Where exactly did the second test take place? The Greek has to pterygion tou hierou (Matthew 4:5), which is variously translated as the “pinnacle of the temple,” the “parapet of the temple” or the “highest point of the temple.” This is the only appearance of the term pterygion (literally, “winglet,” or “little wing”) in the New Testament.

A fundamental theme of the Exodus is Yahweh’s protection of Israel. In the most dramatic and memorable of these texts, Yahweh is compared to an eagle protecting its nest: “As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, as it spreads its wings, takes them up, and bears them aloft on its pinions, the Lord alone guided them…he set them atop the heights of the land” (Deuteronomy 32:11–13). Apparently the term “winglet” was used in the second test because it evoked divine protection. For the rabbis, the Temple was the center of God’s protection because the divine presence was concentrated there.