“Woe to you!
Woe to you!
If the deeds of power
Done in you
Had been done
And in Sidon,
They would have repented
But I tell you!
On the day of judgment,
It will be more tolerable
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
“Thus says Yahweh God!
‘The house of Judah is
Like all the other nations.’”
Instead of a very long diatribe against Moab, as in Jeremiah, chapter 48, and Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16, Ezekiel has only a few short comments. Moab was the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. The Moabites, like the Ammonites, had been involved in many quarrels and battles with the Israelites, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is also the country of Jordan, like Ammon. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter as in Genesis, chapter 19. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse. For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Here the complaint against Moab was that they said that Judah was like the other countries and not unique.
“You have heard
You have heard
All their plots
With the murmurs
Of my assailants
Are against me
All day long.
Whether they sit
Or whether they rise,
I am the object
Of their taunt songs.”
This personalized lamentation approach continues with a complaint against his enemies who taunt him. They plot against him with whispers and murmurs all day long. Whether they are sitting around or moving about, they continue to make him the object of their taunting songs. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Shin in this acrostic poem.
“When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Observe carefully what is before you.
Put a knife to your throat
If you have a big appetite.
Do not desire the ruler’s delicacies.
They are deceptive foods.”
If you are eating at the table of a ruler, be very observant. Put a knife to your throat, which means don’t eat everything, if you have a big appetite. Do not eat the delicacies of the ruler, because they are deceptive foods. Be on your best behavior and eat what is given you without complaint.
“Yet they sinned still more against him.
They rebelled against the Most High.
In the desert,
They tested God in their heart.
They demanded the food they craved.
They spoke against God.
‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
Even though he had struck the rock
So that water gushed out,
The streams overflowed.
Can he also give bread?
Can he provide meat for his people?
Therefore, when Yahweh heard this,
He was full of rage.
A fire was kindled against Jacob.
His anger mounted against Israel.
They had no faith in God.
They did not trust his saving power.”
This complaint is based on Exodus, chapter 16. The Israelites rebelled against God in the desert. They wanted to test God. They demanded their food. They complained that things were better in Egypt. How was God going to provide food for them in the desert wilderness? They already had water from rocks, but that was not good enough. They also wanted bread and meat. This got Yahweh angry and mad at Jacob that is Israel. They had no faith in God and were not trusting in his saving power.
To the choirmaster leader with stringed instruments, a Maskil of David
“Give ear to my prayer!
Do not hide yourself from my supplication!
Attend to me!
I am troubled in my complaint.
I am distraught,
By the noise of the enemy,
Because of the clamor of the wicked,
They bring trouble upon me.
They cherish enmity against me.”
Psalm 55 is a prayer of David. He felt that he was being persecuted and betrayed. Once again this is a choral psalm with stringed instruments attributed to David. David wanted God to hear his prayer and not hide from him. He wanted an answer right away. He was in trouble and distraught because of his enemies, a common theme of these psalms. The wicked enemies were out to get him. He was going to call on God to help him.