The temptation of Jesus.

Matthew 4.1-11 = Mark 1.12-13 = Luke 4.1-13.

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Notes and quotes.

§ I note the following agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark:

  1. Matthew 4.1 and Luke 4.1 name Jesus (Ιησους) as the subject, while in Mark 1.12 the pronoun αυτον (him) represents Jesus, and is the direct object.
  2. Matthew 4.1 and Luke 4.1 say that Jesus was led (using different passive forms of αγω, to lead) out to the desert by the spirit (Matthew, υπο του πνευματος; Luke, εν τω πνευματι), while Mark 1.12 says that he is cast out (εκβαλλει, an historic present) into the desert by the spirit.
  3. Matthew 4.1 and Luke 4.2 state that Jesus was tempted by the devil (υπο του διαβολου), while Mark 1.13 states that he was tempted by Satan (υπο του Σατανα).
  4. Mark 1.12-13 has no mention of fasting or food. Matthew 4.2 says that Jesus fasted (νηστευσας), then got hungry (επεινασεν). Luke 4.2 likewise says that Jesus did not eat anything (ουκ εφαγεν ουδεν), then got hungry (επεινασεν).
  5. Mark 1.12-13 does not record any actual temptations. Matthew 2-11a and Luke 4.2b-13, however, record three temptations each, though in a different order (if the order is 1-2-3 in Matthew, it is 1-3-2 in Luke). This agreement makes it onto my list of major agreements.
  6. Matthew 4.11 indicates that the devil left Jesus (αφιησιν αυτον ο διαβολος). Luke 4.13 indicates that the devil departed from Jesus (ο διαβολος απεστη απ αυτου). Mark 1.12-13 lacks such a notice.

§ Mark 1.12 uses the historic present εκβαλλει (is cast out) where Matthew 4.1 has the aorist ανηχθη (was led up) and Luke 4.1 has the imperfect ηγετο (was being led). Matthew has a string of historic presents unparalleled in the other two in this passage. There are παραλαμβανει (takes along) in 4.5, λεγει (says) in 4.6, and both παραλαμβανει and δεικνυσιν (shows) in 4.8

§ The phrase υπαγε οπισω μου, Σατανα (get behind me, Satan) in Matthew 4.10 is a repeated and transposed formula, being found also in Matthew 16.23 = Mark 8.33.

§ Probably related to the whisking away of Jesus to a high mountain in Matthew 4.8 is the statement in the gospel according to the Hebrews about Tabor. From Origen, On John 2.12, commentary on John 1.3:

Εαν δε προσιηται τις το καθ Εβραιους ευαγγελιον, ενθα αυτος ο σωτηρ φησιν· Αρτι ελαβε με η μητηρ μου, το αγιον πνευμα, εν μια των τριχων μου και απηνεγκε με εις το ορος το μεγα Θαβωρ, επαπορησει, πως μητηρ Χριστου το δια του λογου γεγενημενον πνευμα αγιον ειναι δυναται.

But if any should admit the gospel according to the Hebrews, where the savior himself says: Just now my mother, the holy spirit, took me by one of my hairs and carried me to Tabor, the great mountain, he will be confused as to how the holy spirit can be the mother of Christ, born through the word.

He cites the same line in On Jeremiah homily 15.4:

Ει δε τις παραδεχεται το, Αρτι ελαβε με η μητηρ μου, το αγιον πνευμα, και ανηνεγκε με εις το ορος το μεγα το Ταβωρ, και τα εξης....

And if any accepts the [statement]: Just now my mother, the holy spirit, took me by one of my hairs and carried me to Tabor, the great mountain, and what follows....

Jerome at least thrice refers to the same line. On Micah 2, commentary on Micah 7.6:

Sed qui legerit canticum canticorum et sponsum animae dei sermonum intellexerit, credideritque evangelio quod secundum Hebraeos editum nuper transtulimus, in quo ex persona salvatoris dicitur: Modo tulit me mater mea, sanctus spiritus, in uno capillorum meorum, non dubitabit dicere sermonem dei ortum esse de spiritu, et animam, quae sponsa sermonis est, habere socrum sanctum spiritum, qui apud Hebraeos genere dicitur feminino rua (רוח).

But he who reads the Song of Songs and understands the spouse of the soul to be the speech of God, and believes the gospel which we recently translated, that published as according to the Hebrews, in which from the person of the savior it is said: Just now my mother, the holy spirit, bore me by one of my hairs, [such a reader] will not doubt to say that the speech of God springs from the spirit, and that the soul, which is the spouse of the speech, has the holy spirit as a mother-in-law, which among the Hebrews is said by the female gender, rua (רוח).

On Isaiah 11, commentary on Isaiah 40.9:

Sed et in evangelio quod iuxta Hebraeos scriptum Nazaraei lectitant, dominus loquitur: Modo me tulit mater mea, spiritus sanctus.

