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6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.
8. 'An exceeding high mountain.' Probably some elevated place in the vicinity of Jerusalem, on the top of which could be seen no small part of the land of Palestine. So Moses, before he died, went up into mount Nebo, and from it God showed him
all the land of Gilead unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar, Deut. xxxiv. 1—3. There are mountains from which no small part of the land of Canaan may be seen. All the kingdoms of the world. The kingdoms of Palestine, or the land of Canaan, and those in the immediate vicinity. Judea was divided into three parts, and those parts were called kingdoms. The term 'world' is often used in this limited sense to denote a part, or a large part of the world, particularly the land of Canaan. See Rom. iv. 13, where it means the land of Judah ; also Luke ii. 1, and the note on the place. “The glory of them. The riches, splendour, towns, cities, mountains, &c., of this beautiful land.
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
9. 'All these things,' &c. All these kingdoms. All these dominions Satan claimed a right to bestow on whom he pleased. They were very wicked; and with no small degree of plausi. bility, therefore, he asserted his claim to give them away. Satan regarded Christ as the King of the Jews. As the Messiah, he supposed he had come to take possession of all that country. He was poor and unarmed, and without followers or armies. Satan proposed to put him in possession of it at once, without any difficuliy, if he would worship him and acknowledge him as the proper lord and disposer of that country; if he would trust to him rather than to God. • Worship me. See note on Matt. ii. 2. Render religious homage. We may be surprised at his boldness. But he supposed it was an object dear to the heart of the Messiah to obtain these kingdoms. He claimed a right over them; and he seemed not to be asking too much, if he gave them to Jesus, that Jesus should be willing to acknowledge the gift, and express
gratitude for it. So plausible are Satan's temptations, even when they are blasphemous, and so artfully does he present his allure. ments to the mind.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
10. This was a bolder attack than any which had been offered, a more decided and deadly thrust at the piety of the Saviour. It was a proposition that the Son of God should worship the devil, instead of honouring and adoring Him who made heaven and earth; that he should bow down before the prince of wickedness. It is written,' In Deut. vi. 13.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
11. " The devil leaveth him.' The devil left him for a time, Luke iv. 13. He intended to return again to the temptation, and if possible to seduce him yet from God. • The angels came and ministered.' See ch. i. 20. They came and supplied his wants, and comforted him. From the whole of this we may learn, 1. That no one is so holy as to be free from temptation; for the pure Son of God was sorely tempted by the devil.” 2. That when God permits a temptation or trial to come upon us, he will, if we look to him, give us grace to resist and overcome it, 1 Cor. x. 13. 3. We see the art of the tempter. His temptations are adapted to times and circumstances. What could have been more plausible than his suggestions to Christ? They were applicable to his circumstances. They had the appearance of much piety. They were backed by passages of scripture-misapplied, but still most artfully presented. He never comes boldly and'tempts men to sin, telling them that they are committing sin. Such a mode would defeat his design. It would put people on their guard. He commences, therefore, artfully, plausibly, and the real purpose does not appear till he has prepared the mind for it. This is the way with all temptation. No wicked man would at once tempt another to be profane, to be drunk, to be an infidel, or to commit adultery. The principles are first corrupted. The confidence is secured. The affections are won. And then the alTurement is by little and little presented, till the victim falls. How should every one be on his guard at the very first appearance of evil, at the first suggestion that may possibly lead to evil! 4. One of the best ways of meeting temptation by applying scripture. So our Saviour did; and they will always best succeed who best wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, Eph. vi. 17.
12 Now, when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee ;
12. For an account of the imprisonment of John, see Matt, xiv. 1–12. He departed into Galilee.' See Matt. ii. 22. The reasons why Jesus went then into Galilee were, probably, 1. Because the attention of the people had been much excited by John's preaching, and it was more favourable for his own ministry. 2. It seemed desirable to have some one to second John in the work of reformation. 3. It was less dangerous for him to commence his labours there than near Jerusalem.
13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea-coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim ;
13. Leaving Nazareth. Because his townsmen cast him out, and rejected him. See Luke iv. 14—30. . Came and dwelt in Capernaum.' This was a city on the sea of Tiberias. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament, but is repeatedly in the gospels.
In this place, and its neighbourhood, Jesus spent no small part of the three years of his public ministry. It is hence called his own city, Matt. ix. 1. In the time of Christ this was a large and flourishing city. It is now in ruins. Upon the sea-coast.' The sea of Tiberias. In the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim.' Two tribes of the children of Israel located in this part of the land of Canaan. Compare Gen. xlix. 13. Joshua xix. 10.32.
14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles : 14, 15.
