Matt. 11:20-24; Luke 10:13-15
(Huck 66, 139; Aland 108, 178; Crook 127, 202)
Updated: 27 May 2022
[וַיָּחֶל לְחָרֵף אֶת הֶעָרִים שֶׁלֹּא עָשׂוּ תְּשׁוּבָה לֵאמֹר] אִי לָךְ כְּרָזִין אִי לָךְ בֵּית צַיְדָן שֶׁאִילּוּ בְּצוֹר וְצִידוֹן נַעֲשׂוּ הַגְּבוּרוֹת שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹשִׂים בָּכֶן כְּבָר הָיוּ ישְׁבוֹת בְּשַׂק וָאֵפֶר וְעוֹשׂוֹת תְּשׁוּבָה אֲבָל לְצוֹר וְצִידוֹן נוֹחַ יִהְיֶה בַּדִּין מִכֶּן וְאַתְּ כְּפַר נַחוּם הַשָּׁמַיִם תִּתְעַלִּי אֶל שְׁאוֹל תּוּרְדִי שֶׁאִילּוּ בִּסְדוֹם נַעֲשׂוּ הַגְּבוּרוֹת שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹשִׂים בָּךְ הָיְתָה קַיֶּמֶת עַד הַיּוֹם אֲבָל לִסְדוֹם נוֹחַ יִהְיֶה בַּדִּין מִמֵּךְ[Thereupon Yeshua began upbraiding certain villages that had not repented, saying:] “Woe to you, Kerazin! Woe to you, Bet Tzaydan! For if the mighty deeds that God performed in you had been performed in Tzor and Tzidon, the inhabitants of those cities would have long since sat in sacking and ashes and repented. But now it will be easier in the final judgment for Tzor and Tzidon than it will be for you.
“And as for you, Kefar Nahum! Will you be elevated to the celestial spheres? No! You will end up in the netherworld. For if the mighty deeds that God performed in you had been performed in Sedom, it would have continued to be a thriving city to this very day. But now it will be easier in the final judgment for Sedom than it will be for you.
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To view the reconstructed text of Woes on Three Villages, click on the link below:
In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke the Woes on Three Villages appear in different literary contexts, but in each Gospel they appear in blocks of material derived from the Anthology (Anth.), the pre-synoptic source that, according to Robert Lindsey’s hypothesis, was shared by the authors of Luke and Matthew. In Luke the Woes on Three Villages appear in the Sending the Seventy-two discourse (Luke 10:1-16), which represents the version of Mission of the Twelve that the author of Luke copied from Anth. In Matthew, on the other hand, the Woes on Three Villages are appended to a block of material concerning John the Baptist (Matt. 11:2-19) which, with the exception of Matt. 11:14-15 (John the Baptist Is Elijah), the author of Matthew copied from Anth. These different settings of the Woes on Three Villages in Luke and Matthew notwithstanding, scholars have noted that there is a general agreement in Luke and Matthew regarding the sequence of the Woes on Three Villages in relation to several other Lukan-Matthean pericopae.
In Luke the following pericopae appear in immediate sequence:
Woes on Three Villages (Luke 10:13-15)→Apostle and Sender (Luke 10:16)→Return of the Twelve (Luke 10:17-20)→Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn (Luke 10:21)
In Matthew a similar sequence emerges if we disregard intervening materials:
Apostle and Sender (Matt. 10:40)…Woes on Three Villages (Matt. 11:20-24)→(Matthew’s Gospel omits Return of the Twelve)→Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn (Matt. 11:25-26)
It is likely that this shared pericope sequence reflects the order in Anth.
We believe the Anthologizer (the author of Anth.) appended Woes on Three Villages to the end of the Sending the Twelve discourse following Apostle and Sender. He probably did this because of the strong resemblance between the denunciation of Capernaum (which compares Capernaum to Sodom) and the instructions near the end of the Sending discourse (Matt. 10:15 ∥ Luke 10:12) about villages that refuse to welcome the apostles (which compare their fate to that of Sodom and Gomorrah). By appending Woes on Three Villages to the end of the Sending discourse, the Anthologizer followed the same procedure he had used when he appended the blessing on people who are insulted (Matt. 5:11-12 ∥ Luke 6:22-23) to the original core of the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-10 ∥ Luke 6:20-21) and when he added Like Children Complaining (Matt. 11:16-19 ∥ Luke 7:31-35) to the end of a block of material on John the Baptist (Matt. 11:2-13 ∥ Luke 7:18-28).
The respective authors of Luke and Matthew perceived that the Woes on Three Villages were a mere appendix to the Sending discourse, but each author dealt with this realization in a different manner. The author of Luke’s approach was to tuck the appended woes inside the main body of the discourse by combining the Woes on Three Villages with the saying about inhospitable towns ending up worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. Absorbing the woes into the Sending discourse allowed the author of Luke to preserve Anth.’s association of the Woes on Three Villages with the Mission of the Twelve, but in doing so the author of Luke was obliged to severely abbreviate the denunciation of Capernaum (see below, Comment to L20-28). As a result, Luke’s version of Woes on Three Villages lacks the complete parallelism (preserved in Matthew’s version) between the woes against Chorazin and Bethsaida and the denunciation of Capernaum.
The author of Matthew’s realization that the Woes on Three Villages were not an original part of the Sending discourse set him at liberty to relocate the woes to a point he deemed more appropriate. Nevertheless, the author of Matthew was sufficiently impressed by Anth.’s association of the Woes on Three Villages with the saying on Sodom and Gomorrah in the Sending discourse (Matt. 10:15 ∥ Luke 10:12) that he allowed some of the language from the Sending discourse to seep into his version of Woes on Three Villages (see below, Comment to L12 and Comment to L15).
If we are correct that it was the Anthologizer who appended Woes on Three Villages to the Sending discourse, then we must ask ourselves where these woes might have appeared in the Hebrew Life of Yeshua. It seems probable to us that Woes on Three Villages was originally related to Calamities in Yerushalayim (Luke 13:1-5). In that pericope Jesus is informed about the massacre of Galilean pilgrims perpetrated by the Judean governor, Pontius Pilate. In response to this news Jesus calls his audience to repentance. “If such atrocities can befall pious worshippers,” Jesus warned, “what do you think will happen to you if you do not repent?”
