Matthew 4:5
Then the devil takes him up into the holy city, and sets him on a pinnacle of the temple,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) The order of the last two temptations is different in St. Luke, and the variation is instructive. Either St. Luke’s informant was less accurate than St. Matthew’s, or the impressions left on the minds of those to whom the mystery had been communicated were slightly different. Especially was this likely to be the case, if the trial had been (as the narratives of St. Mark and St. Luke show) protracted, and the temptations therefore recurring. St. Matthew’s order seems, on the whole, the truest, and the “Get thee behind me, Satan,” fits in better with the close of the conflict.

Taketh him up into the holy city.—The use of this term to describe Jerusalem (Luke 4:9) is peculiar to St. Matthew among the Evangelists, and is used again by him in Matthew 27:53. St. John uses it in Revelation 11:2 of the literal, in Revelation 21:2 of the heavenly, Jerusalem. The analogy of Ezekiel 37:1; Ezekiel 40:2, where the prophet is carried from place to place in the vision of God, leads us to think of this “taking” as outside the conditions of local motion. As St. Paul said of like spiritual experiences of his own (2Corinthians 12:2), so we must say of this, Whether it was in the body, or out of the body, we know not, God knoweth.

A pinnacle of the temple.—Better, the pinnacle. The Greek has the article. The Greek word, like “pinnacle” is the diminutive of “wing,” and seems to have been applied to any pointed roof or gable. In this case, looking to the position and structure of the Temple, we may think of the point or parapet of the portico of Herod overlooking the Valley of Jehoshaphat, rising to a dizzy height of 400 cubits above it (Jos. Ant. xv. 11, 5). Our Lord’s earlier visits to Jerusalem must have made the scene familiar to Him. In past years He may have looked down from that portico on the dark gorge beneath. Now a new thought is brought before Him. Shall He test the attestation that He was the beloved Son by throwing himself headlong down? Was there not a seeming warrant for such a trial, the crucial experiment of Sonship? Had not the Psalmist declared of the chosen One of God that His angels should bear Him up? This seems a far truer view than that the point of the temptation lay in the suggestion that He should work a sign or wonder by throwing Himself, in the presence of the people, from the parapet that overlooked the court of the worshippers, and so obtain power and popularity. The answer to the Tempter shows that the suggestion tended, not to vain glory, but to distrust simulating reliance. It is a somewhat curious coincidence that James the Just, the brother of the Lord, is said to have been thrown down from “the pinnacle of the Temple” into one of its courts (Euseb. H. E. ii. 23).

