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?

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The children in the marketplace (Lk 7:32-7:32)

“This generation

Is like children

Sitting

In the market place.

They call to one another.

‘We played

The flute

For you!

But you did not dance.

We wailed!

But you did not weep.’”

 

ὅμοιοί εἰσιν παιδίοις τοῖς ἐν ἀγορᾷ καθημένοις καὶ προσφωνοῦσιν ἀλλήλοις ἃ λέγει Ηὐλήσαμεν ὑμῖν καὶ οὐκ ὠρχήσασθε· ἐθρηνήσαμεν καὶ οὐκ ἐκλαύσατε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said this generation was like little children (ὅμοιοί εἰσιν παιδίοις) sitting in the market place (τοῖς ἐν ἀγορᾷ καθημένοις).  They would call to one another (καὶ προσφωνοῦσιν ἀλλήλοις ἃ), saying that they played the flute for them (λέγει Ηὐλήσαμεν ὑμῖν), but they would not dance (καὶ οὐκ ὠρχήσασθε).  They wailed or sang a dirge (ἐθρηνήσαμεν), but they would not weep (καὶ οὐκ ἐκλαύσατε).  Matthew, chapter 11:16-17, had a similar statement, indicating a possible common Q source.  Jesus took on this childish generation, since they were like little kids sitting in the market places calling to each other, as if playing games.  These spoiled little children grumbled about everything.  This childish generation complained that John and Jesus would not dance to their flute playing.  They would not wail and lament when they wanted them to join their dirge.  Jesus and John the Baptist would not play their childish games by dancing and mourning at the drop of a hat.  Are you part of a childish generation?

Indifference (Mt 11:17-11:17)

“We played the flute

For you.

But you did not dance.

We wailed.

But you did not mourn.”

 

λέγουσιν Ηὐλήσαμεν ὑμῖν καὶ οὐκ ὠρχήσασθε· ἐθρηνήσαμεν καὶ οὐκ ἐκόψασθε·

 

Then Matthew has Jesus take on the present childish generation.  Luke, chapter 7:31, has a similar statement, word for word, indicating a possible common Q source.  This childish generation complained that John and Jesus would not dance to their flute playing (λέγουσιν Ηὐλήσαμεν ὑμῖν καὶ οὐκ ὠρχήσασθε).  They would not wail and lament when they wanted them to join their dirge (ἐθρηνήσαμεν καὶ οὐκ ἐκόψασθε).  Jesus and John the Baptist would not play their childish games by dancing and mourning at the drop of a hat.

Against the small towns in Judah (Mic 1:10-1:12)

“Tell it not in Gath!

Weep not at all

In Beth-leaphrah!

Roll yourselves in the dust!

Inhabitants of Shaphir!

Pass on your way

In nakedness and shame!

The inhabitants of Zaanan

Do not come forth

From their town.

Beth-ezel is wailing.

They shall remove its support

From you.

The inhabitants of Maroth

Wait anxiously

For good.

Yet disaster has come down

From Yahweh

To the gates of Jerusalem.”

In a play on words, Micah wailed against 10 small Judean towns near where he lived.  One of the largest towns mentioned was the old Philistine town of Gath that King Uzziah (781-740 BCE) had conquered.  Micah used the same terminology as in 2 Samuel, chapter 1, about Gath, since there should be no weeping for that town.  Then Micah turned to 5 small towns that are difficult to determine where they were.  Beth-leaphrah literally means rolling around in dust.  Shaphir literally means the fair one.  Thus, the good-looking people of this town of Shaphir should keep going in their naked shame.  On the other hand, the people of Zaanan did not come out to fight from their town.  Beth-ezel was mourning and not supporting Yahweh.  The people of Maroth were waiting anxiously for something good to happen.  Yet Yahweh sent a disaster that went as far as the gates of Jerusalem.

Wailing for the countryside of Judah (Mic 1:8-1:9)

“I will lament!

I will wail!

I will go barefoot!

I will go naked!

I will make lamentations

Like the jackals!

I will mourn

Like the ostriches!

Her wound is incurable.

It has come to Judah.

It has reached

To the gate

Of my people,

To Jerusalem.”

Next Micah lamented and wailed about the countryside around Jerusalem.  Micah was going to go barefooted and naked in his lamentation, just like the jackals or the ostriches that put their head in the sand.  This was an incurable wound to Judah that had reached the gates of Jerusalem, the holy people.