As we argued in Calamities in Yerushalayim, Jesus’ call to repentance in this pericope was not a vague summons to self-examination, it reflected Jesus’ conviction that the prevailing social and political trajectory was setting Israel on a collision course with the Roman Empire. Zeal ideology and militant Jewish nationalism were on the rise, and Jesus predicted that unless this dangerous tide was stemmed, it would lead to catastrophe for all Israel. Only by repenting and accepting the Kingdom of Heaven through pursuing the ways of peace could this crisis be averted and redemption be achieved.
Another connecting link between Calamities in Yerushalayim and Woes on Three Villages is the comparison of the judgment awaiting Israel to the fates of Gentile populations whom God had punished in the past. In Calamities in Yerushalayim this comparison exists in the Hebrew substratum of the text, where we detected an allusion to Deut. 8:20 in Jesus’ warning that “this is how you will be destroyed.” In Deuteronomy the phrase “this is how you will be destroyed” occurs in Moses’ warning that if Israel forgets the LORD, they will be destroyed just like the Gentiles who were driven out from the land of Canaan. In Woes on Three Villages the comparison of unrepentant Jews to the judgment that fell upon Gentiles is explicit: at the final judgment it will be easier for notoriously wicked Gentile cities than for the unrepentant Galilean villages.
A third connecting link between Calamities in Yerushalayim and Woes on Three Villages is the alternating north-south orientation of Jesus’ examples. In Calamities in Yerushalayim the pericope begins with an incident involving Galileans (from the north) and then shifts to an incident involving Jerusalemites (from the south). Similarly, in Woes on Three Villages Chorazin and Bethsaida are compared to two northern cities (Tyre and Sidon), while Capernaum is compared to a southern city (Sodom).
If we are correct in linking Woes on Three Villages to the same kind of political views expressed in Calamities in Yerushalayim, then it is easier to overcome one of the main hurdles some New Testament scholars have raised against accepting the authenticity of Woes on Three Villages. These scholars prefer to attribute the woes to the early church because they cannot imagine Jesus condemning his fellow Jews simply for failing to believe in him. In other words, they assume Jesus summoned his contemporaries to repent for disbelieving his messianic claims. We are entirely sympathetic to these scholars’ skepticism that Jesus could have behaved in this way. However, we believe it is a mistake to conflate the repentance Jesus called for in Calamities in Yerushalayim and Woes on Three Villages with putting one’s faith in Jesus’ person. Jesus’ summons was not to repent from doubting whether he was the Messiah, but to repent from a disastrous course of action based on the misguided belief that zeal for political independence through violent means could usher in the redemption of Israel.
Once the Woes on Three Villages are placed back into their original literary context, the intention behind Jesus’ call for repentance becomes clearer and more historically credible. For an overview of the entire “Choose Repentance or Destruction” complex, click here.Click here to view the Map of the Conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua. __________________________________________________________________
Conjectured Stages of Transmission
In the foregoing discussion we indicated our supposition that the authors of Luke and Matthew each copied Woes on Three Villages from the Anthology. This supposition finds additional support in the high level of verbal identity between the Lukan and Matthean versions of Woes on Three Villages, since Lindsey attributed high Lukan-Matthean verbal identity to their common reliance on Anth. Relatively low levels of verbal identity in Double Tradition (DT) pericopae he explained as the result of the author of Luke’s reliance on the First Reconstruction where the author of Matthew had relied upon Anth.
- Why would it be worse in the final judgment for unrepentant Jewish villages in the Galilee than for notoriously wicked Gentile cities?
- What is the meaning of being brought down to Hades?
L1-4 Many scholars are inclined to view the whole of Matt. 11:20 as a redactional introduction to Matthew’s version of Woes on Three Villages. But as Manson pointed out, if Woes on Three Villages was merely appended to the end of the Sending discourse, as we suppose, it is possible that the woes did open with a brief narrative introduction. The absence of a parallel to Matt. 11:20 in Luke’s version of the woes is hardly decisive, since the author of Luke would have needed to trim away any such narrative introduction in order to combine Woes on Three Villages with the saying about inhospitable towns in the Sending discourse. While we agree that Matt. 11:20 is certainly redactional in its present form, we remain open to the possibility that the author of Matthew based Matt. 11:20 on a similar introduction in his source (Anth.). However, since doubts remain, we have placed our tentative reconstruction of the narrative introduction to Woes on Three Villages within brackets.
L1 [καὶ ἤρξατο ὀνειδίζειν (GR). The narrative τότε (tote, “then”) with which the author of Matthew opens Woes on Three Villages is characteristic of the author of Matthew’s compositional style and atypical for stories translated into Greek from a Hebrew source. It is unlikely, therefore, that τότε appeared in Anth. If Anth.’s version of Woes on Three Villages did include a narrative introduction, then Matthew’s τότε has probably taken the place of καί (kai, “and”).
Davies and Allison regarded the phrase τότε ἤρξατο (tote ērxato, “then he began”) as indicative of Matthean redaction, since this combination occurs only in Matthew among the Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 4:17; 11:20; 16:21; 26:74), but this observation is misleading. The combination of τότε + ἄρχειν is restricted to Matthew on account of the Matthean proliferation of narrative τότε, not because of the author of Matthew’s special preference for the verb ἄρχειν, as Matthew’s addition of τότε to instances of ἄρχειν copied from Mark shows (Matt. 16:21 ∥ Mark 8:31; Matt. 26:74 ∥ Mark 14:71). In Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, Comment to L29, we observed that when the author of Matthew used the construction ἄρχειν + infinitive (e.g., ἤρξατο ὀνειδίζειν [ērxato oneidizein, “he began to reproach”]), it was usually taken over from his sources (either Mark or Anth.), so there is no obstacle to accepting Matthew’s ἄρχειν + infinitive in L1 for GR.
The verb ὀνειδίζειν (oneidizein, “to reproach”) can hardly be considered Matthean, for although this verb occurs more often in Matthew than in either of the other Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 3xx; Mark 2xx; Luke 1x), the author of Matthew clearly accepted at least two of his three instances from his sources. The author of Matthew used ὀνειδίζειν once in agreement with Mark (TT: Matt. 27:44 ∥ Mark 15:32; cf. Luke 23:39) and once in agreement with Luke (DT: Matt. 5:11 ∥ Luke 6:22). Moreover, the verb ὀνειδίζειν occurs about 40xx in LXX books with counterparts in MT, so there is no reason to suppose that ὀνειδίζειν could not have occurred in a translation-Greek text such as Anth. Indeed, the Lukan-Matthean agreement to write ὀνειδίζειν in Matt. 5:11 ∥ Luke 6:22 is solid evidence that the verb did occur at least this once in Anth., and if it could occur once, then why not also in Anth.’s pre-redacted version of Matt. 11:20? Thus there is nothing to hinder us from accepting ὀνειδίζειν in L1 for GR.
