Matthew 4:1-11

Matthew 4:1-11
Lent A14


1 Then JesusA was led up by the SpiritB into the wildernessC to be temptedD by the devil.E He fasted fortyF days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.G

Notes on verses 1-2

A “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
B “Spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
C “wilderness” = eremos. Properly, a place that is not settled or farmed, not populated. It could be a deserted area or a desert place. It could be seen as secluded, solitary, or lonesome. Any kind of vegetation is sparse, but so are people generally.
D “tempted” = peirazo. From peira (trial, experiment, attempt, experience, assaying); from the base of peran (over, beyond, across); akin to pera (on the far side); from a derivative of peiro (to pierce). This is to test, try, tempt, or make proof of. It is to test, scrutinize, or assay something. It could also be examine, entice, prove, or discipline.
E “devil” = diabolos. From diaballo (laying a charge against someone, generally with hostility; literally, to thrust through or cast back and forth– used for slandering, accusing, or gossiping; whether or not the sentiment is true, it is spread with negative intention); {from dia (through, across, because of, thoroughly) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put drop)}. This is a properly a slanderer or someone who accuses falsely – criticizing unfairly with the intent to cause harm or damage character. This can also mean backbiter or malicious gossip. Also, the Slanderer, the Devil.
F “forty” = tessarakonta. From tessares (four). This is forty. Sometimes it has a symbolic sense as a full period of something.
G “famished” = peinao. From peina (hunger); related to penomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is to hunger, be needy, or desire earnestly. It can be being famished in a definitive sense or in comparison to someone or something else. Figuratively, this means to crave.

The tempterH cameI and said to him, “If you are the Son of God,J command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

4 But he answered, “It is written,

‘OneK does not live by bread alone,
    but by every wordL that comesM from the mouth of God.’”

Notes on verses 3-4

H “tempter” = peirazo. Same as “tempted” in v1.
I “came” = proserchomai. From pros (for, at, towards) + erchomai (to come, go). Literally, this is approach or draw near. Figuratively, it can mean to worship or to consent to.
J “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
K “one” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
L “word” = rhema. From rheo (to speak, command, make, say, speak of); from ereo  (to all, say, speak of, tell; denotes ongoing speech). This is word, which implies a matter or thing spoken, a command, report, promise, thing, or business. Often used for narration, commands, or disputes.
M “comes” = ekporeuomai. From ek (from, from out of) + poreuomai (to go, travel, journey; transportation something from one place to another; focuses on the personal meaning given to getting to the destination); {from poros (passageway, ford)}. This is to go forth, proceed from, be spoken, project. This is going out from with a focus on the outcome of the process or passage – the influence it makes.

Then the devil took him to the holyN cityO and placed him on the pinnacleP of the temple,Q 

Notes on verse 5

N “holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
O “city” = polis. This is a city or its inhabitants. It is a town of variable size, but one that has walls. This is where “metropolis” and “police” come from.
P “pinnacle” = pterugion. 2x in NT – in Matthew’s and Luke’s temptation stories. Perhaps from pterux (wing, pinion); from pteron (feather, bird’s wing); from petomai (to fly). This is a little wing, so it includes things that are wing-like: battlement, extremity, apex, parapet, top corner, etc.
Q “temple” = hieron. From hieros (sacred, something sacred, temple, holy, set apart; something consecrated to a god). This is the word for temple.

saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,

‘He will commandR his angelsS concerning you,’
    and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dashT your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the LordU your God to the test.’” V

Notes on verses 6-7

R “command” = entellomai. 15x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + tellomai (to accomplish); {related to telos (end, event, purpose, consummation)}. This is to charge or command – focuses on the final objective. So, this is looking at the final outcome of the command – how things will end up.
S “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove) [also from ago (lead, bring, carry, guide)]. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
T “dash” = proskopto. 8x in NT. From pros (towards, at, to, with) + kopto (to cut off, strike, cut; to beat the chest or head as an act of mourning). This is to strike, stumble, take offense at, or surge against as water does. It is to trip up in a literal or figurative sense.
U “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
V “put…to the test” = ekpeirazo. Related to “tempted” in v1. 4x in NT – 2x in Matthew’s and Luke’s temptation stories, 1x in the parable of the Good Samaritan when the lawyer tests Jesus (Lk 10:25), and 1x in 1 Corinthians 10:9 “nor let us tempt the Christ.” From ek (from, from out of) + peirazo (see note D above). This is testing or tempting thoroughly, to make a trial of.

Again, the devil took him to a very highW mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the worldX and their splendor;Y and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worshipZ me.” 

Notes on verses 8-9

W “high” = hupselos. 12x in NT – in Matthew’s and Luke’s Temptation story as well as Matthew and Mark’s Transfiguration accounts. From hupsos (height, high position, heaven, dignity, eminence; elevation, altitude; to be exalted); from hupsi (on high, aloft); from huper (over, above, beyond). This is high, lofty, or exalted. It can be lofty in elevation or in character.
X “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is were “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.
Y “splendor” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
Z “worship” = proskuneo. From pros (advantageous for, at, to, toward, with) + kuneo (to kiss) [may be related to kuno (dog)]. This is to do reverence, kneel, to prostrate oneself in homage, to worship.

10 Jesus said to him, “AwayAA with you, Satan!BB for it is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,
    and serveCC only him.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and suddenlyDD angels came and waited onEE him.

Notes on verses 10-11

AA “away” = hupago. From hupo (by, under, under authority) + ago (lead, bring, carry). This is leading away based on one’s authority, mission, or purpose.
BB “Satan” = satanas. From Hebrew satan (adversary, Satan); from satan (to be an adversary, attack, accuse, resist). This is Satan, the adversary, or an adversary.
CC “serve” = latreuo. From latris (a hired servant; someone who is qualified to perform a technical task). Properly, this is giving good, technical service because qualified or equipped to do so. It can be serve, minister, worship, or give homage.
DD “suddenly” = idou. From eido (to be away, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
EE “waited on” = diakoneo. From diakonos (servant, minister, waiter, or attendant; a person who performs a service, including religious service); perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight)}. This is to wait at table, to serve generally, to minister or administer, to be in the office of deacon. To wait on someone as a slave, friend, or host.

Image Credit: “Temptations of Christ” – Mosaic in the Basilica of San Marco, 12th century.

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