The forty day fast (Lk 4:2-4:2)

“For forty days,

Jesus was tempted

By the devil.

He ate nothing

At all

During those days.

When these days

Were over,

He was very hungry.”

 

ἡμέρας τεσσεράκοντα πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου. Καὶ οὐκ ἔφαγεν οὐδὲν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις, καὶ συντελεσθεισῶν αὐτῶν ἐπείνασεν.

 

This text is like Matthew, chapter 4:2, almost word for word, indicating a common source, perhaps Q.  Luke said that Jesus was tempted (πειραζόμενος) for 40 days (ἡμέρας τεσσεράκοντα) by the devil (ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου).  During this time or in those days (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις), Jesus did not eat anything at all (Καὶ οὐκ ἔφαγεν οὐδὲν), since he was fasting.  When the 40 days were over or completed (καὶ συντελεσθεισῶν αὐτῶν), Jesus was really hungry or famished (ἐπείνασεν).  There was a symbolism in this fast of 40 days.  Luke did not mention 40 nights, like Matthew.  Fasting was a common Hebrew exercise, while 40 was the same number of years that the Israelites were in the wilderness during the Exodus.  Jesus was really hungry at the end of his 40 day fast.  The devil, the personification of evil, tempted Jesus.  Mark, chapter 1:13, has an abbreviated description of the temptations of Jesus compared to Matthew, and Luke.  All 3 synoptics agreed that Jesus was in the wilderness 40 symbolic days.  All agreed that Jesus was tempted by Satan or the devil, the adversary or the accuser.  This concept of the adversary showed the Persian influence on the Israelites after the exile.  The older devil concept was considered a fallen angel without all the powers of God, but nevertheless very strong.  Mark said that Jesus was with the wild beasts, but this remark was not found in the other longer detailed descriptions of Matthew and Luke.  Mark made it seem like the temptation was physical, like the fear of wild animals, as he then said that the good angels ministered to Jesus, waiting on him and taking caring for him.

The cry to Yahweh (Joel 1:19-1:20)

“To you!

O Yahweh!

I cry!

Fire has devoured

The pastures

Of the wilderness.

Flames have burned

All the trees

Of the field.

Even the wild animals

Cry to you.

Because the water streams

Are dried up.

Fire has devoured

The pastures

Of the wilderness.”

Joel cried out to Yahweh. He called the drought of this locust plague a fire. He repeated twice that this fire had devoured the pastures in the wilderness. The dry flames had burned the trees of the fields. The wild animals were also crying out to Yahweh. The streams of water had dried up. This was a desperate situation.

The terrible situation in the land (Hos 4:2-4:3)

“There is swearing.

There is lying.

There is murder.

There is stealing.

Adultery breaks out.

Bloodshed follows bloodshed.

Therefore,

The land mourns.

All who live in it

Languish.

The wild animals,

Together with

The birds of the air,

Even the fish of the sea,

Are perishing.”

Hosea explained how bad the situation was in Israel. First, the place was full of sin with swearing, lying, murder, and stealing. Adultery was all over the place, with bloodshed everywhere. Thus, the land and its people mourned. Everyone who lived there was languishing. The wild animals, the birds of the air, and even the fish of the sea were perishing or dying. Death was in the air.

The destruction of Gomer’s life (Hos 2:10-2:12)

“Now I will uncover

Her shame

In the sight

Of her lovers.

No one shall rescue her

Out of my hand.

I will put an end

To all her mirth,

Her festivals,

Her new moons,

Her sabbaths,

All her appointed festivals.

I will lay waste

Her vines

With her fig trees.

She said.

‘These are my pay.

My lovers

Have given me

These vines,

These fig trees.’

I will make them

A forest.

The wild animals

Shall devour them.”

Hosea was going to shame Gomer. He was going to uncover her nakedness in the sight of her lovers. Nudity was considered shameful, not glorified. No one would be able to save her from his hands. He was going to put an end to all her merry ways. Strangely enough, this included the various Israelite religious holidays, such as the festivals, the new moon observance, the Sabbath observance, as well as the other religious appointed festival days. Hosea was also going to destroy the vines and the trees that her lovers had given her as payment for her various sexual activities. Hosea was going to make them like a overgrown forest, so that the wild animals would devour and destroy them. Gomer was then a symbol of what was going to happen to Israel.

The king will lose his kingdom (Dan 4:24-4:25)

“‘This is the interpretation!

O king!

It is a decree

Of the Most High,

That has come upon

My lord!

The king!

You shall be driven away

From human society!

Your dwelling

Shall be with

The wild animals!

You shall be made

To eat grass

Like oxen!

You shall be bathed

With the dew

Of heaven!

Seven times

It shall pass

Over you,

Until you have learned

That the Most High

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdoms

Of mortals!

He gives it

To whom he will.’”

Daniel then gave his shocking interpretation of the watcher’s cry to the king. He said that this was a decree that came from the Most High God. The king, Daniel’s lord, would be driven away from human society. He was going to live with the wild animals. He was going to eat grass like oxen do. He would be washed in heavenly dew for 7 years, until he would come to recognize that the Most High God ruled over all the mortal kingdoms. God was able to give his kingdoms to whomever he wanted.

King Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold (Dan 2:37-2:38)

“You!

O king!

The king of kings!

The God of heaven

Has given you

The kingdom,

The power,

The might,

The glory.

He had given

Into your hands

Human beings,

Wherever they live,

The wild animals

Of the field,

The birds of the air.

He has you

As ruler

Over them all.

You are

The head of gold!”

Daniel then explained that the head of gold was none other than the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar himself, the king of kings. The God of heaven had given him his kingdom, power, might and glory. In flattering terms, Daniel pointed out that humans, wild animals, and birds all came under the king’s rule.

The safe and secure life (Ezek 34:28-34:29)

“They shall no more

Be plunder

For the nations.

The wild animals

Of the land

Shall not devour them.

They shall live

In safety.

No one

Shall make them

Afraid.

I will provide

For them

A splendid vegetation.

Thus,

They will no longer

Be consumed

With hunger

In the land.

They will no longer

Suffer the insults

Of the nations.”

Once they were back in their land, the Israelites would no longer become plunder for the various nations. The wild animals in the land would not devour them. They would live in safety, since no one would make them afraid. Yahweh was going to provide for them with splendid vegetation. They would never have to worry about hunger in their land. They would no longer suffer any insults from the various nations.