וַיָּחֶל לְחָרֵף] (HR). On reconstructing ἄρχειν (archein, “to begin”) with הֵחֵל (hēḥēl, “begin”), see Widow’s Son in Nain, Comment to L17.
In LXX ὀνειδίζειν usually occurs as the translation of חֵרֵף (ḥērēf, “taunt,” “reproach”). We also find that the LXX translators usually rendered חֵרֵף with ὀνειδίζειν. Hence our reconstruction with חֵרֵף rests on a solid foundation.
L2 τὰς πόλεις ἃς (GR). If Woes on Three Villages had a narrative introduction in Anth., it was probably less elaborate that Matthew’s. Whereas Matthew’s introduction states that Jesus reproached “the cities in which most of his powerful deeds happened, because they did not repent,” Anth.’s version might simply have stated that Jesus reproached “the cities that did not repent.” In any case, such a reconstruction of Anth.’s wording eliminates those parts of Matt. 11:20 that are most difficult to revert to Hebrew.
If this was the kind of adaptation the author of Matthew made to Anth.’s introduction, then in L2 he probably accomplished this by writing ἐν αἷς ἐγένοντο (en hais egenonto, “in which happened”) in place of an original ἃς (has, “which,” “that”) belonging to the phrase τὰς πόλεις ἃς οὐ μετενόησαν (tas poleis has ou metenoēsan, “the cities that did not repent”).
אֶת הֶעָרִים (HR). On reconstructing πόλις (polis, “city”) with עִיר (‘ir, “city,” “town”), see Widow’s Son in Nain, Comment to L2. Using the term πόλις in Matt. 11:20 to describe the villages of Chorazin and Capernaum may reflect the wording of a Hebrew undertext, since neither of these rural villages had any of the markings of a Greco-Roman polis. However, it would not be unusual in Hebrew to refer to a rural village as an עִיר, which might have then been translated into Greek as πόλις.
Bethsaida, indeed, was raised to the status of a polis and renamed Julias during Philip’s rule as tetrarch (Jos., Ant. 18:28), but this conferral of status probably did not take place until 30 C.E. Thus, when Jesus performed his healings and exorcisms all three localities mentioned in the woes were villages, with Bethsaida perhaps already beginning to undergo the transformation into a polis.
L3 αἱ πλεῖσται δυνάμεις αὐτοῦ (Matt. 11:20). Given the difficulty of reverting this phrase to Hebrew, we have omitted Matthew’s wording in L3 from GR. Matthew’s use of the superlative adjective πλεῖστος (pleistos, “most”) is un-Hebraic in as much as Hebrew lacks superlatives, and the adjective→noun sequence is the opposite of Hebrew word order. The superlative πλεῖστος never occurs in the Gospel of Luke, and it occurs only once in Mark (Mark 4:1) and twice in Matthew (Matt. 11:20; 21:8), neither instance being in agreement with Luke or Mark. So those scholars who attribute the use of πλεῖστος in Matt. 11:20 to Matthean redaction are probably correct. The reference to δυνάμεις (dūnameis, “powerful deeds”), presumably healings and exorcisms, or what we might conveniently call “miracles,” is probably derived from the content of the woes themselves (L8, L21).
It is not entirely clear how the author of Matthew intended his description in L3 to be understood. Did he mean to refer to the cities in which “most” of Jesus’ miracles took place, or to the cities in which Jesus’ “greatest” (or “most important”) miracles took place?
L4 οὐ μετενόησαν λέγων] (GR). From GR we have omitted Matthew’s ὅτι (hoti, “because”), which in our reconstruction would be ungrammatical. Anth. probably would not have read καὶ ἤρξατο ὀνειδίζειν τὰς πόλεις ὅτι οὐ μετενόησαν (“and he began to reproach the cities because they did not repent”) without having first identified which cities were meant. On the other hand, καὶ ἤρξατο ὀνειδίζειν τὰς πόλεις ἃς οὐ μετενόησαν (“and he began to reproach the cities that did not repent”) could well have occurred in a pre-synoptic source. The Matthean additions in L2-3 would have afforded the author of Matthew the opportunity to introduce an ὅτι clause in L4, which mirrors the ὅτι clauses in L7 and L20.
Our addition of λέγων (legōn, “saying”) to the end of L4 is purely conjectural, but is consistent with the supposition of an underlying Hebrew text.[שֶׁלֹּא עָשׂוּ תְּשׁוּבָה לֵאמֹר (HR). The relative pronoun -שֶׁ (she-, “that”) corresponds to the ἃς in GR L2. On reconstructing ὅς (hos, “which,” “that”) with -שֶׁ, see Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl, Comment to L5.
On reconstructing μετανοεῖν (metanoein, “to repent”) with עָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה (‘āsāh teshūvāh, “do repentance”), see Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, Comment to L36.
On reconstructing participial forms of λέγειν (legein, “to say”) with the infinitive construct לֵאמֹר (lē’mor, “to say”), see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L5-6.
L5-19 As we have already noted, in the section where the woes are paralleled in Luke and Matthew there is a high level of verbal agreement. Where the Lukan and Matthean versions are identical the wording of Anth. cannot be in doubt. Therefore, GR in L5-19 will only require comment when the wording of the Lukan and Matthean versions of Woes on Three Villages diverges.