Matthew 4:5-7. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city — That is, the city Jerusalem, frequently called the holy city in Scripture, see Nehemiah 11:1; Isaiah 52:1; Daniel 9:24; and that with great propriety, as being for ages the place of the special residence of Jehovah. It has been supposed by many, that Satan transported our Lord through the air, but whether he did or not cannot be determined from this passage, the original word, παραλαμβανει, signifying no more than that he took him along with him. And setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple — That is, one of the battlements, for it is not to be supposed that our Lord stood on the point of a spire. The roof of the temple, like that of their houses, was flat, and had a kind of balustrade round it, to prevent people falling off, and somewhere on the edge of this we may suppose that Satan placed Christ, in his attacking him with this temptation. This, in some parts of it, and particularly over the porch, was so exceedingly high that one could hardly bear to look down from it. And saith, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down — Thereby to show to all the people about the temple, that thou art indeed the Son of God; which they will fully believe when they shall see thee fly without falling, or fall without being hurt. As in the former assault, Satan tempted Christ to distrust the care of divine providence, so he now tries to persuade him to presume upon it, and to expose himself to danger unnecessarily; nay, in effect, to take the direct course to destroy himself, and try whether God would preserve him as his Son. For it is written, &c. — In the former temptation the devil did not quote Scripture, but having been repelled in that assault by the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, he here takes up the same weapon. He shall give his angels charge concerning thee — As if he had said, Since thou trustest so much in providence as to expect to be sustained by it, even without food, now throw thyself down, to give more undoubted evidence of thy dependance upon it: and, as the miracle will be a full proof that thou art the Son of God, and will undeniably convince the people of it, so thou canst have no room to doubt of thy safety, the Scripture having declared that his angels shall take care of thee. Jerome, and many after him, have well observed here, that though Satan quotes Scripture, he does it falsely. He artfully leaves out the words, In all thy ways. To throw himself down, and fly through the air, was none of our Lord’s ways. He had no call, no warrant, from God, to decline the stairs by which he might go down from the top of the temple, and precipitate himself from the battlements thereof. God had never granted, nor even promised to any, the protection of angels in sinful and forbidden ways; nor adjudged that his special providence should watch over and preserve them, who should voluntarily throw themselves into dangers which they might lawfully avoid. Add to this, that Satan seems to mock our Saviour’s true use of Scripture by this abuse of applying it, not to instruct but to deceive, separating the protection of God’s providence from man’s duty, and extending the promise of the former to those who neglected the latter; and putting God upon working a miracle, to declare that which he had already made sufficiently evident. We learn from our Lord’s example here, that it is never right to expose ourselves to unnecessary danger in expectation of an extraordinary deliverance. And we learn, too, that it is not only necessary that we should take the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and make ourselves familiarly acquainted with it, that we may be furnished for the combat with the prince of darkness, but that we should enter into the design and meaning of it, in order that, if Satan attempt to draw his artillery from thence, we may be able to guard against that most dangerous stratagem, and to answer perverted passages of Holy Writ by others more justly applicable. Jesus said, It is written again — Viz., Deuteronomy 6:16, to prevent the ungrateful abuse of such promises as these, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God — By demanding further evidence of what is already made sufficiently plain, as my being the Son of God is, by the miraculous and glorious testimony he has so lately given me. I shall not, therefore, require any more signs to prove it, nor express any doubt of God’s power or goodness toward me; nor shall I act as the Israelites did, when they said, Exodus 17:7, Is the Lord among us or not? when he had given them ample proof that he was present with them, and had taken, and would take care of them, and provide for them. It is to be observed that the above precept, respecting tempting God, does not forbid too much, but too little confidence in God, and the calling in question his presence with, and care over his people. But in the general, to make an undue and unwarrantable trial of God, is to tempt him, whether the trial respect his power or goodness. See Numbers 14:22; Psalm 78:18; Isaiah 7:12; Matthew 16:1.4:1-11 Concerning Christ's temptation, observe, that directly after he was declared to be the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world, he was tempted; great privileges, and special tokens of Divine favour, will not secure any from being tempted. But if the Holy Spirit witness to our being adopted as children of God, that will answer all the suggestions of the evil spirit. Christ was directed to the combat. If we presume upon our own strength, and tempt the devil to tempt us, we provoke God to leave us to ourselves. Others are tempted, when drawn aside of their own lust, and enticed, Jas 1:14; but our Lord Jesus had no corrupt nature, therefore he was tempted only by the devil. In the temptation of Christ it appears that our enemy is subtle, spiteful, and very daring; but he can be resisted. It is a comfort to us that Christ suffered, being tempted; for thus it appears that our temptations, if not yielded to, are not sins, they are afflictions only. Satan aimed in all his temptations, to bring Christ to sin against God. 1. He tempted him to despair of his Father's goodness, and to distrust his Father's care concerning him. It is one of the wiles of Satan to take advantage of our outward condition; and those who are brought into straits have need to double their guard. Christ answered all the temptations of Satan with It is written; to set us an example, he appealed to what was written in the Scriptures. This method we must take, when at any time we are tempted to sin. Let us learn not to take any wrong courses for our supply, when our wants are ever so pressing: in some way or other the Lord will provide. 2. Satan tempted Christ to presume upon his Father's power and protection, in a point of safety. Nor are any extremes more dangerous than despair and presumption, especially in the affairs of our souls. Satan has no objection to holy places as the scene of his assaults. Let us not, in any place, be off our watch. The holy city is the place, where he does, with the greatest advantage, tempt men to pride and presumption. All high places are slippery places; advancements in the world makes a man a mark for Satan to shoot his fiery darts at. Is Satan so well versed in Scripture as to be able to quote it readily? He is so. It is possible for a man to have his head full of Scripture notions, and his mouth full of Scripture expressions, while his heart is full of bitter enmity to God and to all goodness. Satan misquoted the words. If we go out of our way, out of the way of our duty, we forfeit the promise, and put ourselves out of God's protection. This passage, De 8:3, made against the tempter, therefore he left out part. This promise is firm and stands good. But shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? No. 3. Satan tempted Christ to idolatry with the offer of the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. The glory of the world is the most charming temptation to the unthinking and unwary; by that men are most easily imposed upon. Christ was tempted to worship Satan. He rejected the proposal with abhorrence. Get thee hence, Satan! Some temptations are openly wicked; and they are not merely to be opposed, but rejected at once. It is good to be quick and firm in resisting temptation. If we resist the devil he will flee from us. But the soul that deliberates is almost overcome. We find but few who can decidedly reject such baits as Satan offers; yet what is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Christ was succoured after the temptation, for his encouragement to go on in his undertaking, and for our encouragement to trust in him; for as he knew, by experience, what it was to suffer, being tempted, so he knew what it was to be succoured, being tempted; therefore we may expect, not only that he will feel for his tempted people, but that he will come to them with seasonable relief.Then the devil taketh him up - This does not mean that he bore him through the air; or that he compelled him to go against his will, or that he performed a miracle in any way to place him there. There is no evidence that Satan had power to do any of these things, and the word translated taketh him Up does not imply any such thing. It means to conduct one; to lead one; to attend or accompany one; or to induce one to go. It is used in the following places in the same sense: Numbers 23:14; "And he (Balak) brought him (Balaam) into the field of Zophim," etc. That is, he led him, or induced him to go there. Matthew 17:1; "and after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James," etc.; that is, led or conducted them - not by any means implying that he bore them by force. Matthew 20:17; "Jesus, going to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart," etc. See also Matthew 26:37; Matthew 27:27; Mark 5:40. From these passages, and many more, it appears that all that 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, called holy because the temple was there, and because it was the place of religious solemnities.

Setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple - It is not perfectly certain to what part of the temple the sacred writer here refers. It has been supposed by some that he means the roof. But Josephus says that the roof was covered by spikes of gold, to prevent its being polluted by birds; and such a place would have been very inconvenient to stand upon. Others suppose that it was the top of the porch or entrance to the temple. But it is more than probable that the porch leading to the temple was not as high as the main building. It is more probable that he refers to that part of the sacred edifice which was 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 the notes at Matthew 21:12. To secure a level spot sufficiently large, it was necessary to put up a high wall on the east. The temple was surrounded with porches or piazzas 50 feet broad and 75 feet high. The porch on the south side was, however, 67 feet broad and 150 high. From the top of this to the bottom of the valley below was more than 700 feet, and Josephus says that one could scarcely look down without dizziness. The word "pinnacle" does not quite express the force of the original. It is a word given usually to birds, and denotes wings, or anything in the form of wings, and was given to the roof of this porch because it resembled a bird dropping its wings. It was on this place, doubtless, that Christ was placed.

5. Then the devil taketh him up—rather, "conducteth Him."

into the holy city—so called (as in Isa 48:2; Ne 11:1) from its being "the city of the Great King," the seat of the temple, the metropolis of all Jewish worship.

and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple—rather, "the pinnacle"—a certain well-known projection. Whether this refers to the highest summit of the temple, which bristled with golden spikes [Josephus, Antiquities, 5.5,6]; or whether it refers to another peak, on Herod's royal portico, overhanging the ravine of Kedron, at the valley of Hinnom—an immense tower built on the very edge of this precipice, from the top of which dizzy height Josephus says one could not look to the bottom [Antiquities, 15.11,5]—is not certain; but the latter is probably meant.

