“It is written: Man cannot live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Here in Matthew 4:4, Jesus refers to Deuteronomy 8:3. The quotation in Matthew is from the Septuagint, and it is close to the Hebrew text, but not exact.
The Old Testament context of Deuteronomy 8:3 is that God humbled Israel and made them reliant on Him by providing manna for them for their 40 years in the wilderness. God provided for their physical needs to teach them about their spiritual need of God, although, many times they complained and grumbled. God taught them a similar idea to what we read in Matthew 6:33, that if we seek first the Kingdom of God, he will provide our physical needs. However, Israel’s reliance upon God was imperfect, in contrast to Jesus’ reliance upon God, which was perfect.
The Tempter (the Devil) is trying to tempt Jesus using two methods. First he challenges Jesus’ sonship, saying, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” Yet, this is a false notion, because Jesus’ sonship does not rely upon his ability to turn stones into bread. Jesus would still be the Son of God without doing this. But the Devil attacks his identity wanting him to feel the need to prove himself as God’s son. Interestingly, in trying to prove his sonship, if Jesus had taken up the Devil’s offer, he would have lost what the Devil wanted him to prove.
Secondly, the Devil is trying to tempt Jesus to satisfy his physical hunger. However, in quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 Jesus is showing his complete trust in God, showing that his physical hunger pales in comparison to his spiritual hunger for God. He embodied what Israel had to learn, a complete reliance upon God and his word.