L5 אִי לָךְ כְּרָזִין (HR). In LXX most instances of the interjection οὐαί (ouai, “Woe!”) occur as the translation of הוֹי (hōy, “Woe!”) or אוֹי (’ōy, “Woe!”). The former, הוֹי, is usually a stand-alone expression, as we see, for instance, in Isaiah’s exclamation הוֹי גּוֹי חֹטֵא (hōy gōy ḥoṭē’, “Woe! Sinful nation!”; Isa. 1:4). On the other hand, אוֹי is usually accompanied by the preposition -לְ with the meaning “Woe to…,” as we see in another exclamation from Isaiah, אוֹי לְרָשָׁע (’ōy lerāshā‘, “Woe to the wicked!”; Isa. 3:11). In such cases the LXX translators usually rendered -אוֹי לְ with οὐαί + dative—for instance, οὐαὶ τῷ ἀνόμῳ (ouai tō anomō, “Woe to the lawless!; Isa. 3:11). Therefore, אוֹי לָךְ (’ōy lāch, “Woe to you!”) would be a perfectly justifiable reconstruction of οὐαί σοι (ouai soi, “Woe to you!”). The feminine לָךְ (lāch, “to you”) is preferable because cities and towns were addressed in the feminine, for example:
אוֹי לָךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַם
Woe to you, Jerusalem! (Jer. 13:27)
οὐαί σοι, Ιερουσαλημ
Woe to you, Jerusalem! (Jer. 13:27)
However, in late Biblical Hebrew the interjection אִי (’i, “Woe!”) began to appear (Eccl. 4:10; 10:16) as an equivalent to אוֹי, and it is well attested in rabbinic sources. The LXX translators rendered the two biblical instances of אִי with οὐαί, demonstrating that אִי is a viable option for HR:
וְאִילוֹ הָאֶחָד שֶׁיִּפּוֹל וְאֵין שֵׁנִי לַהֲקִימוֹ
And woe to him [וְאִילוֹ] who is alone, who falls and there is not a second person to pick him up! (Eccl. 4:10)
καὶ οὐαὶ αὐτῷ τῷ ἑνί, ὅταν πέσῃ καὶ μὴ ᾖ δεύτερος τοῦ ἐγεῖραι αὐτόν
And woe to him [καὶ οὐαὶ αὐτῷ] that is alone, when he might fall and there is not a second person to pick him up! (Eccl. 4:10)
אִי לָךְ אֶרֶץ שֶׁמַּלְכֵּךְ נָעַר
Woe to you [אִי לָךְ], O land, whose king is a youth! (Eccl. 10:16)
οὐαί σοι, πόλις, ἧς ὁ βασιλεύς σου νεώτερος
Woe to you [οὐαί σοι], O city, whose king is younger! (Eccl. 10:16)
ר′ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹ′ אִי לוֹ עַל אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאִי לוֹ עַל אֵשֶׁת אָחִיו
Rabbi Yehoshua says, “Woe to him [אִי לוֹ] on account of his wife! And woe to him [אִי לוֹ] on account of his brother’s wife!” (m. Yev. 13:7)
אִי לְרָשָׁע אִי לִשְׁכֵנוֹ
Woe to [-אִי לְ] the wicked! Woe to [-אִי לְ] his neighbor! (m. Neg. 12:6)
אָמַ′ ר′ יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּיִי אִי לִי אִם אוֹמַר אִי לִי אִם לֹא אוֹמַר
Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai said, “Woe to me [אִי לִי] if I say [something]. Woe to me [אִי לִי] if I do not say [anything].” (m. Kel. 17:16)
Notice that in these mishnaic examples the woes appear in pairs, similar to the pair of woes concerning Chorazin and Bethsaida. Could the Hebrew convention of double woes explain why the woe form was dropped in the denunciation of Capernaum, since, unlike Chorazin and Bethsaida, Capernaum was not paired with another village?
Exclamations of “Woe!” were usually uttered in response to a death or a similarly catastrophic event, or else blurted out in anticipation of some impending disaster. As such, woe exclamations typically express an urgency and immediacy that does not comport well with the eschatological focus of the second half of Jesus’ saying (L12-16), which zooms out to consider the sentences to be meted out against the Gentile cities and the Jewish villages at the final judgment. This temporal discrepancy in Woes on Three Villages between the immediacy of the “Woe!” exclamations and the ultimate fates of these populations in the eschatological future is felt even more keenly if we accept Flusser’s contention that Jesus adhered to a timetable according to which the eschaton was still in the distant future. If the only catastrophe these villages would suffer was in the far distant future, why did Jesus address them in such urgent terms? The solution may be that just as in Calamities in Yerushalayim, where Jesus warned of two sources of punishment (the first from the Romans for political insurrection, the second from God for disobedience to the covenant), so in Woes on Three Villages there are two temporal foci at play: an immediate threat of destruction at the hands of the Romans and an eschatological threat of destruction at the final judgment.
This solution finds confirmation in the denunciation of Capernaum, where Jesus warns that this Galilean village will be brought down to Hades or Sheol (L19). The imagery of Capernaum’s being cast into the netherworld implies some kind of destruction or catastrophe, but as we will discuss below in Comment to L19, Hades/Sheol is not an eschatological concept; it is the place where the dead await the resurrection and the final judgment. Thus, in the denunciation of Capernaum we likely have dual temporal foci: an impending disaster (presumably at the hands of the Romans) that will bring Capernaum down to Hades/Sheol, where the people of Sodom are presently located (L17-23), and the final judgment when the people of Capernaum and the inhabitants of Sodom rise from Hades/Sheol to receive their final verdicts from God (L24-28). The dual foci on imperial and divine consequences for failure to repent forms yet another literary and conceptual bond between Calamities in Yerushalayim and Woes on Three Villages.
