Matthew 4:7
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
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(7) It is written again.—The words are, as already stated, from the chapter that contains one of the passages written on the phylacteries, that were probably used by our Lord Himself. As the words stand in Deuteronomy 6:16, their general meaning is specialised by an historical reference, “Ye shall not tempt the Lord thy God, as ye tempted Him in Massah.” In the history thus referred to, the sin of the people had been that they questioned the presence of God with them until they saw a supernatural proof of it. They asked, “Is Jehovah among us, or not?” and that question sprang from unbelief. To have demanded a like proof of His Father’s care now would have identified the Son of Man with a like spirit of distrust, and the history of that temptation was therefore a sufficient answer to this. Here, too, a light is thrown on the future teaching of the Christ. The lessons of the wilderness taught Him (the word may seem bold, but it is justified by Hebrews 5:8) to commit Himself absolutely to His Father’s will. We find almost an echo of what is recorded here in the words which tell us that He forbore to pray for the twelve legions of angels which the Father would have sent him (Matthew 26:53).

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.Jesus said unto him, It is written again - Again the Saviour replied to Satan by a text of Scripture - a passage which expressly forbade an act like this.

Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God - This is quoted literally from Deuteronomy 6:16. The meaning is, thou shalt not try him; or, thou shalt not, by throwing thyself into voluntary and 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 him 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. Thus, Satan, artfully using and perverting Scripture, was met and repelled by Scripture rightly applied.

7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again—(De 6:16), as if he should say, "True, it is so written, and on that promise I implicitly rely; but in using it there is another Scripture which must not be forgotten."

Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God—"Preservation in danger is divinely pledged: shall I then create danger, either to put the promised security skeptically to the proof, or wantonly to demand a display of it? That were 'to tempt the Lord my God,' which, being expressly forbidden, would forfeit the right to expect preservation."

This is written Deu 6:16. To make an undue and unwarrantable trial of God, is to tempt God, whether the trial respecteth his power or his goodness; thus the word is used, Numbers 14:22 Psalm 78:18 Isaiah 7:12 Matthew 16:1. By this answer Christ lets the devil know that he abused Scripture in his quotation of it; such as casting of himself down, when he had a plain way to go down by the stairs, would not have been an act of faith, but presumption; not a trusting God upon his word, but a tempting of God, expressly contrary to his command, Deu 6:16.

Jesus saith unto him, it is written again,.... Christ takes no notice of the false and wrong citation of scripture made by the devil, nor of any misapplication of it; but mildly replies, by opposing another passage of scripture to him, Deuteronomy 6:16

ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, thereby tacitly showing, that he had produced scripture to a very wrong purpose, since that could never contradict itself; and also, that for a person to neglect the ordinary means of safety, and to expect, that as God can, so he will, preserve without the use of such means, is a tempting him. The Hebrew word "tempt", as Manasseh ben (f) Israel observes, is always taken in an ill part, and is to be understood of such who would try the power, goodness, or will of God. And which, as it is not fitting it should be done by any man, so not by himself; and perhaps he hereby intimates too, that he himself was God; and therefore as it was not right in him to tempt God the Father, by taking such a step as Satan solicited him to; nor would it be right in any other; so it was iniquitous in the devil to tempt him who was God over all, blessed for ever.

(f) Conciliat. in Deut. Quaest. 3. p. 223.

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

(c) Literally, Thou shalt not go on still in tempting.

Matthew 4:7. Πάλιν] rursus, never signifies in the N. T., not even in 2 Corinthians 10:7, Galatians 5:3, 1 John 2:8, at quoque, e diverso, a meaning which it frequently has in classic writers (Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 485), as Erasmus, Er. Schmid, Schleusner, B. Crusius, have interpreted it; but here means, on the other hand, looking back to the γέγραπται of the devil in Matthew 4:6, and introducing another passage of Scripture as something which again has been written; comp. Matthew 5:33. Bengel well says: Scriptura per scripturam interpretanda et concilianda.

οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις] future, as in Matthew 1:21; the compound strengthens the meaning; comp. on 1 Corinthians 10:9.

The meaning is: “Do not let it be a question whether God will save thee from dangers on which thou hast entered uncalled.”

Flacius: Si habuisset expressum mandatum dei, non fuisset tentatio. Deuteronomy 6:16 (LXX.), comp. Exodus 17:2.

7. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God] Deuteronomy 6:16. The verse ends “as ye tempted him in Massah.” The reference to Massah (Numbers 20:7-12) shews the true meaning of the Saviour’s answer. Moses and Aaron displayed distrust in God when they tried to draw to themselves the glory of the miracle instead of “sanctifying the Lord.” Jesus will not glorify Himself in the eyes of the Jews by a conspicuous miracle. His work as the Son of Man is to glorify the Father’s name through obedience. Cp. John 12:28.

Matthew 4:7. Πάλιν γέγραπταί, it is written again) Although Satan retorted the phrase, “It is written,” Jesus does not suffer it to be forcibly taken from Him as something trite, but employs it three times. Scripture is to be interpreted and reconciled by Scripture.—οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις, κ.τ.λ.) thou shall not tempt, etc.—Thus the LXX. in Deuteronomy 6:16. According to the usage of those interpreters, ἐκπειράζειν is not a word of stronger signification than πειράζειν.—Jesus, however, means, “It is not Mine to provoke God by tempting Him.”—Κύριον, the Lord) This is put as a proper name.

Verse 7. - It is written again; i.e. in addition, not to our Lord's previous quotation (ver. 4), in which case we should expect to lind πάλιν in ver. 10, but to the devil's appeal to Scripture. Bengel, "Scriptura per Scripturam interpretanda et concilianda" (cf. Art. XX., "Neither may it [the Church] so expound one place of Scripture that it be repugnant to another"). Thou shalt not tempt (Deuteronomy 6:16, verbally from the LXX., and equivalent to the Hebrew, except that the Hebrew verb is in the plural). In Deuteronomy the sentence continues, "as ye tempted him in Massah;" i.e. ye shall not test the reality of his presence and the greatness of his power as ye did (Exodus 17:1-7) at Rephidim. The act proposed to our Lord would have been precisely parallel to that sin of old (cf. Judith's words to the people of Bethulia that, by fixing a limit of days for God to deliver them, they in reality tempted God [ἐπειράσατε τὸν Θεόν] Judith 8:12: cf. also Psalm 78:41). "In this refusal of Christ's are implicitly condemned all who run before they are sent, who thrust themselves into perils to which they are not called; all who would fain be reformers, but whom God has not raised up and equipped for the work of reformation; and who therefore for the most part bring themselves and their cause together to shame, dishonour, and defeat; with all those who presumptuously draw drafts on the faithfulness of God, which they have no scriptural warrant to justify them in believing that He will honour" (Trench, 'Studies,' p. 43). Matthew 4:7Again (πάλιν)

Emphatic, meaning on the other hand, with reference to Satan's it is written (Matthew 4:6); as if he had said, "the promise which you quote must be explained by another passage of scripture." Archbishop Trench aptly remarks, "In that 'It is written again of Christ, lies a great lesson, quite independent of that particular scripture which, on this occasion, he quotes, or of the use to which he turns it. There lies in it the secret of our safety and defence against all distorted use of isolated passages in holy scripture. Only as we enter into the unity of scripture, as it balances, completes, and explains itself, are we warned against error and delusion, excess or defect on this side or the other. Thus the retort, 'It is written again,' must be of continual application; for indeed what very often are heresies but one-sided, exaggerated truths, truths rent away indeed from the body and complex of the truth, without the balance of the counter-truth, which should have kept them in their due place, co-ordinated with other truths or subordinated to them; and so, because all such checks are wanting, not truth any more, but error?

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