20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent:
21 “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.
22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”
These words are also found in Luke 10:13-16
Chorazin (v21) — an hour’s walk north of Capernaum — today a ruin
Bethsaida (v.21) — on the west side of the Sea of Galilee three miles southeast of Chorazin — today a very small village
Tyre and Sidon (v.21) — on the Mediterranean north of Palestine, Phoenician (Gentile) cities noted for wickedness and long destroyed — Gentiles would have been more receptive to the Lord’s message than the Jews of Chorazin and Bethsaida had been.
Capernaum, who are exalted unto heaven (v.23) — because the Lord chose it as His home and did more miracles there than anywhere else — today a ruin
The region where these three towns were located was referred to in Matthew 4:12-16: And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The term “Galilee of the Gentiles” is a reproach because that whole district had become influenced by Gentile thinking.
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