Reconstructing the name Χοραζείν (Chorazein, “Chorazin”) is problematic because this village is not definitely attested in Hebrew sources. It is possible, but by no means certain, that the Chorazin Jesus referred to is mentioned in the following baraita:
אמר רבי יוסי אף חיטי כרזיים וכפר אחים אלמלא סמוכות לירושלים היו מביאין מהן לפי שאין מביאין את העומר אלא מן השדות המודרמות והמנונרות לכך שבהן חמה זורחת ומהן חמה שוקעת
Rabbi Yose said, “Also the wheat of Karzayim [כַּרְזַיִים] and of Kefar Ahim, if they had been close to Jerusalem, they would have brought [the omer] from them, since they do not bring the omer except from fields that face southward and that were repeatedly plowed for that purpose, for on such [fields] the sun rises and sets.” (b. Men. 85a)
From Rabbi Yose’s testimony we learn only that there was a wheat-producing town named כַּרְזַיִים (karzayim, “Karzayim”) with south-facing fields within the land of Israel but located a considerable distance from Jerusalem. While this description is not inconsistent with Chorazin, it is equally possible that Rabbi Yose referred to some other village in another part of Israel. Contributing to our uncertainty is a seemingly parallel baraita in the Tosefta, which appears to contradict the Bavli’s version in nearly every respect:
כל המנחות באות מן הארץ ומחוצה לארץ מן החדש ומן הישן חוץ מן העומר ושתי הלחם שאין באין אלא מן החדש ומן הארץ וכולן אין באין אלא מן המובחר שנ′ וכל מבחר נדריכם איזהו מובחר שלהן מכמס זו לחה אלפא לסולת שנייה לה עפריים בבקעה ר′ יוסי אומר אף חיטי ברחיים וכפר אחוס אלו היו בצד ירושלים ומהן היו מביאין
All the grain offerings come from the land [of Israel] and from outside the land [of Israel], from what is new and from what is old, except for the omer and the two loaves, which are only brought from what is new and from the land [of Israel], but all of them are only brought from the choicest [grain], as it is said, and all your choice vows [Deut. 12:11]. And what is the choicest of them? Michmas, that is Laha, is A-grade for fine flour. Second to it is Afarayim in the valley. Rabbi Yose says, “There was also the wheat of Barhayim [בַּרְחַיִים] and of Kefar Ahus, which were beside Jerusalem, and from there they would bring [the omer?—DNB and JNT].” (t. Men. 9:2 [ed. Zuckermandel, 525])
While it is possible that the above-cited baraitot are independent and complementary—one about towns near Jerusalem and the other about towns far from Jerusalem—that does not seem very likely. The strong similarity of the names makes it more probable that these are two conflicting versions of Rabbi Yose’s testimony. The names כְּפַר אַחוּס (kefar ’aḥūs, “Kefar Ahus”; t. Men. 9:2) and כְּפַר אַחִים (kefar ’aḥim, “Kefar Ahim”; b. Men. 85a) are graphically similar and could easily be confused in the course of transmission. Likewise, the names בַּרְחַיִים (barḥayim, “Barhayim”) and כַּרְזַיִים (karzayim, “Karzayim”) are graphically similar enough to be confused with one another. Of course, even if these are conflicting versions, we cannot assume that one version or the other was so garbled as to be nonsensical. If there were two villages, one named Karzayim and the other named Barhayim, and if both produced quality wheat, those facts could have contributed to the conflicting versions.
One further difficulty with the toponym כַּרְזַיִים is that while its consonants agree (more or less) with those of Χοραζείν—the shift between the final mem of כַּרְזַיִים and the final nu of Χοραζείν is not unusual —the vowels are not a perfect match. Of course, we do not know whether the received vocalization of כַּרְזַיִים with the dual ending is original. While Χοραζείν might be construed as equivalent to כַּרְזַיִים, it is a stretch, and there are many other possibilities: כּוֹרָזִין (kōrāzin), כְּרָזִין (kerāzin) or כּוֹרְזִין (kōrezin). Additionally, חוֹרָזִין (ḥōrāzin) or חוֹרְזִין (ḥōrezin) also seem possible.
With so little to go on, we can only hazard our best guess as to the Hebrew form of the name Chorazin. As Ilan noted, when Hebrew names were put into Greek, the Greek letter chi (χ) usually transliterated kaf (כ). To represent a holam (וֹ) (as in כּוֹרָזִין) we might have expected an omega (ω), whereas a vocal sheva (ְ ) was put into Greek as an omicron (ο) in names like כְּבָר=Χοβαρ, כְּדָרְלָעֹמֶר=Χοδολλογομορ and כְּרִית=Χορραθ. The Greek letter rho (ρ) is the expected equivalent of resh (ר) and, when followed by alpha (α), is used to represent kamatz (ָ ) in names such as רָחָב=Ῥαάβ, רָמָה=Ῥαμά, רָאמֹת=Ῥαμώθ, רָפָה=Ραφά, and רָחֵל=Ῥαχήλ. The Greek letter zeta (ζ) usually transliterated zayin (ז), the vowels iota (ι) or epsilon + iota (ει) naturally indicate hireq (ִ ), and the Greek letter nu (ν) naturally represents nun (נ). The result is כְּרָזִין (kerāzin) as a reasonable reconstruction of Χοραζείν for GR.
L6 οὐαί σοι Βηθσαϊδάν (GR). In L6 Luke and Matthew are in agreement, but in both Gospels there is a textual variant, with some manuscripts reading the more familiar Βηθσαϊδά (Bēthsaida, “Bethsaida”) and others reading Βηθσαϊδάν (Bethsaidan, “Bethsaidan”). Codex Vaticanus, upon which our reconstruction is based, is divided, reading the latter in Matt. 11:21 and the former in Luke 10:13. The one time Bethsaida is mentioned in the writings of Josephus by that name, it occurs as Βηθσαϊδά (Ant. 18:28), without the final nu (-ν), but we have to consider that the text of Josephus was transmitted by Christian scribes who might have conformed Josephus’ spelling to that which was more familiar to them from the New Testament.
We have three reasons for preferring the less familiar form Βηθσαϊδάν for GR. First, it is only natural that later scribes would “correct” an unusual spelling to the more familiar form of the name. Second, a village by the name of צַיְדָן (tzaydān), which some scholars have suggested is none other than the Bethsaida of the Gospels, is mentioned in rabbinic literature (see below). The final nun in the name צַיְדָן would certainly correspond to the final nu of the variant reading Βηθσαϊδάν in NT MSS, while the omission of בֵּית (bēt, “house of”) corresponding to the Βηθ- (Bēth-) of Βηθσαϊδάν poses no serious obstacle, since the omission or addition at different historical periods of the בֵּית element in Jewish place names is a familiar phenomenon. So we have Hebrew sources that support the spelling Βηθσαϊδάν, whereas the forms בֵּית צַיְדָה (bēt tzaydāh) or בֵּית צַיְדָא (bēt tzaydā’), suggested by some scholars, are merely conjectural reconstructions not supported by external attestations. Third, it seems probable that in the Hebrew substratum of the synoptic tradition there was a wordplay on the names of “Bethsaida” and “Sidon” (צִידוֹן [tzidōn]), but such a wordplay would indicate the spelling Βηθσαϊδάν (= בֵּית צַיְדָן).
We do not rule out the possibility that the New Testament Bethsaida was known by two variant forms of the same name in Jesus’ time: בֵּית צַיְדָה (or בֵּית צַיְדָא) and בֵּית צַיְדָן. The coexistence of two slightly different Hebrew names for the town we know as Bethsaida would explain the variant spellings in the Gospels. In that case we would hypothesize that Jesus purposely referred to the town by the name בֵּית צַיְדָן in Woes on Three Villages in order to capitalize on the potential wordplay with the Hebrew name of Sidon, צִידוֹן.
אִי לָךְ בֵּית צַיְדָן (HR). On reconstructing οὐαί (ouai, “Woe!”) with אִי (’i, “Woe!”), see above, Comment to L5.
