Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Woe unto thee, Chorazin!—See Notes on Matthew 11:21, where the words appear as spoken at an earlier period. We have again to choose between the two alternative views, (1) that the words were spoken but once, and floated in men’s memories without any very definite note of time or place, and were wrongly placed by one, or, possibly, by both Evangelists; or (2) that they were repeated on different occasions. The latter seems, on the whole, by far the more probable.Luke 10:13. Wo unto thee, Chorazin, &c. — “Having mentioned the punishment of those cities which should reject his ministers, it naturally brought to his mind the sad state and punishment of the cities where he himself had preached most frequently, namely, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. For, notwithstanding he had often resided in those cities, and performed many miracles before the inhabitants of them, they had continued impenitent. Wherefore, because he was never to preach to them any more, and because he knew how great their punishment would be, in the overflowing tenderness of his soul he affectionately lamented their obstinacy, which he foresaw would draw down on them the heaviest judgments. The same declaration Christ had made some time before. By repeating it now he warns the seventy not to lose time by going to those cities. At the same time, this part of his discourse was well calculated to comfort these disciples, now sent out, under the ill usage they might meet with; the preaching of Christ himself had often been unacceptable and unsuccessful, with respect to many of his hearers, and therefore it was not much to be wondered at if theirs should prove so likewise.” Considering the affectionate temper of our Lord, it is no wonder that he should renew his lamentation over those unhappy places where he had so intimately conversed; and that he should do it in such words as these, so well calculated to alarm and impress all that should hear or read them. O! that they might now have their due weight with those who might pass them over too slightly, when they occurred before in Matthew 11:20-24. O! that every impenitent creature who reads them might know that the sentence of his own condemnation is now before his eyes! See Macknight and Doddridge, and the notes on Matthew 11:20-24.Matthew 11:21-24.
for Sodom—Tyre and Sidon were ruined by commercial prosperity; Sodom sank through its vile pollutions: but the doom of otherwise correct persons who, amidst a blaze of light, reject the Saviour, shall be less endurable than that of any of these.See Poole on "Matthew 11:21", and following verses to Matthew 11:24. Matthew 11:21.
Woe unto thee Bethsaida; a city of Galilee, a fishing town, from whence it has its name, and was the native place of those two fishermen, Peter and Andrew: very likely Chorazin was near it, since they are here, and in Matthew, mentioned together; and woe is pronounced upon them both for their impenitence and unbelief, which were attended with aggravating circumstances:
for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you; meaning both the ministry of the word by Christ, which was with power and authority, and the miracles of Christ, which were the works of almighty power, and showed him to be the mighty God: these were not done in Tyre and Sidon, cities in Phoenicia; for though our Lord was on the borders of those places, yet not in them, they being Gentile cities, to which he was not sent, and in which he did not preach, nor do miracles; but he did both in Bethsaida and Chorazin, and they repented not of their sins; nor did they embrace his doctrine, though confirmed by miracles; whereas, in all likelihood, humanly speaking, had the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon had the like advantages,
they had a great while ago repented: they would have repented immediately, it would have been soon visible in them, of which they would have given proof, by
sitting in sackcloth and ashes; which was an outward token of repentance, used by penitent sinners, as by the Ninevites, and others. The same things are said at another time, and on another occasion, as here; See Gill on Matthew 11:21, Matthew 11:22, Matthew 11:23, Matthew 11:24Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 10:13-15. See on Matthew 11:21-24. Luke has not here any mistaken reminiscence (de Wette), but the disaster of these Galilaean cities lay sufficiently close to the heart of Jesus to force from Him the denunciation of woe more than once, and here, indeed, in very appropriate connection, since this woe brings into the light and confirms what has just been said at Luke 10:12 by the example of the cities which had rejected Jesus Himself.
