Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungry.…
I may reply —
I. The devil was — in the Bible sense — a "fool," I use the word "fool" — a Bible word — in its deepest and most awful meaning. It seems to me that it is not sufficiently kept in mind that sin had and has the same binding, stupefying effects on Satan that we see it have on bad men. Let a man persist in ungodliness, and see how his very eyes are put out, and how "foolish" he becomes. I should grant the devil's craft and cleverness, but not his common sense, much less wisdom; and he "cannot see afar off." There was pride in particular, to give the tempter a very lofty estimate of his own capacity. The tempter knew the effect which the lofty prize of sovereignty for which he had struck had upon his mind, and with his own self-estimate welded impenetrably by pride, he may have reasoned from himself to Christ in the prospect of that immense bribe of empire with which he was to "tempt"; while again, in retrospect, there was the great and very mournful fact, that not one "in the likeness of sinful flesh" assaulted by him, had stood immaculate, i.e., without yielding less or more. The Incarnation, by the very broadness of Him who was "to be tempted," presented many sides upon which hope of partial success might hang.
II. The devil had grounds to expect success, and motives of a commanding kind. I find in that curse the warrant, if I may so speak, of the temptation of the Lord Jesus. The promise gave power to the serpent to bruise the heel of the woman's seed.
(A. B. Grosart, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.