In LXX we find that the בֵּית (bēt, “house of”) element in place names was often transliterated as Βαιθ- (Baith-): for instance, בֵּית אֵל=Βαιθήλ, בֵּית לֶחֶם=Βαιθλέεμ, and בֵּית חוֹרֹן=Βαιθωρών. However, there are plenty of instances where the LXX translators rendered the בֵּית element as Βηθ- (Bēth-), just as we find in the name Βηθσαϊδάν (“Bethsaidan”): for instance, בֵּית עַזְמָוֶת=Βηθασμώθ, בֵּית הַכֶּרֶם=Βηθαχαρμ, and בֵּית צוּר=Βηθσούρ. The last of these transliterated names also furnishes an example of how the Hebrew letter tzade (צ) was represented in Greek with sigma (σ).
We have already discussed how we believe the -σαϊδάν (-saidan) element of Βηθσαϊδάν likely reflects the name צַיְדָן (“Tzaydan”), which in rabbinic sources may refer to the town known as Bethsaida in the Gospels. The following are two rabbinic sources that most likely refer to Bethsaida by the name צַיְדָן:
תני אמר רשב″ג מעשה שהלכתי לציידן והביאו לפני יותר משלש מאות מיני דגים בתמחוי א′
It was taught [in a baraita]: Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel told an anecdote that “I went to Tzaydan [צַיְידָן], and they brought before me more than three hundred kinds of fish on a single tray.” (y. Shek. 6:2 [26a])
This baraita probably alludes to the vibrant fishing industry that flourished in Bethsaida on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Another rabbinic source, this one in Aramaic, refers to Tzaydan in such a way that it must refer to a town within the borders of the land of Israel:
אדרינוס שחיק עצמות שאל את ר′ יהושע בן חנניה כתו′ בתורתכם אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר לֹא בְמִסְכֵּנות יכול את מיתי לי תלת מלין דאנא אמ′ לך. אמ′ ליה ומה אנון. א″ל פלפלין ופסיינין ומטקסא. איתי ליה פלפלין מן נצחנא ופסיינין ציידן ומאן דאמ′ מן עכברא ומטקסא מן גוש חלב.
The accursed Hadrian asked Rabbi Yehoshua ben Hananyah, “It is written in your Torah, A land in which you will not lack anything [Deut. 8:9]. Are you, then, able to bring me three things if I ask for them?” He said to him, “What are they?” He said to him, “Peppers, pheasants, and silk.” He brought him pepper from Nitzhana, and pheasants from Tzaydan [צַיְידָן] (but others say from Akbera), and silk from Gush Halav. (Eccl. Rab. 2:8 §2 [ed. Hirshman, 138]; trans. Soncino [adapted])
Since in this story Emperor Hadrian challenges Rabbi Yehoshua to prove that God provided all things to Israel within the land he had given them, Tzaydan must not refer to Sidon, as some scholars have supposed, but to a town within the land of Israel. The Bethsaida(n) whose name is derived from the צ-ד-ה root referring to hunting and fishing is therefore a likely candidate for the town this rabbinic tradition refers to as Tzaydan.
The site of Bethsaida—whether at el-Araj on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, or at et-Tell about 1.8 miles from the present shoreline, which is higher than the shoreline of the first century—remains a subject of scholarly debate. Jerusalem Perspective contributors Mendel Nun and R. Steven Notley have weighed in on the side of el-Araj, and we eagerly anticipate the results of the ongoing el-Araj excavations, which might settle the question once and for all.
L7 שֶׁאִילּוּ בְּצוֹר וְצִידוֹן (HR). On reconstructing ὅτι (hoti, “that,” “because”) with -שֶׁ (she-, “that,” “because”), see Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, Comment to L31.
A grammatical parallel to -שֶׁ giving the reason for a woe exclamation is found in the woes pronounced against the high-priestly families of the late Second Temple period preserved in the Tosefta:
אוי לי מבית ישמעאל בן פאבי שהם כהנים גדולים ובניהם גזברים וחתניהם אמרכלין ועבדיהן באין וחובטין עלינו במקלות
Woe to me [אוֹי לִי] on account of the House of Ishmael ben Phiabi, because [-שֶׁ] they are high priests, and their sons are treasures, and their superintendents and their slaves come and strike us with staves! (t. Men. 13:21; Vienna MS)
Elsewhere in LOY we have reconstructed εἰ (ei, “if”) with אִם (’im, “if”), but in conditional sentences where the condition is not fulfilled or not capable of fulfillment MH uses אִילּוּ (’ilū, “if”). Examples of אִילּוּ include the following:
ר′ טַרְפוֹן ור′ עֲקִי′ אוֹ′ אִילּוּ הָיִיּנוּ בְסֶנְהֶדְרִין לֹא נֶהֱרַג בָּהּ אָדָם מֵעוֹלָם
Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva say, “If [אִילּוּ] we had been in the Sanhedrin [which they were not—DNB and JNT], no person would ever have been executed by it.” (m. Mak. 1:10)
שָׁאֲלוּ אֶת הַזְּקֵינִים בְּרוֹמִי אִם אֵין רְצוֹנוֹ בַעֲבוֹדָה זָרַה מִפְּנֵי מָה אֵינוּ מְבַטְּלָהּ אָמְרוּ לָהֶן אִילּוּ לַדָּבָר שֶׁאֵין צוֹרֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹ הָיוּ עוֹבְדִין הָיָה מְבַטְּלוֹ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ עוֹבְדִין לַחַמָּה וְלַלְּבָנָה וְלַכּוֹכָבִים יְאַבֵּד עוֹלָמוֹ מִפְּנֵי הַשּׁוֹטִין
They asked the elders in Rome, “If [אִם] he [i.e., God—DNB and JNT] is not pleased with idolatry [which is the case—DNB and JNT], why does he not destroy it[s objects—DNB and JNT]?” They said to them, “If [אִילּוּ] they idolized a thing that the world does not need [but this is not the case—DNB and JNT], he would destroy it, but these [people] idolize the sun and the moon and the stars. Must he destroy his world because of the foolish?” (m. Avod. Zar. 4:7)
In LXX the name Τύρος (Tūros, “Tyre”) nearly always occurs as the translation of צֹר (tzor, “Tyre”), var. צוֹר (tzōr). Likewise, in LXX Σιδών (Sidōn, “Sidon”), var. Σειδών (Seidōn), nearly always occurs as the translation of צִידֹן (tzidon, “Sidon”), var. צִידוֹן (tzidōn). Given the pairing of Tyre with Sidon in prophetic pronouncements (Isa. 23:1-18; Jer. 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezek. 28:1-26; Joel 4:4; Zech. 9:2), there can be little doubt as to the proper reconstruction. The prophets foretold harsh punishments for these two Phoenician cities, which were often in competition with Israel.