That it might be fulfilled,? &c. This place is recorded in Isa. ix. 1, 2. Matthew has given the sense, but not the very words of the prophet. 'Beyond Jordan.' This does not mean to the east of Jordan, as the phrase sometimes denotes, but rather in the vicinity of the Jordan, or perhaps in the vicinity of the sources of the Jordan. See Deut. i. l; iv. 49. • Galilee of the Gentiles.' Galilee was divided into upper and lower Galilee. Upper Galilee was called Galilee of the Gentiles, because it was occupied chiefly by Gentiles. It was in the neighbourhood of Tyre, Sidon, &c. The word Gentiles includes in the scriptures all who are not Jews.
16 The people which sat in darkness, saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.
16. "The people which sat in darkness.' Those who are ignorant of God, and their duty, are said to be in darkness. As ignorance is often connected with crime and vice, so darkness is sometimes used to denote sin, 1 Thess, v. 5; Eph. 1. 8; Luke
xxii. 53. The region and shadow of death. This is a forcible and beautiful image, designed also to denote ignorance and sin. It is often used in the bible, and is very expressive. It denotes a dismal, gloomy, and dreadful shade, where death and sin reign, like the chills, damps, and horrors of the dwelling-place of the dead. See Job x. 21; xvi. 16; xxxiv. 22; Ps. xxiii. 4; Jer. ii. 6. These expressions indicate that the country of Galilee was peculiarly ignorant and blind. We know that the people were proverbially so. They were distinguished for a coarse, outlandish manner of speech, Mark xiv. 70; and a general profligacy of morals and manners. It shows the great compassion of the Saviour, that he went to preach to such poor and despised sinners. Instead of seeking the rich and the learned, he chose to minister to the needy, the ignorant, and the contemned. In doing this, Jesus set an example for all his followers. It is their duty to seek out those who are sitting in the shadow of death, and to send the gospel to them.
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 17. See Matt, iii. 2.
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers.
18. Sea of Galilee.' This was also called the sea of Tiberias, and the lake of Gennesareth, and also the sea of Chinnereth, Num. xxxiv. 11; Deut. iii. 17 ; Josh. xii. 3. It is about fifteen miles in length, and from six to nine in width. Many populous cities once stood on its shores, such as Tiberias, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Chorazin, Hippo, &c. The shores are described by Josephus as a perfect paradise, producing every luxury under heaven, at all seasons of the year. The waters of the lake are sweet and pleasant to the taste, and clear. The lake still abounds with fish, and gives employment, as it did in the time of our Saviour, to those who live on its shores. It is, however, stormy, owing to the high hills by which it is surrounded. • Simon called Peter.' The name Peter means a rock, and is the same as Cephas. See note, Matt. xvi. 18; also John i. 42; 1 Cor. xv. 5.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
19. “ Fishers of men.' Ministers or preachers of the gospel, whose business it shall be to win souls to Christ,
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
20. Straightway.” Immediately-as all should do when the Lord Jesus calls them. ' Left their nets. Their nets were the means of their living, perhaps all their property. By leaving them immediately, and following him, they gave every evidence of sincerity. They showed that they were willing to forsake all for the sake of Jesus, and to follow him wherever he should lead them. So we should cheerfully go, when our Saviour calls, willing to commit all into his hands. "Followed him.' This is an expression denoting that they became his disciples.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets: and he called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship, and their father, and followed him.
22. This showed how willing they were to follow Jesus. If necessary, we should leave father, and mother, and every friend, Luke xiv. 26. If they will go with us, and be christians, it is well; if not, yet they should not hinder us. We should be the followers of Jesus. And while, in doing it, we should treat our friends tenderly and kindly, yet we ought at all hazards to obey God, and do our duty to him.
We see here, too, what humble instruments God makes use of to convert men. He chose fishermen to convert the world. He chooses the foolish to confound the wise. And it shows that religion is true, and is the power of God, when he makes use of such instruments to change the hearts of men, and save their souls.
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people.
23. ' All Galilee. See ch. ii, 22. Synagogues.' Places of worship, or places where the people assembled together to worship God. The sacrifices of the Jews were appointed to be held in one place, at Jerusalem. But there was nothing to forbid the other services of religion to be performed at any place.
The synagogues were built in elevated places; in any place where ten men were found who were willing to associate for the purpose; and were the regular, customary places of worship. In them the law, i. e., the Old Testament, divided into suitable portions, was read, prayers were offered, and the scriptures were expounded. The law was so divided, that the five books of Moses, and portions of the prophets, could be read through each year. The scriptures after being read were expounded. This was done either by the officers of the synagogues, or by persons invited to it by the officiating minister. Our Saviour and the apostles were