The curse on Chorazin and Bethsaida (Lk 10:13-10:13)

“Woe to you!

Chorazin!

Woe to you!

Bethsaida!

If the deeds

Of power

Done in you

Had been done

In Tyre

And Sidon,

They would have repented

Long ago,

Wearing sackcloth

And sitting in ashes.”

 

Οὐαί σοι, Χοραζείν, οὐαί σοι, Βηθσαϊδά· ὅτι εἰ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ Σιδῶνι ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν, πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ καθήμενοι μετενόησαν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that both Chorazin (Οὐαί σοι, Χοραζείν) and Bethsaida (οὐαί σοι, Βηθσαϊδά) should be cursed.  Jesus said that if the deeds of power or the miracles done among them would have had been done (ὅτι εἰ…ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν) in Tyre (ἐν Τύρῳ) and Sidon (καὶ Σιδῶνι), they would have repented or had a change of heart (μετενόησαν) long ago (πάλαι), wearing sackcloth (ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ) and sitting in ashes (καὶ σποδῷ καθήμενοι).  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 11:20-21, indicating a possible common Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus denounced or reproached these various Galilean towns where he had worked his powerful miracles of healing and curing.  Jesus was upset that despite his many miracles, these towns had not repented of their evil ways.  Jesus complained about two particular towns, Chorazin (Χοραζείν), that was about 3 miles north of Capernaum, and Bethsaida (Βηθσαϊδάν), about 5 miles north of Capernaum on the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee.  All these towns were fairly close together.  Jesus’ reproach started with a typical prophetic curse of “woe to you” (Οὐαί σοι), especially used by Isaiah.  Jesus also mentioned the Phoenician Mediterranean cities of Tyre and Sidon that Isaiah, chapter 23:1-12, and many of the other prophets had wailed against.  Jesus said that if these same miraculous deeds had taken place in these two coastal cities, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes, something that Chorazin and Bethsaida had not done.  What kind of town do you live in?

Against Chorazin and Bethsaida (Mt 11:21-11:22)

“Woe to you!

Chorazin!

Woe to you!

Bethsaida!

If the deeds of power

Done in you

Had been done

In Tyre

And in Sidon,

They would have repented

Long ago,

In sackcloth

And ashes.

But I tell you!

On the day of judgment,

It will be more tolerable

For Tyre

And Sidon

Than for you.”

 

Οὐαί σοι, Χοραζείν· οὐαί σοι, Βηθσαϊδάν· ὅτι εἰ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ Σιδῶνι ἐγένοντο αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν, πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ μετενόησαν.

πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, Τύρῳ καὶ Σιδῶνι ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ ὑμῖν.

 

Then Matthew has Jesus complaint about two particular towns, Chorazin (Χοραζείν), that was about 3 miles north of Capernaum, and Bethsaida (Βηθσαϊδάν), about 5 miles north of Capernaum on the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee.  All these towns were fairly close together.  Luke, chapter 10:13-14, has a similar statement, indicating a possible common Q source.  This reproach started with a typical prophetic curse of “woe to you” (Οὐαί σοι), especially used by Isaiah.  Jesus also mentioned the Phoenician Mediterranean cities of Tyre and Sidon (ὅτι εἰ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ Σιδῶνι) that Isaiah, chapter 23:1-12, and many of the other prophets had wailed against.  Jesus said that if these same miraculous deeds had taken place there (ἐγένοντο αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν) in these two coastal cities, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes (πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ μετενόησαν).  Then Matthew has Jesus utter this solemn pronouncement “I say to you “(πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  The non-Jewish cities of Tyre and Sidon would be more tolerated on the day of judgment than the towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida (Τύρῳ καὶ Σιδῶνι ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ ὑμῖν).  Jesus was upset at Chorazin and Bethsaida for their lack of repentance

The righteous shall prevail (Mal 4:2-4:3)

“‘But you who revere

My name,

The sun of righteousness,

Shall rise,

With healing in its wings.

You shall go out leaping

Like calves

From the stall.

You shall tread down

The wicked.

They will be ashes

Under the soles

Of your feet,

On the day

When I act.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh of hosts said that the righteous, on the other hand, who revered the name of Yahweh, would be like a rising sun with healing wings.  They would be like leaping calves coming out of their stalls.  They would walk all over the wicked, so that the wicked ones would become like ashes under their feet.  All of these things were going to take place on the day when Yahweh was going to act.

Daniel does penance (Dan 9:3-9:3)

“Then I turned

To Yahweh

To seek

An answer,

By prayer,

By supplications,

With fasting,

With sackcloth,

With ashes.”

Daniel, in the first-person singular, turned to Yahweh, and not the God of heaven or the Most High God, as earlier in this book. This was the traditional Hebrew name of Yahweh. Daniel assumed the traditional role of a penitent with prayers and supplications while fasting, and wearing sackcloth with ashes on him.

Exposed iniquities of the king of Tyre (Ezek 28:17-28:19)

“Your heart was proud

Because of your beauty.

You corrupted

Your wisdom

For the sake

Of your splendor.

I cast you

To the ground.

I exposed you

Before kings,

To feast their eyes

On you.

By the multitude

Of your iniquities,

In the unrighteousness

Of your trade,

You profaned

Your sanctuaries.

Thus I brought out fire

From within you.

It consumed you.

I turned you

To ashes

On the earth,

In the sight

Of all who saw you.

All who know you

Among the people

Are appalled at you.

You have come

To a dreadful end.

You shall be no more

Forever.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, had a strong condemnation of Tyre and its king. The king of Tyre had become proud because of his beauty. His great trade wisdom had become corrupt. Yahweh cast them down, despite their splendor. He exposed them before other kings and people. Everyone was able to see the multitude of their iniquities and their unrighteous trade practices. Tyre had profaned their own sanctuaries. Yahweh then brought fire to consume them. He turned them into ashes on the ground in the sight of everyone, so that everyone was appalled at the dreadful end of Tyre, who would not exist anymore. However, Tyre did continue to exist.

The forgotten happiness (Lam 3:16-3:18)

Vav

“Yahweh has made

My teeth grind

On gravel.

He made me

Cower in ashes.

My soul is bereft

Of peace.

I have forgotten

What happiness is.

So I say.

‘Gone is my glory,

All that I had hoped for

From Yahweh.’”

This suffering person proclaims that Yahweh has made him grind his teeth on gravel, which is not a pretty thought. Yahweh made him cower or be afraid with ashes on him, as if in mourning. His soul had no peace. He had forgotten what happiness was. All the glory that he had hoped for from Yahweh was gone. He was almost in despair. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Vav in this acrostic poem.

The prophetic mission to Zion (Isa 61:2-61:3)

“Yahweh has sent me

To proclaim the year of Yahweh’s favor.

He has sent me

To proclaim the day of rescue of our God.

He has sent me

To comfort all who mourn.

He has sent me

To provide for those who mourn in Zion.

He has sent me

To give them a garland

Instead of ashes.

He has sent me

To give the oil of gladness

Instead of the oil of mourning.

He has sent me

To give the mantle of praise

Instead of a faint spirit.”

There was a clear mission to Zion. This servant or prophet was sent out to proclaim a year of Yahweh’s favor with a rescue day for those who needed comforting in their mourning for Zion. This would indicate a prophet more than a servant. This individual was sent to give flower garlands and not ashes. He was to give the oil of gladness and not the oil of mourning. He was sent to give a coat of praise rather than a faint spirit. In this sense he was more like a servant comforter to the people of Zion.