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But he answered,[a] “It is written, ‘Man[b] does not live[c] by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”[d] Then the devil took him to the holy city,[e] had him stand[f] on the highest point[g] of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you[h] and ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”[i]

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  1. Matthew 4:4 tn Grk “answering, he said.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokritheis) is redundant, but the syntax of the phrase has been changed for clarity.
  2. Matthew 4:4 tn Or “a person.” Greek 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.
  3. Matthew 4:4 tn Grk “will not live.” The verb in Greek is a future tense, but it is unclear whether it is meant to be taken as a command (also known as an imperatival future) or as a statement of reality (predictive future).
  4. Matthew 4:4 sn A quotation from Deut 8:3.
  5. Matthew 4:5 sn The order of the second and third temptations are reversed in Luke’s account (4:5-12) from the order given in Matthew. Scholars differ on which account represents the original order of the temptations, but it seems likely that whichever is original, the other was changed by the author of that gospel for literary reasons.
  6. Matthew 4:5 tn Grk “and he stood him.”
  7. Matthew 4:5 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.
  8. Matthew 4:6 sn A quotation from Ps 91:11. This was not so much an incorrect citation as a use in a wrong context (a misapplication of the passage). Ps 91 addresses one who has sought shelter in the Lord and assures him that God will protect him from danger. As Jesus points out in his reply, however, this protection does not extend to cases where the intent is to put the Lord to the test.
  9. Matthew 4:6 sn A quotation from Ps 91:12.