L8 ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις (GR). In L8 the Lukan and Matthean versions disagree as to the form the verb γίνεσθαι (ginesthai, “to be”) should take. Whereas Matthew’s version has the active ἐγένοντο (egenonto, “they were,” “they happened”), Luke’s version has the passive ἐγενήθησαν (egenēthēsan, “they were done”). Some scholars regard Luke’s verb form as a Greek stylistic improvement, but this assessment overlooks the fact that at the parallel point in the denunciation of Capernaum (L21) the author of Matthew used the same verb form, ἐγενήθησαν, which the author of Luke had used in L8. This parallel usage of ἐγενήθησαν in Matt. 11:23 and Luke 10:13 forms a Lukan-Matthean “minor agreement” of sorts against Matthew’s ἐγένοντο in L8. We regard this Lukan-Matthean agreement against Matthew as strong evidence that Anth. had the passive form ἐγενήθησαν in L8 and L21. We have therefore accepted Luke’s verb form in L8 for GR.
נַעֲשׂוּ הַגְּבוּרוֹת (HR). In LXX the verb γίνεσθαι occurs far more often as the translation of הָיָה (hāyāh, “be”) than of עָשָׂה (‘āsāh, “do,” “make”). However, two considerations favor accepting the latter for HR. First, use of the ה-י-ה root in the nif‘al stem is rare in BH and even rarer, if not non-existent, in MH, while the passive ἐγενήθησαν (“they were done”) indicates a nif‘al verb. Second, there are good examples of עָשָׂה used in conjunction with גְּבוּרָה (gevūrāh, “strength,” “might”)—probably the best reconstruction of δύναμις (dūnamis, “power,” “might”) in L8 (see below)—to describe the performance of mighty deeds, while comparable examples with הָיָה are wanting. Examples of עָשָׂה used in conjunction with גְּבוּרָה include the following:
מִי אֵל בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה כְמַעֲשֶׂיךָ וְכִגְבוּרֹתֶךָ
Who is a god in heaven or on earth that will do [יַעֲשֶׂה] works like yours and mighty deeds like yours [וְכִגְבוּרֹתֶךָ]? (Deut. 3:24)
וְיֶתֶר דִּבְרֵי עָמְרִי אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וּגְבוּרָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה הֲלֹא הֵם כְּתוּבִים עַל סֵפֶר דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים לְמַלְכֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
And the rest of the works of Omri that he did and his mighty deed [וּגְבוּרָתוֹ] that he did [עָשָׂה], are they not written on the scroll of the works of the days of the kings of Israel? (1 Kgs. 16:27)
רבי אומר יי ילחם לכם המקום יעשה לכם נסים וגבורות ואתם תהיו עומדין ושותקין
Rabbi says, “The LORD will do battle for you [Exod. 14:14]—the Omnipresent One will do [יַעֲשֶׂה] signs and mighty deeds [וּגְבוּרוֹת] for you, but will you stand and be silent?” (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, BeShallaḥ chpt. 2 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:143])
ומנין שלא עשה המקום נסים וגבורות על הים ועל הירדן ועל נחלי ארנון אלא בשביל לקדש את שמו בעולם…ומנין שלא ירד דניאל לגוב אריות אלא בשביל שיעשה לו הקדוש ברוך הוא נסים וגבורות ובשביל לקדש שמו הגדול בעולם…ומנין אתה אומר שלא ירדו חנניה מישאל ועזריה לתוך כבשן האש אלא כדי שיעשה להם הקדוש ברוך הוא נסים וגבורות בשביל לקדש את שמו הגדול בעולם….
And from which passage do we learn that the Omnipresent One did not do [עָשָׂה] signs and mighty deeds [וּגְבוּרוֹת] at the sea and at the Jordan and at the brooks of Arnon except to sanctify his name in the world? …And from which passage do we learn that Daniel did not go down into the den of lions except that the Holy One, blessed be he, might do [יַעֲשֶׂה] signs and mighty deeds [וּגְבוּרוֹת] for him and thereby sanctify his great name in the world? …And from which passage do we learn that Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah [i.e., Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—DNB and JNT] did not go down into the fiery furnace except that the Holy One, blessed be he, might do [יַעֲשֶׂה] signs and mighty deeds [וּגְבוּרוֹת] for them and thereby sanctify his great name in the world? (Sifre Deut. §306 [ed. Finkelstein, 342-343])
Note that in Lord’s Prayer, L14, we reconstructed a passive form of γίνεσθαι with נֶעֱשֶׂה (ne‘eseh, “be done”).
In LXX δύναμις (dūnamis, “power,” “might”) usually occurs as the translation of nouns other than גְּבוּרָה (gevūrāh, “strength,” “might”), but on the other hand, the LXX translators rendered גְּבוּרָה with δύναμις fairly often, though admittedly less often than with other nouns like δυναστεία (dūnasteia, “power,” “sovereignty”). The examples from the Hebrew Scriptures and rabbinic sources cited above demonstrate that גְּבוּרָה is the best reconstruction for “mighty deed.” The following is an example from LXX where δύναμις serves as the translation of גְּבוּרָה:
דּוֹר לְדוֹר יְשַׁבַּח מַעֲשֶׂיךָ וּגְבוּרֹתֶיךָ יַגִּידוּ
Generation to generation will praise your works, and your mighty deeds [וּגְבוּרֹתֶיךָ] they will tell. (Ps. 145:4)
γενεὰ καὶ γενεὰ ἐπαινέσει τὰ ἔργα σου καὶ τὴν δύναμίν σου ἀπαγγελοῦσιν
A generation and a generation will praise your works, and your might [δύναμίν] they will tell. (Ps. 144:4)
L9 שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹשִׂים בָּכֶן (HR). In L9 it makes sense to reconstruct γίνεσθαι once more with עָשָׂה, just as we did in L8. The participial form of γίνεσθαι and its active voice suggest that we should reconstruct αἱ γενόμεναι (hai genomenai, “the ones being,” “the ones happening”) with the impersonal plural phrase שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹשִׂים (shehāyū ‘ōsim, “that they were doing”). Such impersonal plurals usually have a passive sense (i.e., “that were done”), or might be an indirect way of speaking about divine activity (i.e., “that God did”). Jesus could have said, “that I did,” but avoided doing so out of modesty.