By the holy city is meant Jerusalem, once a holy city, Daniel 9:24; now, though a most impure and filthy city upon many accounts, yet, upon other accounts still a holy city, being the only city in the world which had then in it the true worship of the true God, and in which God doubtless, who in Ahab’s time had seven thousand in Israel, had many holy people. How the devil took Christ into the holy city is variously argued and judged; the words used in the Greek are such as would incline us to think he was not carried by force, but followed the tempter willingly, and set upon a place on the top of the temple, higher than the other parts of it. The end of his being set there the next verse tells us. Then the devil taketh him up,.... This was done, not in a visionary way, but really and truly: Satan, by divine permission, and with the consent of Christ, which shows his great humiliation and condescension, had power over his body, to move it from place to place; in some such like manner as the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, Acts 8:39 he took him up, raised him above ground, and carried him through the air, "into, the holy city": this was Jerusalem; for Luke expressly says,

he brought him to Jerusalem, Luke 4:9 called so, because of the presence, worship, and service of God, which had been in it, though then in a great measure gone; and according to the common notions of the Jews, who say (b) Jerusalem was more holy than any other cities in the land, and that because of the Shekinah. The inscription on one side of their shekels was , "Jerusalem, the holy city" (c). Satan frequents all sorts of places; men are no where free from his temptations; Christ himself was not in the holy city, no nor in the holy temple; hither also he had him,

and setteth him upon a pinnacle, or "wing of the temple". In this place (d) the Jews set James, the brother of Christ, and from it cast him down headlong: this was the "the summit", or "top" of it; and intends either the roof encompassed with battlements, to keep persons from falling off; or the top of the porch before the temple, which was 120 cubits high; or the top of the royal gallery, built by Herod, which was of such an height, that if a man looked down from it, he soon became dizzy (e). The view Satan had in setting him here appears in the next verse.

(b) Bemidbar Rabba, fol. 183. 4. & Maimon. Hilch. Beth. Habechirah, c. 7. sect. 14. & 6. 16. (c) Waserus de Antiq. Numm. Heb. l. 2. c. 5. (d) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 23. (e) Joseph. Antiq. Jud. l. 15. c. 14.

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a {b} pinnacle of the temple,

(b) The battlement which encompassed the flat roof of the Temple so that no man might fall down: as was appointed by the law; De 22:8.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 4:5. Παραλαμβ] he takes Him with him, 1Ma 3:37; 1Ma 4:1, and frequently in Greek writers.

τὴν ἁγίαν πόλιν] עִיר הַקֹּרֶשׁ, Isaiah 48:2; Isaiah 52:1; Nehemiah 11:1. Jerusalem, the city of God, on account of the national temple, Matthew 5:35, Matthew 27:53; Luke 4:9; Sir 36:13; Sir 49:6; Josephus, Antt. iv. 4. 4; Lightfoot, Hor. p. 43; Ottii Spicileg. p. 9. Even at the present day it is called by the Arabs: the place of the Sanctuary, or the Holy City [El Kuds]. Hamelsveld, biol. Geogr. I. p. 204 ff.; Rosenmüller, Morgenl. in loc. The designation has something solemn in contrast to the devil.

ἵστησιν] not “auctor erat, ut Christus (with him) illuc se conferret” (Kuinoel, Fritzsche), but: he places Him, which implies the involuntary nature of the act on the part of Jesus, and the power on the part of the devil. Comp. Euseb. H. E. ii. 23 : ἔστησαντὸν Ἰάκωβον ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ναοῦ. A more precise determination of what is certainly a miraculous occurrence (conceived of by Jerome as a carrying away through the air) is not given in the text, which, however, does not permit us to think of it as something internal taking. place in the condition of a trance (Olshausen). Comp. Acts 8:38.

τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ] the little wing of the temple[389] is sought for by many on the temple building itself, so that it is either its battlement (Luther, Beza, Grotius), that is, the parapet surrounding the roof, or the ridge (Fritzsche, Winer), or the gable, pediment (Vulgate: pinnaculum; Paulus, Bleek), the two latter from their wing shape (Λ), or roof generally (Keim, and older expositors. See especially Krebs on the passage), that is indicated. But, apart from this, that the roofing of the temple house, according to Josephus, Antt. v. 5. 6, vi. 5. 1, was furnished on the top with pointed stakes as a protection against birds, and, moreover, on account of the extreme sacredness of the place, would hardly he selected by tradition as the spot where the devil stationed himself, the τοῦ ἱεροῦ is opposed to it, which does not, like ΝΑΌς, designate the main building of the temple, properly speaking, but the whole area of the temple with its buildings. See Tittmann, Synon. p. 178 f. The view, therefore, of those is to be preferred who, with Euth. Zigabenus, Olearins, Reland, Valckenaer, seek the πτερύγιον in an outbuilding of the temple area; where, however, it is again doubtful whether Solomon’s portico or the στοὰ βασιλική, the former (Josephus, Antt. xx. 9. 7) on the east side, the latter (Josephus, Antt. xv. 11. 5) on the south, both standing on an abrupt precipice, is intended. Wetstein and Michaelis prefer the former; Kuinoel, Bretschneider, B. Crusius, Arnoldi, the latter. In favour of the latter is the description of the giddy look down from this portico given in Josephus: εἴ τις ἀπʼ ἄκρου τοῦ ταύτης τέγους ἄμφω συντιθεὶς τὰ βάθη διοπτεύει, σκοτοδινιᾶν, οὐκ ἐξικνουμένης τῆς ὄψεως εἰς ἀμέτρητον τὸν βυθόν. In Hegesippus, quoted by Eus. ii. 23 (where James preaches downwards from the ΠΤΕΡΎΓΙΟΝ ΤΟῦ ΝΑΟῦ, and the scribes then go up and throw him down), it is not the gable, but the pinnacle, the balustrade of the temple building, which formed a projection (ἀκρωτήριον), that we are to think of. Comp. Hesychius: ΠΤΕΡΎΓΙΟΝ· ἈΚΡΩΤΉΡΙΟΝ. The article denotes that the locality where the occurrence took place was well known.

[389] Amongst the Greeks (Strabo, Plutarch, the Scholiasts), πτερόν, wing, is specially used in an architectural sense. See the Lexica, also Müller, Archäol. § 220. 3. On πτέρυξ in this sense, comp. Poll. vii. 121; on πτερύγιον, Joseph. Antt. xv. 11. 5; on πτέρωμα, Vitruv. iii. 3. 9.

REMARK.

The second temptation in Matthew is the third in Luke. The transposition was made with a view to the order in which the localities succeeded each other. But in a climactic point of view, how inappropriate is the order in which it occurs in Luke, and how appropriate is that in Matthew,[390] whose greater originality must here also be maintained against Schnecken burger and Krafft. The variation itself, however, is not removed by the circumstance that Matthew only continues the narrative with τότε and ΠΆΛΙΝ (Ebrard), but it remains and is unessential.

[390] Luther: At the first temptation, the devil appeared as a black one; at the second, where he puts forth a word of Scripture, a light, white one; at the third, “quite as a divinely majestic devil, who comes out straightway, indeed, as if he were God Himself.”Matthew 4:5-7. Second temptation. τστε παραλαμ.… τοῦ ἱεροῦ: τότε has the force of “next,” and implies a closer order of sequence than Luke’s καὶ (Matthew 4:5). παραλαμβάνει, historical present with dramatic effect; seizes hold of Him and carries Him to.—τὴν ἁγίαν πόλιν: Jerusalem so named as if with affection (vide Matthew 5:35 and especially Matthew 27:53, where the designation recurs). τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ: some part of the temple bearing the name of “the winglet,” and overhanging a precipice. Commentators busy themselves discussing what precisely and where it was.5. taketh him up] The situation of Jerusalem is remarkably high. It was probably the loftiest capital in the ancient world.

the holy city] Jerusalem is so designated by St Matthew alone.

