Temptation of Jesus (4 of 6)

prophet priest king 3

(Continued from yesterday)

ii) the 3 temptations by the Tempter: Dominion over the whole land (Kingship) / Turning Stone to Bread (Prophethood c.f. Elijah’s 40 days in the wilderness) / Jumping from the Temple (Priesthood), again somewhat different;

As is our practice, first observe the passages cited:
• Mt 4:8-9 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” (See also Lk 4:5-6)
• 1 Kings 19:6-8 Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. The angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.
• Mt 4:5-6a Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down;

While it is natural to link the authority to give all the kingdoms of the world to kingship, the association of bread to prophethood is contrived. In fact, it is easier to connect bread to priesthood, as bread is used in offerings and the bread of the Presence was administered by priests.

Similarly, although temple is mentioned, to tie jumping off the pinnacle of the temple with priesthood is forced. Jerusalem is built on a hill, and the Temple on Mount Moriah (2 Chron 3:1) is the high point of the city. To jump off the pinnacle of the Temple is therefore from the highest point in Jerusalem, and bound to attract lots of attention. With 2 out of 3 associations doubtful, I feel interpreting the temptation of Jesus in terms of His threefold office to be artificial.

(To be continued)