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Matthew 11:21

    Matthew 11:21 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Unhappy are you, Chorazin! Unhappy are you, Beth-saida! For if the works of power which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have been turned from their sins in days gone by, clothing themselves in haircloth and putting dust on their heads.

    Webster's Revision

    Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

    World English Bible

    "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

    Definitions for Matthew 11:21

    Woe - An expression of grief or indignation.

    Clarke's Commentary on Matthew 11:21

    Wo unto thee, Chorazin - Bethsaida! - It would be better to translate the word ουαι σοι, alas for thee, than wo to thee. The former is an exclamation of pity; the latter a denunciation of wrath. It is evident that our Lord used it in the former sense. It is not known precisely where Chorazin was situated; but as Christ joins it in the same censure with Bethsaida, which was in Upper Galilee, beyond the sea, Mark 6:45, it is likely that Chorazin was in the same quarter. Though the people in these cities were (generally) impenitent, yet there is little doubt that several received the word of life. Indeed, Bethsaida itself furnished not less than three of the twelve apostles, Philip, Andrew, and Peter. See John 1:44.

    Tyre and Sidon - Were two heathen cities, situated on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, into which it does not appear that Christ ever went, though he was often very nigh to them; see Matthew 15:21.

    They would have repented long ago - Παλαι, formerly, seems here to refer to the time of Ezekiel, who denounced destruction against Tyre and Sidon, Ezekiel 26, 27, and 28. Our Lord, then, intimates that, if Ezekiel had done as many miracles in those cities as himself had in Chorazin and Bethsaida, the inhabitants would have repented in sackcloth and ashes, with the deepest and most genuine sorrow.

    A Hindoo who renounces the secular life, and becomes a religious mendicant, often covers himself with a coarse cloth sprinkled over with ashes. This is the sackcloth and ashes which our Lord refers to; and this covering was the outward sign of deep repentance, and forsaking of sin.

    Barnes' Notes on Matthew 11:21

    Chorazin and Bethsaida - These were towns not far from Capernaum, but the precise situation is unknown. See "The Land and the Book" (Thomson), vol. ii. pp. 8, 9. Bethsaida means literally a "house of hunting" or "a house of game," and it was probably situated on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, and supported itself by hunting or fishing. It was the residence of Philip, Andrew, and Peter, John 1:44. It was enlarged by Philip the Tetrarch, and called "Julia," after the emperor's daughter.

    Tyre and Sidon - These were cities of Phoenicia, formerly very opulent, and distinguished for merchandise. They were situated on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and were in the western part of Judea. They were therefore well known to the Jews. Tyre is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament as being the place through which Solomon derived many of the materials for building the temple, 2 Chronicles 2:11-16. It was also a place against which one of the most important and pointed prophecies of Isaiah was directed. See the notes at Isaiah 23. Compare Ezekiel 26:4-14. Both these cities were very ancient. Sidon was situated within the bounds of the tribe of Asher Joshua 19:28, but this tribe could never get possession of it, Judges 1:31. It was famous for its great trade and navigation. Its inhabitants were the first remarkable merchants in the world, and were much celebrated for their luxury. In the time of our Saviour it was probably a city of much splendor and extensive commerce. It is now called Seide, or Saide, and is far less populous and splendid than it was in the time of Christ. It was subdued successively by the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Romans, the latter of whom deprived it of its freedom.

    Messrs. Fisk and King, American missionaries, passed through Sidon in the summer of 1823, and estimated the population, as others have estimated it, at 8,000 or 10,000; but Mr. Goodell, another American missionary, took up his residence there in June, 1824, for the purpose of studying the Armenian language with a bishop of the Armenian Church who lives there, and of course had far better opportunities to know the statistics of the place. He tells us there are six Muslim mosques, a Jewish synagogue, a Maronite, Latin, and Greek church. Dr. Thomson ("The Land and the Book," vol. i. p. 164) supposes that the population may now be about 10,000 - about 6,800 Moslems, 850 Greek Catholics, 750 Maronites, 150 Greeks, and 300 Jews. It exports tobacco, oil, fruit, and silk, but the amount of exports is small.

    Tyre was situated about 20 miles south of Sidon. It was built partly on a small island about 70 paces from the shore, and partly on the mainland. It was a city of great extent and splendor, and extensive commerce. It abounded in luxury and wickedness. It was often besieged. It held out against Shalmaneser five years, and was taken by Nebuchadnezzar after a siege of "thirteen" years. It was afterward rebuilt, and was at length taken by Alexander the Great, after a most obstinate siege of five months. There are no signs now of the ancient city. It is the residence only of a few miserable fishermen, and contains, amid the ruins of its former magnificence, only a few huts. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Ezekiel: "Thou shalt be built no more; though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again" Ezekiel 26:21. For a description of Tyre as it was formerly and as it is now, see the notes at Isaiah 23.

    In sackcloth and ashes - Sackcloth was a coarse cloth, like canvas, used for the dress of the poor, and for the more common articles of domestic economy. It was worn also as a sign of mourning. The Jews also frequently threw ashes on their heads as expressive of grief, Job 1:21; Job 2:12; Jeremiah 6:26. The meaning is, that they would have repented with "expressions of deep sorrow." Like Nineveh, they would have seen their guilt and danger, and would have turned from their iniquities. "Heathen" cities would have received him better than the cities of the Jews, his native land,

    Wesley's Notes on Matthew 11:21

    11:21 Wo to thee, Chorazin - That is, miserable art thou. For these are not curses or imprecations, as has been commonly supposed; but a solemn, compassionate declaration of the misery they were bringing on themselves. Chorazin and Bethsaida were cities of Galilee, standing by the lake Gennesareth. Tyre and Sidon were cities of Phenicia, lying on the sea shore. The inhabitants of them were heathens. Luke 10:13.