Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)An exceeding high mountain.—Here, if proof were wanted, we have evidence that all that passed in the Temptation was in the region of which the spirit, and not the senses, takes cognisance. No “specular mount” (I use Milton’s phrase) in the whole earth commands a survey of “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.” St. Luke’s addition “in a moment of time,” in one of those flashes of intuition which concentrate into a single act of consciousness the work of years, adds, if anything could add, to the certainty of this view. Milton’s well-known expansion of this part of the Temptation (Paradise Regained, Book III.), though too obviously the work of a scholar exulting in his scholarship, is yet worth studying as the first serious attempt to realise in part, at least, what must thus have been presented to our Lord’s mind.Matthew 4:8-9. Again the devil taketh him up — In what way is not said; into an exceeding high mountain — Probably one of the mountains in the wilderness, and from that eminence, partly by the advantage of the place, from which he might behold many magnificent buildings, rich fields, pleasant meadows, hills covered with wood and cattle, rivers rolling through the fertile valleys, and washing the cities as they passed along; and partly by an artful visionary representation, showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them — Whatsoever was gay, splendid, or glorious, either in respect of the honours, riches, or pleasures of the world; their great and opulent cities, sumptuous edifices, costly attire, equipage, pomp, and splendour; displaying to his view one of the finest prospects that the most pleasurable and triumphant scenes could furnish out; and all this, not one after another, but in a moment of time, that so they might amaze and affect him the more with their splendour, and on a sudden prevail upon him, which otherwise they would not have been so likely to do. And saith unto him — With the most egregious impudence, falsehood, and pride; All these things will I give thee — All this glory and power, and all these possessions, if thou wilt fall down and worship me — The devil now showed clearly who he was, and therefore Christ, in answering this suggestion, calls him by his proper name, Satan, which, though he undoubtedly knew him, he had not done before. We may learn from hence not to conclude we are utterly abandoned of God when we are assaulted with horrible temptations; Christ himself, we see, was tempted even to worship the devil: but in such cases let us, like Jesus, resolutely repel the temptation, rather than parley with it. Dr. Doddridge observes, that, if we suppose Satan, in these two last temptations, to have worn the form of an angel of light, it will make them both appear more plausible; “for thus he might pretend, in the former, to take charge of Christ in his fall, as one of his celestial guards; and in this latter to resign to him a province which God had committed to his administration and care.” And this, he thinks, may not be inconsistent “with supposing that he first appeared as a man, (it may be as a hungry traveller, who pretended to ask the miracle of turning stones into loaves for his own supply,) for angels, under the Old Testament, had often worn a human form.”Deuteronomy 34:1-3. This shows that there were mountains from which no small part of the land of Canaan could be seen; and we need not suppose that there was any miracle when they were shown to the Saviour.
All the kingdoms of the world - It is not probable that anything more is intended here than the kingdoms of Palestine, or of the land of Canaan, and those in the immediate vicinity. Judea was divided into three parts, and those parts were called kingdoms; and the sons of Herod, who presided over them, were called kings. 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 Romans 4:13, where it means the land of Judah; also Luke 2:1, and the note on the place.
an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them—Luke (Lu 4:5) adds the important clause, "in a moment of time"; a clause which seems to furnish a key to the true meaning. That a scene was presented to our Lord's natural eye seems plainly expressed. But to limit this to the most extensive scene which the natural eye could take in, is to give a sense to the expression, "all the kingdoms of the world," quite violent. It remains, then, to gather from the expression, "in a moment of time"—which manifestly is intended to intimate some supernatural operation—that it was permitted to the tempter to extend preternaturally for a moment our Lord's range of vision, and throw a "glory" or glitter over the scene of vision: a thing not inconsistent with the analogy of other scriptural statements regarding the permitted operations of the wicked one. In this case, the "exceeding height" of the "mountain" from which this sight was beheld would favor the effect to be produced.See Poole on "Matthew 4:9".
sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and glory of them. By "all the kingdoms of the world" are meant, not only the Roman empire, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, though that was, to he sure, the greatest in the world at that time; but all the kingdoms in the whole world, which subsisted in any form, whether within, or independent of the Roman empire; or whether greater or lesser: and by "the glory of them", is meant, the riches, pomp, power, and grandeur of them. Now the view which Satan gave Christ of all this, was not by a representation of them in a picture, or in a map, or in any geographical tables, as (h) some have thought; since to do this there was no need to take him up into a mountain, and that an exceeding high one; for this might have been done in a valley, as well as in a mountain: and yet it could not be a true and real sight of these things he gave him; for there is no mountain in the world, from whence can be beheld anyone kingdom, much less all the kingdoms of the world; and still less the riches, glory, pomp, and power of them: but this was a fictitious, delusive representation, which Satan was permitted to make; to cover which, and that it might be thought to be real, he took Christ into an high mountain; where he proposed an object externally to his sight, and internally to his imagination, which represented, in appearance, the whole world, and all its glory. Xiphilinus (i) reports of Severus, that he dreamed, he was had by a certain person, to a place where he could look all around him, and from thence he beheld , "all the earth, and also all the sea"; which was all in imagination. Satan thought to have imposed on Christ this way, but failed in his attempt. Luke says, this was done
in a moment of time, in the twinkling of an eye; as these two phrases are joined together, 1 Corinthians 15:52 or "in a point of time". The word used by Luke 4:5 sometimes signifies a mathematical point, which Zeno says (k) is the end of the line, and the least mark; to which the allusion may be here, and designs the smallest part of time that can be conceived of. Antoninus the emperor uses the word, as here, for a point of time; and says (l), that the time of human life, and the whole present time, is but a point. Would you know what a moment, or point of time is, according to the calculation of the Jewish doctors, take the account as follows; though in it they differ: a moment, say they (m), is the fifty six thousandth, elsewhere (n), the fifty eight thousandth, and in another place (o), the fifty three thousandth and eight hundredth and forty eighth, or, according to another account (p), eighty eighth part of an hour. If this could be thought to be a true and exact account of a moment, or point of time, it was a very short space of time indeed, in which the devil showed to Christ the kingdoms of this world, and their glory; but this is not more surprising than his vanity, pride, and impudence, in the following verse.
