The second temptation (Mt 4:5-4:6)

“Then the devil took Jesus

To the holy city.

He placed him

On the pinnacle

Of the temple.

He said to him.

If you are the Son of God,

Throw yourself down.

It is written.

‘He will command his angels

Concerning you.’

And

‘On their hands,

They will bear you up,

So that you will not dash

Your foot

Against a stone.’”

 

Τότε παραλαμβάνει αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος εἰς τὴν ἁγίαν πόλιν, καὶ ἔστησεν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ,

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ, βάλε σεαυτὸν κάτω· γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι Τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ ἐντελεῖται περὶ σοῦ καὶ ἐπὶ χειρῶν ἀροῦσίν σε, μή ποτε προσκόψῃς πρὸς λίθον τὸν πόδα σου.

 

There is a difference between Matthew and Luke, chapter 4:5-11, since Luke has this temptation as the last temptation, not the second one. However, the wording is the same indicating a shared common source, perhaps Q. Interesting enough, the devil or the tempter cited Psalm 91:11-12, so that even the devil can quote scripture. This devil took Jesus to the holy city (Τότε παραλαμβάνει αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος εἰς τὴν ἁγίαν πόλιν), which was Jerusalem. The devil placed Jesus on the top of the Temple (καὶ ἔστησεν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ). Once again, the devil said that if Jesus was truly the Son of God (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ), he could throw himself down (βάλε σεαυτὸν κάτω). Then God’s angels would catch him (γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι Τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ). The devil, citing Psalm 91:11-12, said that God would command these angels to protect him (ἐντελεῖται περὶ σοῦ). They could catch him in their hands (καὶ ἐπὶ χειρῶν ἀροῦσίν σε), as if angels had hands. Thus, their feet would never touch a stone (καὶ ἐπὶ χειρῶν ἀροῦσίν σε). Yahweh, in this original psalm was going to send his angels to protect the good ones, so that they would never stub their feet on any stones.

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The response of Jesus (Mt 4:4-4:4)

“But Jesus answered.

‘It is written.

One does not live

By bread alone,

But by every word

That comes

From the mouth of God.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Γέγραπται Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος Θεοῦ.

 

Once again, Matthew and Luke, chapter 4:4 shared a common source, perhaps Q.  Jesus responded (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς) to the tempter by citing a written phrase (εἶπεν Γέγραπται) from Deuteronomy, chapter 8:3, about the fact that man does not live by bread alone (Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος,), but rather man lives by all the words that come from the mouth of God (ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος Θεοῦ.).  Actually, the Book of Deuteronomy was the most quoted book of the Torah in these New Testament writings.  In Deuteronomy, Yahweh had reminded the Israelites that they had been tested for 40 years with hunger.  Then came this saying about not living by bread alone, but by every word that came from the mouth of Yahweh.  The mouth of God was an anthropomorphism for Yahweh’s law.

 

The first temptation (Mt 4:3-4:3)

“The tempter came.

He said to Jesus.

‘If you are the Son of God,

Command these stones

To become loaves of bread.’”

 

καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ πειράζων εἶπεν αὐτῷ Εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ, εἰπὲ ἵνα οἱ λίθοι οὗτοι ἄρτοι γένωνται.

 

Once again, this the same as in Luke, chapter 4:3, as they continued with their common source, perhaps Q.  This devil, the tempter, came to Jesus (καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ πειράζων) after his 40 day and night fast.  Jesus was really hungry at this time.  Then this devil, or the tempting one as he is called here, taunted Jesus (εἶπεν αὐτῷ) by telling him that if he was truly the son of God (Εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ), he could just say the word and make these stones turn into loaves of bread (εἰπὲ ἵνα οἱ λίθοι οὗτοι ἄρτοι γένωνται).  Then Jesus could eat these loaves of bread and take away his hunger.  The terminology of the son of God had been used in the Hebrew scriptures, as it indicated a special relationship with God.

The chaff burns (Mt 3:12-3:12)

“His winnowing fork

Is in his hand.

He will clear

His threshing floors.

He will gather

His wheat

Into the barn granary.

But he will burn

The chaff

With an unquenchable fire.”

 

οὗ τὸ πτύον ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ διακαθαριεῖ τὴν ἅλωνα αὐτοῦ, καὶ συνάξει τὸν σῖτον αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν ἀποθήκην, τὸ δὲ ἄχυρον κατακαύσει πυρὶ ἀσβέστῳ.

 

Once again, there is a common source for John’s menacing saying between Luke, chapter 3:17, and Matthew, perhaps Q. God, the Lord of this farmer, has the winnowing fork in his hand (οὗ τὸ πτύον ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ). He was going to clear the threshing floors (καὶ διακαθαριεῖ τὴν ἅλωνα αὐτοῦ,). He was going to gather his wheat into his barn in the granary (καὶ συνάξει τὸν σῖτον αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν ἀποθήκην). The leftover chaff would be burned with an everlasting fire that could not be put out (καὶ συνάξει τὸν σῖτον αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν ἀποθήκην). This was a warning against the useless ones who would burn in an unstoppable fire.