God of the Nations: Daniel, Satan, and the Temptation of Jesus in Luke

Tucker S. Ferda 1
  • 1 Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, USA
Tucker S. Ferda
  • Corresponding author
  • Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Box 69, 616 N. Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206, Pittsburgh, USA
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Abstract

In both Matthew and Luke, Satan offers Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world” in exchange for his obeisance. Only in Luke, however, does Satan make an intriguing claim about his “authority” over the kingdoms and his prerogative to “give” such “to whomever he wishes” (4:6). Richard Hays lamented in his recent Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels that this unique detail has not been given thorough attention in exegetical studies of Luke-Acts. This study takes up the question of Satan’s claim in detail and suggests that Satan’s words are informed by a phrase that appears multiple times in the book of Daniel: “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whomever he wishes.” This intertextuality is important for the larger narrative of Luke-Acts in two respects. First, it presses the question of whether, from the perspective of the larger narrative, Satan’s claim is truthful. The article concludes that an answer to that question is not immediately clear; the narrative permits varied readings. Secondly, it is argued that the Danielic background of Luke 4:6 intensifies the Christological drama of the narrative. Jesus is here tested with what is legitimately his as Daniel’s “Son of Man,” and we soon find that he will receive such not from the hand of Satan but from obedience to God.

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A highly reputed journal published since 1900, the Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft is an international journal for the exegesis of the New Testament and knowledge of the early church (patristics).

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