(g) Vid. Fabricii Bibliograph. Antiq. c. 5. p. 137. (h) Vid. Fabricium, ibid. & Grotium in loc. (i) Apud Fabricium, ib. (k) Vid. Laertium in Vit. Zenou. (l) De seipso, l. 2. c. 17. & l. 6. c. 36. (m) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 2. 4. (n) T. Bab Beracot. fol. 7. 1.((o) Avoda Zara, fol. 4. 1.((p) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 7. 1.Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 4:8 f. Πάσας … κόσμου] כָּל־מַמְּלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ, Ezra 1:2. Not a hyperbolical expression: amplissimum terrarum tractum, but actually all the kingdoms of the world, Luke 4:5. The devil could indeed regard only all heathen lands as his disposable possession (Luke 4:6; Lightfoot, p. 1088; Eisenmenger, entd. Judenth. II. p. 820 ff.); but even unto those remote heathen lands, and beyond, and far beyond the small country of Palestine, has the marvellous height of the mountain enabled the eye to look; the Holy Land, with the temple and the peculiar people of God, certainly belonged besides to the Son of God as a matter of course; therefore to explain it away as omnes Palaestinae regiones (Krebs, Loesner, Fischer, Gratz) is quite away from the point.
ἐὰν πες … μοι] If Thou wilt have cast Thyself down before me as Thy master, and thereby have manifested Thy homage (Matthew 2:2) to me. By the fulfilment of this demand the devil would have made Jesus unfaithful to Himself, and would have secured his own world-rule over Him. Where the mountain in question is to be sought for (according to Michaelis, it was Nebo; according to others, the Mount of Olives, Tabor, Moriah, Horeb) is, considering the miraculous nature of the scene (Luke 4:5 : ἐν στιγμῇ χρόνου), not even to be asked; just as little is δείκνυσιν to be rationalized as if it denoted not merely the actual pointing, but also the verbis demonstrare (Kuinoel, Glöckler); the δόξα αὐτῶν, moreover, is the external splendour of the kingdoms that lay before His eye.Matthew 4:8-10. Third temptation. εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν λίαν: a mountain high enough for the purpose. There is no such mountain in the world, not even in the highest ranges, “not to be sought for in terrestrial geography,” says De Wette. The vision of all the kingdoms and their glory was not physical.—τοῦ κόσμου. What world? Palestine merely, or all the world, Palestine excepted? or all the world, Palestine included? All these alternatives have been supported. The last is the most likely. The second harmonises with the ideas of contemporary Jews, who regarded the heathen world as distinct from the Holy Land, as belonging to the devil. The tempter points in the direction of a universal Messianic empire, and claims power to give effect to the dazzling prospect.8. an exceeding high mountain] It is idle to ask what this mountain was, or in what sense Jesus saw the kingdoms of the world. It is enough that the thought and the temptation of earthly despotism and glory were present to the mind of Jesus.Matthew 4:8. Πάλιν, again) This was the third and last conflict, as is evident from the expression “Depart,” Matthew 4:10.—ὄρος, a mountain) A new theatre of temptation.—δείκνυσιν, shows) To His eyes those things which the horizon enclosed: the rest, perhaps, by enumeration and indication. Satan is a subtle spirit.Verse 8. - Into an exceeding high mountain (εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν λίαν; cf. Ezekiel 40:2; Revelation 21:10). Not in Luke. While no material mountain would have enabled our Lord to see all the kingdoms, etc., with his bodily eyes, it is probable that the physical elevation and distance of landscape would psychologically help such a vision. The Quarantana, which "commands a noble prospect" (Soein's ' Baedeker,' p. 263), may have been the spot. In the case of Ezekiel it is expressly said that his being "brought into the land of Israel, and set upon a very high mountain," was only "in the visions of God." All the kingdoms of the world (τοῦ κόσμου; but Luke, τῆς ρἰκουμένης, i.e. of the whole world as occupied by man, cf. Bishop Westcott on Hebrews 2:5). Cyrus says (Ezra 1:2), "All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord, the God of heaven, given me." And the glory of them'; "i.e. their resources, wealth, the magnificence and greatness of their cities, their fertile lands, their thronging population" (Thayer); cf. Matthew 6:29; Revelation 21:24, 26. The kingdoms themselves and their outward show. Contrast the words of the seraphim, "The whole earth is full of his glory" (Isaiah 6:3). In Luke this expression does not occur at this point, but in the tempter's words. As it there comes more abruptly, that is perhaps the more original position. St. Luke adds, "In a moment of time."
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