καθήμενοι (see the critical remarks): the inhabitants, namely. See Buttmann, Neut. Gram. p. 114 [E. T. 130].Luke 10:13-16. Woe to thee, Chorasin (Matthew 11:21-24).—While the terms in which the woes on the cities of Galilee are reported are nearly identical in Mt. and Lk., the connections in which they are given are different. In Mt. the connection is very general. The woes simply find a place in a collection of moral criticisms by Jesus on His time: on John, on the Pharisees, and on the Galilean towns. Here they form part of Christ’s address to the Seventy, when sending them forth on their mission. Whether they properly come in here has been disputed. Wendt (L. J., p. 89) thinks they do, inasmuch as they indicate that the punishment for rejecting the disciples will be the same as that of the cities which were unreceptive to the ministry of the Master. J. Weiss (in Meyer), on the other hand, thinks the woes have been inserted here from a purely external point of view, noting in proof the close connection between Luke 10:12 and Luke 10:16. It is impossible to be quite sure when the words were spoken, but also impossible to doubt that they were spoken by Jesus, probably towards or after the close of His Galilean ministry.—καθήμενοι, after σποδῷ, is an addition of Lk.’s, explanatory or pictorial.13. Woe unto thee, Chorazin] The mention of this town is very interesting because this is the only occasion (Matthew 11:21) on which the name occurs, and we are thus furnished with a very striking proof of the fragmentariness of the Gospels. The very site of Chorazin was long unknown. It has now been discovered at Keraseh, the ruins of an old town on a wady, two miles inland from Tel Hum (Capernaum). At a little distance these ruins look like mere rude heaps of basaltic stones.
Bethsaida] See on Luke 9:10.
mighty works] Literally, “powers.”
they had a great while ago repented] like Nineveh (Jonah 3:5-10), “Surely had I sent thee unto them they would have hearkened unto thee,” Ezekiel 3:6; comp. James 4:17.Luke 10:13. Χοραζὶν) So my editions write the word, although others in my name have edited Χωραζίν. Some have written Χωραζὶν from a slip of the pen, as I have observed in Appar., p. 473: and these in serious earnest have made out of Chorazin, which is mentioned in Matthew 11:21 among the towns, the region of Zin (χώρα and ζιν): D. Rus, T. i. Harmon. Ev.; p. 1199, et seqq., mentions and refutes this notion.Verse 13. - Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. In St. Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 11:20), where the woe of the fair lake-cities is announced in similar language, the "woe" is introduced with the words," Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done." Now, we have no record of any miracles having been worked at Chorazin, the first mentioned. But these cities were in the immediate vicinity of Capernaum, where for a length-cued period our Lord principally resided. He was, no doubt, during the Galilaean ministry, constantly in one or other of those bright, busy cities built on the shores of the Lake of Gennesaret. This bears out St. John's statement (John 20:30) concerning the many unrecorded miracles of Christ, and gives us some notion of the numerous events in the life left without mention; much must have happened in Choraziu to have called forth this stern saying. Late research thinks it probable that the site of Chorazin has been discovered near Capernaum; the ruins, however, at a little distance, look but a mere rough heap of stones. A great theological truth is urged in this saying of the Master. Men will be judged not only for what they have done or failed to do, but their opportunities, their circumstances, their chances in life, will be, before they are judged, strictly taken into account.
See on Matthew 11:20.
From the Hebrew sak: what is knotted together; net-shaped; coarsely woven. It was made of goats' or camels' hair (Revelation 6:12), and was a material similar to that upon which Paul wrought in tent-making. The same word in Hebrew is used to describe a grain-sack, and this coarse material of which it is made (Genesis 42:25; Joshua 9:4). So the Greek σαγή means a pack or baggage. The same root, according to some etymologists, appears in σαγήνη, a drag-net (see Matthew 13:47), and σάγος, Latin sagum, a coarse, soldier's cloak. It was employed for the rough garments for mourners (Esther 4:1; 1 Kings 21:27), in which latter passage the sackcloth is put next the flesh in token of extreme sorrow. Compare 2 Kings 6:30; Job 16:15.
As a sign of mourning. Defiling one's self with dead things, as ashes or dirt, as a sign of sorrow, was common among the Orientals and Greeks. Thus Homer describes Achilles on hearing of the death of Patroclus:
"Grasping in both hands
The ashes of the hearth, he showered them o'er
His head, and soiled with them his noble face."
Iliad, xviii., 28.
And Priam, mourning for Hector:
"In the midst the aged man
Sat with a cloak wrapped round him, and much dust
Strewn on his head and neck, which, when he rolled
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