But also in the gospel which the Nazoraeans read, written according to the Hebrews, the Lord says: Just now my mother, the holy spirit, bore me [away].

From his commentary on Ezekiel 16.13:

In evangelio quoque Hebraeorum, quod lectitant Nazaraei, salvator inducitur loquens: Modo me arripuit mater mea, spiritus sanctus.

In the gospel of the Hebrews also, which the Nazoraeans read, the savior is introduced saying: Just now my mother, the holy spirit, snatched me [away].

§ Marginal gloss at Matthew 4.5, miniscule 566, referring to the Judaic gospel:

Το Ιουδαικον ουκ εχει εις την αγιαν πολιν, αλλα εν Ιερουσαλημ.

The Judaic [gospel] does not have: ...into the holy city, but [rather]: Jerusalem.

§ Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 103.6a:

Και γαρ ουτος ο διαβολος αμα τω αναβηναι αυτον απο του ποταμου του Ιορδανου, της φωνης αυτω λεχθεισης· Υιος μου ει συ· εγω σημερον γεγεννηκα σε, εν τοις απομνημονευμασι των αποστολων γεγραπται προσελθων αυτω και πειραζων μεχρι του ειπεν αυτω· Προσκυνησον μοι, και αποκρινασθαι αυτω τον Χριστον· Υπαγε οπισω μου, Σατανα· κυριον τον θεον σου προσκυνησεις και αυτω μονω λατρευσεις.

For it is written in the memoirs of the apostles that this devil also, together at his going up away from the river Jordan, when the voice had said to him: You are my son. Today I have begotten you, came to him and tested him until he said to him: Worship me, and Christ answered him: Get behind me, Satan. You will worship the Lord your God, and him only will you serve.

From Dialogue with Trypho 125.4:

Οτε γαρ ανθρωπος γεγονεν, ως προειπον, προσηλθεν αυτω ο διαβολος, τουτεστιν η δυναμις εκεινη η και οφις κεκλημενη και Σατανα, περαζων αυτον και αγωνιζομενος καταβαλειν δια του αξιουν προσκυνεισαι αυτον. ο δε αυτον κατελυσε και κατεβαλεν, ελεγξας οτι πονηρος εστι παρα την γραφην αξιων προσκυνεισθαι ως θεος, αποστατης της του θεου γνωμης γεγενημενος. αποκρινεται γαρ αυτω· Γεγραπται· Κυριον τον θεον σου προσκυνησεις και αυτω μονω λατρευσεις. και ηττημενος και εληλεγμενος απενευσε τοτε ο διαβολος.

For when he became a man, as I have said before, the devil came to him, that is, that power which is also called a serpent and Satan, tempting him and struggling to cast him down by asking him to worship him. But he destroyed him and cast him down, having proven that he is evil in asking to be worshipped as God against the scripture, having [thus] become an apostate from the opinion of God. For he answered him: It is written: You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.

§ Interestingly, in Luke 4.6 the phrase και την δοξαν αυτων (and their glory) is spoken by the devil, and the antecedent for αυτων (their) is πασας τας βασιλειας (all the kingdoms) in 4.5, which is part of the narration. In Matthew 4.8 both phrases belong to the narration. Inasmuch as it is somewhat awkward for the words of a character inside the narrative to require an antecedent supplied only by the narrator outside the narrative, could this phenomenon be an example of Lucan editorial fatigue?

Consider that the logic of the sentence as a whole would lead us to expect και την δοξαν αυτης (and its glory) at Luke 4.6, the antecedent of the singular αυτης being εξουσιαν (authority) in the immediately preceding clause, and indeed the subsequent clause...:

...οτι εμοι παραδεδοται και ω εαν θελω διδωμι αυτην.

...since it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

...operates exactly as if the phrase και την δοξαν αυτων (and their glory) did not intervene.

Luke seems to have a slight preference for the word εξουσια (authority) compared with the other evangelists (10-10-16+7), and it was perhaps his interest in introducing this concept that led to this slight failure of narrative logic. Was Luke 4.6, with Satan giving authority to whomever he pleases, intended as a foil for Luke 10.19, in which it is Jesus who gives authority over the Satanic forces?

Ιδου δεδωκα υμιν την εξουσιαν του πατειν επανω οφεων και σκορπιων, και επι πασαν την δυναμιν του εχθρου, και ουδεν υμας ου μη αδικηση.

Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.

