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The Temptation of Jesus

Then[a] Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River[b] and was led by the Spirit[c] in[d] the wilderness,[e] where for forty days he endured temptations[f] from the devil. He[g] ate nothing[h] during those days, and when they were completed,[i] he was famished. The devil said to him, “If[j] you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”[k] Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man[l] does not live by bread alone.’”[m]

Then[n] the devil[o] led him up[p] to a high place[q] and showed him in a flash all the kingdoms of the world. And he[r] said to him, “To you[s] I will grant this whole realm[t]—and the glory that goes along with it,[u] for it has been relinquished[v] to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish. So then, if[w] you will worship[x] me, all this will be[y] yours.” Jesus[z] answered him,[aa] “It is written, ‘You are to worship[ab] the Lord[ac] your God and serve only him.’”[ad]

Then[ae] the devil[af] brought him to Jerusalem, had him stand[ag] on the highest point of the temple,[ah] and said to him, “If[ai] you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’[aj] 11 and ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”[ak] 12 Jesus[al] answered him,[am] “It is said, ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.’”[an] 13 So[ao] when the devil[ap] had completed every temptation, he departed from him until a more opportune time.[aq]

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  1. Luke 4:1 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate continuity with the previous topic.
  2. Luke 4:1 tn “River” is not in the Greek text but is supplied for clarity.
  3. Luke 4:1 sn The double mention of the Spirit in this verse makes it clear that the temptation was neither the fault of Jesus nor an accident.
  4. Luke 4:1 tc Most mss (A Θ Ξ Ψ 0102 ƒ1,13 33 M lat) read εἰς τὴν ἔρημον (eis tēn erēmon, “into the wilderness”), apparently motivated by the parallel in Matt 4:1. However, the reading behind the translation (ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ, en tē erēmō) is found in overall better witnesses (P4vid,7, 75vid א B D L W 579 892 1241 it).
  5. Luke 4:1 tn Or “desert.”sn The Judean Wilderness (or Judean Desert) is a geographical feature extending from the mountains of Judea in the west to the Dead Sea in the east. It is a relatively small desert, covering only about 600 square miles (roughly 1,500 square km). The Judean Wilderness is characterized by breathtaking panoramas: mountains, cliffs, chalk hills, and plateaus are interrupted by riverbeds and canyons, some of which are up to 1,500 feet (500 m) deep. Some of the rivers are seasonal streams and some have water all year round. The tall cliffs on the eastern edge of the desert reach a height of 1,000 feet (300 m) above the shore of the Dead Sea. The Judean Wilderness is close to Jerusalem and sparsely populated with few settlements around its edges. It is known for its rugged and desolate landscape, which has provided a refuge and hiding place for rebels and zealots throughout history, as well as solitude for monks and hermits.
  6. Luke 4:2 tn Grk “in the desert, for forty days being tempted.” The participle πειραζόμενος (peirazomenos) has been translated as an adverbial clause in English to avoid a run-on sentence with a second “and.” Here the present participle suggests a period of forty days of testing. Three samples of the end of the testing are given in the following verses.
  7. Luke 4:2 tn Grk “And he.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  8. Luke 4:2 sn The reference to Jesus eating nothing could well be an idiom meaning that he ate only what the desert provided; see Exod 34:28. A desert fast simply meant eating only what one could obtain in the desert. The parallel in Matt 4:2 speaks only of Jesus fasting.
  9. Luke 4:2 tn The Greek word here is συντελεσθείσων (suntelestheisōn) from the verb συντελέω (sunteleō).sn This verb and its cognate noun, sunteleia, usually implies not just the end of an event, but its completion or fulfillment. The noun is always used in the NT in eschatological contexts; the verb is often so used (cf. Matt 13:39, 40; 24:3; 28:20; Mark 13:4; Rom 9:28; Heb 8:8; 9:26). The idea here may be that the forty-day period of temptation was designed for a particular purpose in the life of Christ (the same verb is used in v. 13). The cognate verb teleioō is a key NT term for the completion of God’s plan: See Luke 12:50; 22:37; John 19:30; and (where it has the additional component of meaning “to perfect”) Heb 2:10; 5:8-9; 7:28.
  10. Luke 4:3 tn This is a first class condition: “If (and let’s assume that you are) the Son of God…”
  11. Luke 4:3 tn Grk “say to this stone that it should become bread.”
  12. Luke 4:4 tn Or “a person.” The Greek word ὁ ἄνθρωπος (ho anthrōpos) is used generically for humanity. The translation “man” is used because the emphasis in Jesus’ response seems to be on his dependence on God as a man.
  13. Luke 4:4 tc Most mss (A [D] Θ Ψ [0102] ƒ1,13 33 M latt) complete the citation with ἀλλ᾿ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι θεοῦ (allepi panti rhēmati theou, “but by every word from God”), an assimilation to Matt 4:4 (which is a quotation of Deut 8:3). The shorter reading is found in א B L W 1241 sa. There is no good reason why scribes would omit the rest of the quotation here. The shorter reading, on both internal and external grounds, should be considered the autographic wording in A quotation from Deut 8:3. Jesus will live by doing God’s will, and will take no shortcuts.
