on Matthew 4 :8
An exceeding high mountain, and showeth him - If the words, all the kingdoms of the world, be taken in a literal sense, then this must have been a visionary representation, as the highest mountain on the face of the globe could not suffice to make evident even one hemisphere of the earth, and the other must of necessity be in darkness.
But if we take the world to mean only the land of Judea, and some of the surrounding nations, as it appears sometimes to signify, (see on Luke 2:1 (note)), then the mountain described by the Abbe Mariti (Travels through Cyprus, etc). could have afforded the prospect in question. Speaking of it, he says, "Here we enjoyed the most beautiful prospect imaginable. This part of the mountain overlooks the mountains of Arabia, the country of Gilead, the country of the Amorites, the plains of Moab, the plains of Jericho, the river Jordan, and the whole extent of the Dead Sea. It was here that the devil said to the Son of God, All these kingdoms will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." Probably St. Matthew, in the Hebrew original, wrote הארץ haarets, which signifies the world, the earth, and often the land of Judea only. What renders this more probable is, that at this time Judea was divided into several kingdoms, or governments under the three sons of Herod the Great, viz. Archelaus, Antipas, and Philip; which are not only called ethnarchs and tetrarchs in the Gospels, but also βασιλεις, kings, and are said βασιλευειν, to reign, as Rosenmuller has properly remarked. See Matthew 2:22; Matthew 14:9.
on Matthew 4 :8
An exceeding high mountain - It is not known what mountain this was. It was probably some elevated place in the vicinity of Jerusalem, from the top of which could be seen no small part of the land of Palestine. The Abbe Mariti speaks of a mountain on which he was, which answers to the description here. "This part of the mountain," says he, "overlooks the mountains of Arabia, the country of Gilead, the country of the Amorites, the plains of Moab, the plains of Jericho, the River Jordan, and the whole extent of the Dead Sea." 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, and the city of palm-trees, unto Zoar," Deuteronomy 34:1-3. This shows that there were mountains from which no small part of the land of Canaan could be seen; and we need not suppose that there was any miracle when they were shown to the Saviour.
All the kingdoms of the world - It is not probable that anything more is intended here than the kingdoms of Palestine, or of the land of Canaan, and those in the immediate vicinity. Judea was divided into three parts, and those parts were called kingdoms; and the sons of Herod, who presided over them, were called kings. 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 Romans 4:13, where it means the land of Judah; also Luke 2:1, and the note on the place.
The glory of them - The riches, splendor, towns, cities, mountains, etc., of this beautiful land,
on Matthew 4 :8
4:8 Showeth him all the kingdoms of the world - In a kind of visionary representation.