a pinnacle] strictly the pinnacle—pinnacle, lit. ‘a little wing,’ an architectural term for a wing-like projection. The particular pinnacle was probably on the roof of one of the Temple Porches overlooking the deep valley of the Kedron or of Hinnom. Josephus speaking of the “Royal Porch” says “if anyone looked down from the top of the battlements he would be giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth.” Antiq. xv. 11. 5.Matthew 4:5. Τότε, then) St Matthew describes the attempts of Satan in the order of time in which they were made; see Gnomon on Matthew 4:8; Matthew 4:10 : St Luke observes a gradation in the places, and mentions successively (Luke 4:1; Luke 4:5; Luke 4:9) the desert, the mountain, the temple; which change of order, not only harmless but beneficial, is a proof that the one evangelist did not copy from the other. Perhaps, also, the tempter assailed our Lord with something of the third temptation before the second, and appeared in various disguises.—παραλαμβάνει, taketh along with him[138]) An abbreviated mode of expression[139] for he takes and leads. The same word is used with the same force, in Luke 4:8. St Luke, Luke 4:9; Luke 4:5, uses the words ἤγαγεν, led [Him],—ἀναγαγὼν, leading [Him] up. A marvellous power was granted to the tempter, until our Lord says to him, in Matthew 4:10, “Depart.” “It is not to be wondered at,” says Gregory, “that Christ should permit Himself to be led about by the Devil, since He permitted Himself to be crucified by the Devil’s members.” Satan tempts everywhere.—Cf. on the change of place, Numbers 23:13; Numbers 23:27. Christ was tempted everywhere, in all places where afterwards He was to exercise His office.—εἰς τὴν ἁγίαν πόλιν, into the holy city) where an angelic guard might have seemed especially to be expected.—ἐπὶ upon) Our Lord was as truly on the pinnacle, and on the mountain, as He was in the desert.—πτερύγιον, pinnacle) to which the ascent was far more easy than the descent from it. What this pinnacle was, antiquarians doubt.[140] Christ was tempted by height and depth.

[138] See Blomfield in loc.—(I. B.)

[139] See Appendix on Concisa Oratio.—Ed.

[140] τὸ πτερύγιον. The article τὸ indicates something single of its kind; and, therefore, πτερύγιον cannot mean a porticus or corridor; nor would there be any special eminence in πτερύγιον so understood. It rather signifies the apex of the fastigium, ἀέτωμα, or tympanum of the Temple. Cf. the use of the word (τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ιερου), also τοῦ ναοῦ, by Hegesippus (in Euseb. ii. 23, and Routh, R. S. i. 210, 339), in his account of the martyrdom of St James. There, also, it is evidently a pointed eminence; and it would seem that a person there standing, would be visible and audible to a large concourse of people, such as we may suppose collected in the court of the Israelites.”—Wordsworth in loc. “The general opinion, that our Lord was placed on Herod’s royal portico, described Jos. Ant. xv. 11, 5, is probably right. That portico overhung the ravine of Kedron from a dizzy height.”—Alford in loc. Various other suppositions have been speciously supported and illustrated.—(I. B.)Verse 5. - Then the devil taketh him up. Revised Version omits "up." Matthew (παραλαμβάνει, here and ver. 8) lays stress on the companionship, and, in a sense, compulsion; Luke (ἤγαγεν, ver. 9; ἀναγαγὼν, ver. 5), on guidance and locality. Into the holy city (Luke, "into Jerusalem"). From Isaiah 52:1, the end of which verse, "There shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean," heightens the implied contrast of the devil's presence there. (For the expression, cf. also Matthew 27:53; Revelation 11:2; Revelation 21:2, 10; also Hebrews 11, 12.) The name has remained down to the present day (El-Kuds). And setteth; and he set (Revised Version, with manuscripts). The right reading (ἔστησεν, as in Luke) is probably a trace of the basis common to the two records. Possibly, however, it may here be a merely accidental similarity with Luke (who employs the aorist throughout the section), caused by Matthew's desire to emphasize the momentariness of the devil's act. Some think that, as at the end of the temptation Christ is in the wilderness, this removal to Jerusalem is solely mental, without any motion of his body. Improbable; for to make such a temptation real, our Lord's mind must have suffered complete illusion. He must have thought that he was "on the pinnacle." On a (the, Revised Version) pinnacle of the temple (ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ) . What is exactly meant by this definite and evidently well-known term is not easy now to determine. "Some understand this of the top or apex of the sanctuary (τοῦ ναοῦ) [cf. Hegesippus, in Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.,' 2:23:11, 12 (Heinichen), where the Jews bid James stand, ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ, and it is afterwards said that they set him ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ναοῦ]; others of the top of Solomon's porch; and others of the top of the Royal Portico" (Thayer). Of this last Josephus ('Ant.,' 15:11. 5) makes special mention, saying, in his exaggerated style, that human sight could not reach from the top of it to the bottom of the ravine on whose edge it stood. Edersheim ('Life,' etc., 1:303) thinks that possibly the term means "the extreme corner of the 'wing-like' porch, or ulam, which led into the Sanctuary." This last would suit a possible interpretation of Daniel 9:27, as referring to a part of the temple under the name of "the pinnacle," which had been used for heathen sacrifices, probably in the worship of the sun. Cf. Revised Version margin there, with the ἐπὶ τὸ ἱερόν of Theodotion's version, and also the LXX. itself (vide Field's 'Hexapla'). Taketh (παραλαμβάνει)

