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Matthew 11:20-24

Context
Woes on Unrepentant Cities

11:20 Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities 1  in which he had done many of his miracles, because they did not repent. 11:21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! 2  Woe to you, Bethsaida! If 3  the miracles 4  done in you had been done in Tyre 5  and Sidon, 6  they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 11:22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you! 11:23 And you, Capernaum, 7  will you be exalted to heaven? 8  No, you will be thrown down to Hades! 9  For if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have continued to this day. 11:24 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom 10  on the day of judgment than for you!”

1 tn The Greek word here is πόλις (polis) which can be translated “city” or “town.” “Cities” was chosen here to emphasize the size of the places Jesus’ mentions in the following verses.

2 sn Chorazin was a town of Galilee that was probably fairly small in contrast to Bethsaida and is otherwise unattested. Bethsaida was declared a polis by the tetrarch Herod Philip, sometime after a.d. 30.

3 tn This introduces a second class (contrary to fact) condition in the Greek text.

4 tn Or “powerful deeds.”

5 map For location see Map1 A2; Map2 G2; Map4 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

6 sn Tyre and Sidon are two other notorious OT cities (Isa 23; Jer 25:22; 47:4). The remark is a severe rebuke, in effect: “Even the sinners of the old era would have responded to the proclamation of the kingdom, unlike you!”

map For location see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

7 sn Capernaum was a town on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, 680 ft (204 m) below sea level. It was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region.

map For location see Map1 D2; Map2 C3; Map3 B2.

8 tn The interrogative particle introducing this question expects a negative reply.

9 sn In the OT, Hades was known as Sheol. It is the place where the unrighteous will reside (Luke 10:15; 16:23; Rev 20:13-14).

10 sn The allusion to Sodom, the most wicked of OT cities from Gen 19:1-29, shows that to reject the current message is even more serious, and will result in more severe punishment, than the worst sins of the old era. The phrase region of Sodom is in emphatic position in the Greek text.



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