And you, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shall be thrust down to hell.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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 "Luke 10:13"
Shalt be thrust down into hell; meaning either the low condition to which it was to be, and has been reduced in a temporal sense, and continues in to this day; there being nothing of it now remaining, as travellers, who have been eyewitnesses of it, say (g), but a few little houses and cottages; or else the sad and miserable condition of the inhabitants of it hereafter: and so it is, that such who have lived in great plenty and pleasure in this life, and have thought themselves to be the favourites of heaven, and that they should enter there, shall be thrust down to hell by the arm of vengeance, with the utmost indignation in God, and shame to themselves: it follows in Matthew, "for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day; but I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for thee".And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. And thou, Capernaum) Christ’s “own city.”
exalted to heaven] by inestimable spiritual privileges. “Admitted into a holier sanctuary, they were guilty of a deeper sacrilege.” A better reading is (for ἡ … ὑψωθεῖσα) is μὴ ὑψωθήσῃ; “Shalt thou be exalted to heaven? Thou shalt be thrust down...!”
shalt be thrust dawn to hell) Rather, as far as Hades. When our Lord uttered this woe these cities on the shores of Gennesareth were bright and populous and prospering; now they are desolate heaps of ruins in a miserable land. The inhabitants who lived thirty years longer may have recalled these woes in the unspeakable horrors of slaughter and conflagration which the Romans then inflicted on them.
It is immediately after the celebrated description of the loveliness of the Plain of Gennesareth that Josephus goes on to tell of the shore strewn with wrecks and putrescent bodies, “insomuch that the misery was not only an object of commiseration to the Jews, but even to those that hated them and had been the authors of that misery,” Jos. B. J. III. 10, § 8. For fuller details see my Life of Christ, II. 101 sq.Verse 15. - And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. When the Lord came to speak of the woe of Capernaum, his own chosen city, his favourite earthly home, his words grew even more solemn. The simile he uses, "hell," better rendered Hades, is chosen to paint the contrast between the glorious destiny [this beautiful lake-city might have chosen, and the tremendous woe which she had voluntarily brought on herself. The present state of the Plain of Gennesaret is indeed so desolate and miserable that we can scarcely picture to ourselves that it was once a populous, crowded district, the blue lake covered with fishing and trading vessels, its shores and the plain inland highly cultivated, a very garden in that part of Asia. Rich towns and thriving villages in that favoured neighbourhood are described by contemporary writers in such glowing terms that we, who are spectators of the dreary and melancholy shores of the Gennesaret lake, are puzzled as we read, and should suspect an exaggeration, only an exaggeration would have been purposeless (see Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 3:03.2). Some thirty years after the woe had been uttered, in the terrible wars in which Rome avenged herself on the Jewish hatred and scorn, the garden of Gennesaret was changed into a ruin-covered solitude. Joseph's, who had been dwelling on the loveliness of the place, describes the state of the shore strewn with wrecks and putrefying bodies, "insomuch that the misery was not only an object of commiseration to the Jews, but even to these that hated them and had been the authors of that misery" ('Bell. Jud.,' 3:10. 8; and see Dr. Farrar's' Life of Christ,' 2:101).
For ἡ, the article, rendered which, the best texts give μὴ, the interrogative particle; and for the participle having been exalted, the future shalt be exalted. Render, as Rev., Shalt thou be exalted, etc.
Rev., Hades. See on Matthew 16:18.
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