The preposition παρά (with, by the side of), implies taketh along with himself, or conducteth. It is the same word which all three evangelists use of our Lord's taking his chosen apostles to the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1; Mark 9:9; Luke 9:28).

The holy city

Matthew alone calls Jerusalem by this name, in accordance with the general intent of his gospel to connect the old economy with the new.

Pinnacle of the temple (τὸ πτερέγιον τοῦἱροῦ)

Pinnacle, from the Latin pinnaculum, a diminutive of pinna or penna (a wing), is a literal translation of πτερύγιον, which is also a diminutive (a little wing or winglet). Nothing in the word compels us to infer that Christ was placed on the top of a tower or spire, which is the popular meaning of pinnacle. The word may be used in the familiar English sense of the wing of a building. Herod's temple had two wings, the northern and southern, of which the southern was the higher and grander; that being the direction in which the chief enlargement of the temple area made by Herod was practicable. That enlargement, according to Josephus, was effected by building up walls of solid masonry from the valley below. At the extremity of the southern side of the area, was erected the "royal portico," a magnificent colonnade, consisting of a nave and two aisles, running across the entire space from the eastern to the western wall. Josephus further says, that "while the valley of itself was very deep, and its bottom could scarcely be seen when one looked down from above, the additional vastly high elevation of the portico was placed on that height, insomuch that, if any one looked down from the summit of the roof, combining the two altitudes in one stretch of vision, he would be giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth." This, in comparison with the northern wing, was so emphatically the wing of the temple as to explain the use of the article here, as a well-known locality. The scene of the temptation may have been (for the whole matter is mainly one of conjecture) the roof of this portico, at the southeastern angle, where it joined Solomon's Porch, and from which the view into the Kedron valley beneath was to the depth of four hundred and fifty feet.

The word temple (ἱερόν, lit., sacred place) signifies the whole compass of the sacred inclosure, with its porticos, courts, and other subordinate buildings; and should be carefully distinguished from the other word, ναός, also rendered temple, which means the temple itself - the "Holy Place" and the "Holy of Holies." When we read, for instance, of Christ teaching in the temple (ἱερόν)we must refer it to one of the temple-porches. So it is from the ἰερόν, the court of the Gentiles, that Christ expels the money-changers and cattle-merchants. In Matthew 27:51, it is the veil of the ναός which is rent; the veil separating the holy place from the holy of holies. In the account of Zacharias entering into the temple of the Lord to burn incense (Luke 1:9), the word is ναός, the holy place in which the altar of incense stood. The people were "without," in the fore-courts. In John 2:21, the temple of his body, ἱερόν, would be obviously inappropriate.

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