§ Origen, On First Things 4.1.16:

Ου μονον δε περι των προ της παρουσιας ταυτα το πνευμα ωκονομησεν, αλλα γαρ ατε το αυτο τυγχανον και απο του ενος θεου, το ομοιον και επι των ευαγγελιων πεποιηκε και επι των αποστολων, ουδε τουτων παντη ακρατον την ιστοριαν των προσυφασμενων κατα το σωματικον εχοντων μη γεγενημενων, ουδε την νομοθεσιαν και τας εντολας παντως το ευλογον εντευθεν εμφαινοντα. τις γουν νουν εχων οιησεται πρωτην και δευτεραν και τριτην ημεραν, εσπεραν τε και πρωιαν, χωρις ηλιου γεγονεναι και σεληνης και αστερων; την δε οιονει πρωτην και χωρις ουρανου; τις δ ουτως ηλιθιος ως οιηθηναι τροπον ανθρωπου γεωργου τον θεον πεφυτευκεναι παραδεισον εν Εδεμ κατα ανατολας, και ξυλον ζωης εν αυτω πεποιηκεναι ορατον και αισθητον, ωστε δια των σωματικων οδοντων γευσαμενον του καρπου το ζην αναλαμβανειν και παλιν καλου και πονηρου μετεχειν τινα παρα το μεμασησθαι το απο τουδε του ξυλου λαμβανομενον; εαν δε και θεος το δειλινον εν τω παραδεισω περιπατειν λεγηται και ο Αδαμ υπο το ξυλον κρυπτεσθαι, ουκ οιμαι δισταξειν τινα περι του αυτα τροπικως δια δοκουσης ιστοριας και ου σωματικως γεγενημενης μηνυειν τινα μυστηρια. αλλα και Καιν εξερχομενος απο προσωπου του θεου σαφως τοις επιστησασι φαινεται κινειν τον εντυγχανοντα ζητειν τι προσωπον θεου και το εξερχεσθαι τινα απ αυτου. και τι δει πλειω λεγειν, των μη πανυ αμβλεων μυρια οσα τοιαυτα δυναμενων συναγαγειν αναγεγραμμενα μεν ως γεγονοτα, ου γεγενημενα δε κατα την λεξιν; αλλα και τα ευαγγελια δε του αυτου ειδους των λογων πεπληρωται, εις υψηλον ορος τον Ιησουν αναβιβαζοντος του διαβολου ιν εκειθεν αυτω δειξη του παντος κοσμου τας βασιλειας και την δοξαν αυτων. τις γαρ ουκ αν των μη παρεργως αναγινωσκοντων τα τοιαυτα καταγινωσκοι των οιομενων τω της σαρκος οφθαλμω, δεηθεντι υψους υπερ του κατανοηθηναι δυνασθαι τα κατωτερω και υποκειμενα, εωρασθαι την Περσων και Σκυθων και Ινδων και Παρθυαιων βασιλειαν, και ως δοξαζονται παρα ανθρωποις οι βασιλευοντες; παραπλησιως δε τουτοις και αλλα μυρια απο των ευαγγελιων ενεστι τον ακριβουντα τηρησαι υπερ του συγκαταθεσθαι συνυφαινεσθαι ταις κατα το ρητον γεγενημεναις ιστοριαις ετερα μη συμβεβηκοτα.

But it is not only concerning those [scriptures] before the advent [of Christ] that the spirit performed these things, but rather, since it happened to be the same [spirit] and from the one God, he has done the same thing both with the gospels and with the apostles, not even these [texts] holding a wholly unmixed history, things having been interwoven according to the bodily, but not happening; nor even do the lawmaking [books] and the commandments wholly make apparent what is reasonable. Who indeed that has understanding will suppose that the first and second and third day, both the evening and the morning, came into being without a sun and moon and stars? And that the first was, as it were, also without a sky? And who is so foolish as to suppose that God, after the manner of a husbandman, planted a paradise in Eden toward the east, and placed in it a visible and palpable tree of life, so that one tasting of the fruit through his bodily teeth might take on life? And again that one took hold of good and evil from masticating what was taken from the tree? And if God is also said to walk about in the paradise at evening and Adam [is said] to hide himself under a tree, I do not suppose that any one doubts that these things figuratively disclose certain mysteries, the history having happened in seeming and not bodily. But Cain also, going out from the face of God, certainly appears to learned men as moving the reader to seek out what the face of God is and what someone going out from him is. And why must one say more, since those who are not wholly sightless can gather together myriads of such kinds of things recorded as having happened, but which did not happen literally? But the gospels too are filled with the same form of words, the devil leading Jesus up into a high mountain in order to show him thence the kingdoms of the whole world and their glory. For who is there of those who do not read such things carelessly that would not condemn those who suppose that with the eye of the body, which requires a height so as to perceive things lying under and adjacent, the kingdom of the Persians and that of the Scythians and that of the Indians and that of the Parthians were seen, and the way in which their kings are glorified by men? And fully along with these there are other myriads from the gospels to convince the accurate man that, among the histories that happened literally, other things that have not transpired have been placed.