(1.) Trial; a being put to the test. Thus God "tempted [Genesis 22:1; R.V., `did prove'] Abraham;" and afflictions are said to tempt, i.e., to try, men (James 1:2, 12; Comp. Deuteronomy 8:2), putting their faith and patience to the test.
(2.) Ordinarily, however, the word means solicitation to that which is evil, and hence Satan is called "the tempter" (Matthew 4:3). Our Lord was in this way tempted in the wilderness. That temptation was not internal, but by a real, active, subtle being. It was not self-sought. It was submitted to as an act of obedience on his part. "Christ was led, driven. An unseen personal force bore him a certain violence is implied in the words" (Matthew 4:1-11).
The scene of the temptation of our Lord is generally supposed to have been the mountain of Quarantania (q.v.), "a high and precipitous wall of rock, 1,200 or 1,500 feet above the plain west of Jordan, near Jericho."
Temptation is common to all (Dan. 12:10; Zechariah 13:9; Psalm 66:10; Luke 22:31, 40; Hebrews 11:17; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:7; 4:12). We read of the temptation of Joseph (Genesis 39), of David (2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21), of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:31), of Daniel (Dan. 6), etc. So long as we are in this world we are exposed to temptations, and need ever to be on our watch against them.