  14. Luke 4:5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. sn The order of Luke’s temptations differs from Matthew’s at this point as numbers two and three are reversed. It is slightly more likely that Luke has made the change to put the Jerusalem temptation last, as Jerusalem is so important to Luke’s later account. The temporal markers in Matthew’s account are also slightly more specific.
  15. Luke 4:5 tn Grk “he.”
  16. Luke 4:5 tc Most mss (א1 A [D W] Θ Ψ 0102 ƒ1,[13] 33 700 2542 M it) refer to Jesus being taken up “to a high mountain” (with many of these also explicitly adding “the devil”) here in parallel with Matt 4:8, but both scribal harmonization to that text and the pedigree of the witnesses for the shorter reading (א* B L 1241) is the reason it should be omitted from Luke.
  17. Luke 4:5 tn “A high place” is not in the Greek text but has been supplied for clarity.
  18. Luke 4:6 tn Grk “And the devil.”
  19. Luke 4:6 sn In Greek, this phrase is in an emphatic position. In effect, the devil is tempting Jesus by saying, “Look what you can have!”
  20. Luke 4:6 tn Or “authority.” BDAG 353 s.v. ἐξουσία 6 suggests, concerning this passage, that the term means “the sphere in which the power is exercised, domain.” Cf. also Luke 22:53; 23:7; Acts 26:18; Eph 2:2.
  21. Luke 4:6 tn The addendum referring to the glory of the kingdoms of the world forms something of an afterthought, as the following pronoun (“it”) makes clear, for the singular refers to the realm itself.
  22. Luke 4:6 tn For the translation of παραδέδοται (paradedotai) see L&N 57.77. The devil is erroneously implying that God has given him such authority with the additional capability of sharing the honor.
  23. Luke 4:7 tn This is a third class condition: “If you worship me (and I am not saying whether you will or will not)…”
  24. Luke 4:7 tn Or “will prostrate yourself in worship before…” The verb προσκυνέω (proskuneō) can allude not only to the act of worship but the position of the worshiper. See L&N 53.56.
  25. Luke 4:7 tn One could translate this phrase “it will all be yours.” The sense is the same, but the translation given is a touch more emphatic and more likely to catch the force of the offer.
  26. Luke 4:8 tn Grk “And Jesus.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  27. Luke 4:8 tc Most mss, especially the later ones (A Θ Ψ 0102 ƒ13 M it), have “Get behind me, Satan!” at the beginning of the quotation. This roughly parallels Matt 4:10 (though the Lukan mss add ὀπίσω μου to read ὕπαγε ὀπίσω μου, σατανᾶ [hupage opisō mou, satana]); for this reason the words are suspect as a later addition to make the two accounts agree more precisely. A similar situation occurred in v. 5.
  28. Luke 4:8 tn Or “You will prostrate yourself in worship before…” The verb προσκυνέω (proskuneō) can allude not only to the act of worship but the position of the worshiper. See L&N 53.56.
  29. Luke 4:8 tc Most later mss (A Θ 0102 M) alter the word order by moving the verb forward in the quotation. This alteration removes the emphasis from “the Lord your God” as the one to receive worship (as opposed to Satan) by moving it away from the beginning of the In the form of the quotation in the Greek text found in the best mss, it is the unique sovereignty of the Lord that has the emphatic position.
  30. Luke 4:8 sn A quotation from Deut 6:13. The word “only” is an interpretive expansion not found in either the Hebrew or Greek (LXX) text of the OT.
  31. Luke 4:9 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  32. Luke 4:9 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the devil) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  33. Luke 4:9 tn Grk “and stood him.”
  34. Luke 4:9 sn What the highest point of the temple refers to is unclear. Perhaps the most popular suggestion is that the word refers to the point on the temple’s southeast corner where it looms directly over a cliff some 450 ft (135 m) high. Others have suggested the reference could be to the roof of the temple or a projection of the roof; still others see a reference to the lintel of the temple’s high gate, or a tower in the temple courts. The Greek word itself could be literally translated “winglet” (a diminutive of the Greek word for “wing”) which may have been chosen as a wordplay on the reference to safety under the “wings” of God in Ps 91:4, the same psalm quoted by the devil in the following verse.
  35. Luke 4:9 tn This is another first class condition, as in v. 3.
  36. Luke 4:10 sn A quotation from Ps 91:11 by the devil. This was not so much an incorrect citation as a use in a wrong context (a misapplication of the passage).
  37. Luke 4:11 sn A quotation from Ps 91:12.
  38. Luke 4:12 tn Grk “And Jesus.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  39. Luke 4:12 tn Grk “Jesus, answering, said to him.” This is redundant in English and has been simplified to “Jesus answered him.”
  40. Luke 4:12 sn A quotation from Deut 6:16 used by Jesus in reply to the devil. The point is that God’s faithfulness should not be put to the test, but is rather a given.
  41. Luke 4:13 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate a summary.
  42. Luke 4:13 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the devil) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  43. Luke 4:13 tn Grk “until a favorable time.”sn Until a more opportune time. Though some have argued that the devil disappears until Luke 22:3, this is unlikely since the cosmic battle with Satan and all the evil angels is consistently mentioned throughout Luke (8:26-39; 11:14-23).