And immediately the spirit drives him into the wilderness.…
Is this only one of those graphic touches which this vivid writer so often gives us? Was it a forcible way of describing a total absence of human sympathy? No doubt it served this purpose, but this was not all. When we recognise the correspondence between this and Adam's temptation, our thoughts fly at once to Paradise, and we remember that he too was with the wild beasts, and that God had given him dominion over them, and that during the brief duration of his innocence he must have exercised it unfearing and unfeared. And we fancy we can see in this short but pregnant sentence a hint that He who came to inaugurate an era of restoration, and bring back the times of man's innocence, was not unmindful of the lower creatures and their subjection to vanity. It was a promise of what should one day come to pass when broken harmonies should be restored, and the prediction in Job 5:23, receive its fulfilment. It matters little that we can point to no evidence of its accomplishment as yet, because with the Lord a thousand years are but as one day, and one day as a thousand years. There is no question that the hope was created, and that it laid hold upon the mind of the early Christians, in support of which we have the testimony of the Catacombs, where our Lord is so frequently represented in the character of Orpheus attracting wild animals of divers kinds by the sound of his lyre. The same was perpetuated by later legends, which made the surpassing goodness of St. Francis throw a spell of mysterious influence, not only over his fellow creatures, but over birds of the air and beasts of the field.
(H. M. Luckock, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.