3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
3 Verse 3. And when the tempter] This onset of Satan was made
(speaking after the manner of men) judiciously: he came when
Jesus, after having fasted forty days and forty nights, was
hungry: now, as hunger naturally diminishes the strength of the
body, the mind gets enfeebled, and becomes easily irritated; and
if much watching and prayer be not employed, the uneasiness which
is occasioned by a lack of food may soon produce impatience, and
in this state of mind the tempter has great advantages. The
following advice of an Arabian philosopher to his son is worthy of
attention. "My son, never go out of the house in the morning,
till thou hast eaten something: by so doing, thy mind will be more
firm; and, shouldest thou be insulted by any person, thou wilt
find thyself more disposed to suffer patiently: for hunger dries
up and disorders the brain." Bibliot. Orient. Suppl. p. 449. The
state of our bodily health and worldly circumstances may afford
our adversary many opportunities of doing us immense mischief. In
such cases, the sin to which we are tempted may be justly termed,
as in ,
τηνευπεριστατοναμαρτιαν, the well circumstanced sin, because all
the circumstances of time, place, and state of body and mind,
are favourable to it.
If thou be the Son of God] Or, a son of God, υιοςτουθεου.
υιος is here, and in , written without the article; and
therefore should not be translated THE Son, as if it were ουιος,
which is a phrase that is applicable to Christ as the Messiah: but
it is certain, whatever Satan might suspect, he did not fully know
that the person he tempted was the true Messiah. Perhaps one
grand object of his temptation was to find this out.
Command that these stones] The meaning of this temptation is:
"Distrust the Divine providence and support, and make use of
illicit means to supply thy necessities."