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 righteous shall prevail (Mal 4:2-4:3)

“‘But you who revere

My name,

The sun of righteousness,

Shall rise,

With healing in its wings.

You shall go out leaping

Like calves

From the stall.

You shall tread down

The wicked.

They will be ashes

Under the soles

Of your feet,

On the day

When I act.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh of hosts said that the righteous, on the other hand, who revered the name of Yahweh, would be like a rising sun with healing wings.  They would be like leaping calves coming out of their stalls.  They would walk all over the wicked, so that the wicked ones would become like ashes under their feet.  All of these things were going to take place on the day when Yahweh was going to act.

The rotten plague (Zech 14:12-14:12)

“This shall be the plague

With which Yahweh

Will strike all the people

That waged wars

Against Jerusalem.

Their flesh shall rot,

While they are still

On their feet.

Their eyes shall rot

In their sockets.

Their tongues shall rot

In their mouths.”

Yahweh was going to send a plague on everybody that had waged war on Jerusalem.  Their flesh would rot on their body as they were still standing on their feet.  Their eyes would rot in their sockets, while their tongues would rot in their mouths.  This was a rotten plague.

The ruah spirit comes to the bones (Ezek 37:9-37:10)

“Then Yahweh

Said to me.

‘Prophesy to the spirit!

Prophesy!

Son of man!

Say to the spirit!

Thus says Yahweh God!

Come!

From the four winds!

O spirit!

Breathe

Upon these slain ones

That they may live!’

I prophesied

As he commanded me.

The spirit

Came into them,

They lived.

They stood

On their feet,

A vast multitude.”

Yahweh told Ezekiel to prophesize to the spirit. He was to tell the spirit, ruah, to come from the four winds, ruah, and breathe, ruah, on these dead fleshy dry bones. Thus, they might live. Ezekiel, as usual, did what Yahweh had asked him to do. Then the Spirit of Yahweh, ruah, came to these dried-out bones. All these dead bones got a new life. This great multitude of former dry bones stood on their feet. Mission accomplished.

Some sheep were ruining their food and drink (Ezek 34:18-34:19)

“Is it not enough

For you

To feed

On the good pasture?

Must you tread down

With your feet

The rest of your pasture?

When you drink

Of clear water,

Must you foul

The rest

With your feet?

Must my sheep eat

What you have trodden

With your feet?

Must they drink

What you have fouled

With your feet?”

Some of the sheep were messing up the food supply for the other sheep. They had these wonderful pastures with plenty of food and drink. However, some of these sheep were walking all over the place keeping the grass from growing. They were also walking in the water holes, so that they became polluted. Pollution has always been a problem. In other words, Yahweh, via Ezekiel was complaining that some sheep were messing up the good clean drinking water and the lush green pastures by stomping all over them. Among the sheep of Israel, some were causing problems by fouling things up. The emphasis on their feet was an indication that the actions of these bad Israelite sheep were making it difficult for the good Israelite sheep to sustain their lives with good food and pure water.

The stern response of Yahweh (Jer 14:10-14:10)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning this people.

‘Truly they have loved to wander.

They have not restrained their feet.

Therefore Yahweh does not accept them.

Now he will remember their iniquity.

He will punish their sins.’”

Yahweh gave an unambiguous response to this sinful confession of the people. He said that they loved to wander. They had not restrained their feet. Therefore, Yahweh was not going to accept them because he was going to remember their iniquities. He was going to punish them for their sins.

The threat of the imminent exile (Jer 13:15-13:17)

“Hear!

Give ear!

Do not be haughty!

Yahweh has spoken.

Give glory to Yahweh!

Your God!

Before he brings darkness.

Give glory to Yahweh!

Your God!

Before your feet stumble

On the mountains at twilight.

While you look for light

He turns it into gloom.

He makes it deep darkness.

But if you will not listen,

My soul will weep in secret

For your pride.

My eyes will weep bitterly.

Tears will run down my cheeks

Because Yahweh’s flock

Has been taken captive.”

Jeremiah talks about an imminent captivity. They seem to have one last chance to listen to the words of Yahweh and not be proud. They would have to give glory to Yahweh, their God. Otherwise their feet would stumble as if they were on a mountain at twilight. The light was soon going to turn to darkness and gloom. If they did not listen to God, then Jeremiah would weep in secret because of their pride. He would weep bitterly with tears running down his cheeks, because they were going to be taken into captivity.