so Revelation 20:2. He bound him a thousand years, i.e. that he should be [remain] bound a thousand years. [Comp. Joshua 8:29, Joshua laid great stones in the cave’s mouth—until this day, i.e. which remain until this day; Luke 10:27 in the Hebr.—V. g.]—συντελεσθεισῶν αὐτῶν, when they were consummated [ended]. There was a definite limit to them fixed.Verse 2. - Being forty days tempted of the devil. For some reason unknown to us, the number forty seems to possess some mystic significance. Moses was forty days alone with the Divine Presence on Horeb. Elijah fasted forty days in the wilderness before the vision and the voice came to him. Forty years was the period, too, of the wanderings of the chosen people. The existence of an evil power has been a favorite subject of discussion in those schools of thought who more or less question the authoritative teaching of the canonical books of the two Testaments. Keim, quoted by Godet, well and fairly sums up the present state of opinion of the more moderate and thoughtful schools of free-thought: "We regard the question of an existence of an evil power as altogether an open question for science." Those, however, who recognize the Gospel narratives as the faithful expression of Jesus Christ's teaching, must accept the repeated declarations of the Master that an evil being of superhuman power does exist, and has a great, though a limited, influence over the thoughts and works of men. Whatever men may feel with regard to the famous clause in the Lord's Prayer, which the Revisers of the Authorized Version render, "deliver us from the evil one," they must agree at least with the conclusion of the Revisers, that, in the Christian Church, a large majority of the ancients understood the Master's words in his great prayer as asking deliverance, not from "evil" in the abstract, as the English Authorized Version seems to prefer, but deliverance from the power of some mighty evil being. And in those days he did eat nothing. In this state of ecstasy, when the body was completely subordinate to the Spirit, the ordinary bodily wants seem to have been suspended. There is no difficulty in accepting this supposition, if the signification of the words, "in the Spirit," above suggested, be adopted. The whole transaction belongs to the miraculous. We, who receive as God's Word these Gospel narratives, find no difficulty in recognizing God's power to suspend, when he pleases, what men regard as fixed natural laws. We believe, too, that on certain occasions in the world's history it has pleased him to put this power into operation. He afterward hungered. Although still in the Spirit, in order to provide a field for the exercise of the peculiar typical temptation about to be dwelt upon, some of the bodily functions, which during the trance or the ecstasy had been temporarily suspended, were allowed again to play their usual part in the life, as in the ease Of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Paul, and John.
This should be joined with the preceding words, indicating the duration of his stay in the wilderness, not of his temptation, as A. V., being forty days tempted. Read as Rev., in the wilderness during forty days.
See on Matthew 4:1.
He did eat nothing
Mark does not mention the fast. Matthew uses the word νηστεύσας, having fasted, which, throughout the New Testament, is used of abstinence for religious purposes; a ritual act accompanying seasons of prayer.
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