And behold a certain lawyer stood up
From his seat, having been hearing Christ preach, very likely, in some synagogue; when and where this was, is not certain. The Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions call this man a Scribe; and a lawyer and a Scribe were the same, as appears from ( Matthew 22:35 ) compared with ( Mark 12:28 )
and tempted him;
or tried him whether he understood the law, or whether he would say any thing contrary to it, and see if he could gain any advantage against him, and expose him, and get credit and applause to himself:
saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
the same question as was put by the young ruler in ( Mark 10:17 ) for they were both of the same complexion, and upon the same foundation, seeking eternal life by their own works: (See Gill on Matthew 19:16)
he said unto him;
that is, Jesus, as all the Oriental versions express it.