And immediately the spirit drives him into the wilderness.…
This wilderness has been identified, by the voice of tradition, in the Greek and Latin Churches, as that wild and lonely region between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, called in modern geography, Quarantania. It is an extensive plateau, elevated to a considerable height above the plain of Jericho and the west bank of the Jordan; and hence the literal accuracy of the expression in St. Matthew, that Jesus was "led up" into the wilderness. Travellers have described it as a barren, sterile waste of painful whiteness, shut in on the west by a ridge of grey limestone hills, moulded into every conceivable shape; while on the east the view is closed by the gigantic wall of the Moab mountains, appearing very near at hand, but in reality a long way off, the deception being caused by the nature of the intervening ground, which possesses no marked features, no difference of colour on which to fix the eye for the purpose of forming an estimate of distance. Over this vast expanse of upland country there are signs of vegetation only in two or three places, where winter torrents have scooped out a channel for themselves, and stimulate year after year into brief existence narrow strips of verdure along their banks. The monotony of the landscape and the uniformity of its colouring are varied only when the glaring afternoon sun projects the shadows of the ghostly rocks across the plain, or, at rare intervals, when a snowy cloud, that seems as if born of the hills themselves, sails across the deep blue sky and casts down on the desolate scene the cool dark mantle of its shade. A more dreary and lonely scene it is impossible to imagine.
(H. Macmillan, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.