wilderness

wilderness

A desolate or deserted area devoid of civilization. In the OT, the primary reference may be to the desolate wastes of Sinai in which the Israelites wandered for forty years following the exodus (Deut 8:15; Exod 15:22-25; Exod 16:3; Ps 78:40; Ps 95:8). But “wilderness” may also be applied to the area surrounding the oasis of Damascus (1Kgs 19:15) and could include the marginal cultivated land on the Transjordan plateau (Num 21:13; Deut 4:43) as well as the pastureland east of Bethlehem. It could comprise also tangled thickets and scrub, such as the “thorns” and “briers” of the wilderness near Succoth in the Jordan Valley (Judg 8:7; Judg 8:16). In the NT, “waterless places” are viewed as the natural habitat of evil spirits (Luke 11:24), so it was appropriate that Jesus would be tempted by Satan in an area variously referred to as “desert” or “wilderness” (Matt 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). Likewise, when Jesus fed the multitudes in the “desert” or “wilderness” (Mark 8:4), he showed he was able to overcome its dangers, both physical and supernatural. Jesus’s forerunner, John the Baptist, had also appeared in the wilderness with his message of repentance (Mark 1:4), thus reminding Israel of its first days as chosen people in the desert of Sinai.

Deut 8:15

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Exod 15:22-25

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Exod 16:3

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Ps 78:40

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Ps 95:8

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1Kgs 19:15

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Num 21:13

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Deut 4:43

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Judg 8:7

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Judg 8:16

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Luke 11:24

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Matt 4:1-11

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Luke 4:1-13

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Mark 8:4

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Mark 1:4

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