We have no record of specific healings, exorcisms or other powerful deeds of Jesus connected to Chorazin. As for Bethsaida, Luke’s Gospel locates the miraculous feeding of the five thousand on the outskirts of this town (Luke 9:10), and the Gospel of Mark describes the healing of a man from Bethsaida of blindness (Mark 8:22). The Woes on Three Villages pericope implies that many more manifestations of the Kingdom of Heaven took place in these two locations.
L10 πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ καθήμενοι (GR). In L10 the wording of the Lukan and Matthean versions is the same, with the exception of the presence (Luke) or absence (Matt.) of the participle καθήμενοι (kathēmenoi, “sitting”). Whereas Harnack regarded καθήμενοι in Luke as a stylistic improvement, an argument can be made that the author of Matthew omitted the participle in order to sharpen the focus on repentance, a theme that is highlighted in Matt. 11:20 (L4).
We do not find the exact phrase “sitting in sacking and ashes” in MT or LXX, but we do find references to wearing sacking and sitting in ashes or dust (Jonah 3:6; cf. Jer. 6:26; Lam. 2:10). A closer parallel to Luke’s expression is found in a story set during the Bar Kochva revolt, where we read:
שלש שנים ומחצה עשה אדריינוס מקיף בביתר, והיה ר′ אלעזר המודעי יושב בשק ובאפר ומתפלל ואומר רבון כל העולמים אל תשב בדין היום
For three and a half years Hadrian laid siege to Bethar, but Rabbi Eleazar of Modiin would sit in sacking and ash [יושב בשק ובאפר] and pray and say, “Master of all the worlds, do not sit in judgment today!” (Lam. Rab. 2:2 §4 [2:9] [ed. Buber, 101])
It appears that in Mishnaic Hebrew “sitting in sacking and ash” became a shorthand way of referring to the donning of sacking and the taking of one’s seat in an ash heap as an expression of utter humility. Luke 10:13 may, in fact, be the earliest witness to this Mishnaic Hebrew expression.
Scholars have noted that putting on sacking and/or sitting among ashes was a cross-cultural expression of contrition not limited to ancient Judaism. Plutarch (mid-first cent. to mid-second cent. C.E.), for instance, regarded such self-abasement as hopelessly superstitious:
τὸν δὲ δεισιδαίμονα πῶς ἂν προσείποις ἢ πῇ βοηθήσεις ἔξω κάθηται σακκίκον ἔχων καὶ περιεζωμένος ῥάκεσι ῥυπαροῖς, πολλάκις δὲ γυμνὸς ἐν πηλῷ κυλινδούμεος ἐξαγορεύει τινὰς ἁμαρτίας αὑτοῦ καὶ πλυμμελείας, ὡς τόδε φαγόντος ἢ πιόντος ἢ βαδίσαντος ὁδὸν ἣ οὐκ εἴα τὸ δαιμόνιον
…but what words can you address to the superstitious man, or in what way shall you help him? He sits outside his house with sackcloth on and filthy rags about him; and oftentimes he rolls naked in the mire as he confesses divers sins and errors of his—eating this or drinking that, or walking in a path forbidden by his conscience. (Superst. §168D; Loeb)
כְּבָר הָיוּ ישְׁבוֹת בְּשַׂק וָאֵפֶר (HR). Since we encounter πάλαι in LXX only rarely, and never with a Hebrew equivalent suitable for HR, we might have been inclined to regard the adverb πάλαι (palai, “formerly,” “long since,” “already”) in L10 as a Greek stylistic improvement added to Anth.’s wording. However, both the Lukan and Matthean versions of Woes on Three Villages include this adverb, so we must presume its presence in Anth. The adverb πάλαι can come close to the meaning of ἤδη (ēdē, “already”), a term we have reconstructed elsewhere as כְּבָר (kevār, “already,” “long since”).
Examples from rabbinic literature similar to our reconstruction with הָיָה + כְּבָר + participle include the following:
פַּעַם אַחַת לֹא נִכְנְסוּ לַלְמֵן עַד שֶׁחָשֵׁיכָה אָמְרוּ לוֹ לְרַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵ′ מָה אָנוּ לֵרֵד וְאָמַר לָהֶם מוּתָּר שֶׁכְּבַר הָיִיתִי מִסְתַּכֵּל וְהָיִינוּ בְתוֹךְ הַתְּחוּם עַד שֶׁלֹּא חָשֵׁיכָה
On one occasion they did not enter the harbor before dusk [on the eve of Shabbat—DNB and JNT]. They said to Rabban Gamliel, “Should we disembark?” He said to them, “It is permitted, because I was already [כְּבַר] watching, and we were within the limits before dusk.” (m. Eruv. 4:2)
אמ′ רב חנן בן פזי וכי כבר היה אברהם אבינו יודע קלין וחמורין וגזירות שוות
In the next example כְּבָר has a meaning closer to “long since” than “already”:
תברך מנשים [יעל אשת חבר הקיני מנשים באהל תבורך] ר′ אלעזר אמר מנשי דור המדבר, הן ילדו, אילולי היא כבר היו אבדין, ר′ שמואל בר נחמן אמר מן האמהות, הן ילדו, אילולי היא כבר היו אבדין
Most blessed of women [is Yael, wife of Hever the Kenite, among women in the tent she is most blessed] [Judg. 5:24]. Rabbi Eleazar said, “More than women of the generation of the desert. They gave birth, but if not for her they [i.e., their children—DNB and JNT] would have long since [כְּבָר] been destroyed.” Rabbi Shmuel bar Nahman said, “More than the matriarchs. They gave birth, but if not for her they would have long since [כְּבָר] been destroyed.” (Gen. Rab. 48:15 [ed. Theodor-Albeck, 2:493])
Yael lived long after the generation that wandered in the desert with Moses and even longer after the age of the patriarchs and matriarchs. The point of this example is that the children of these earlier generations would have been destroyed long before Yael had even been born, but they were spared on her account.
On reconstructing καθῆσθαι (kathēsthai, “to sit”) with יָשַׁב (yāshav, “sit”), see Call of Levi, Comment to L14.
In LXX nearly every instance of σάκκος (sakkos, “sackcloth”) occurs as the translation of שַׂק (saq, “sackcloth”), and the LXX translators rendered nearly every occurrence of שַׂק as σάκκος. The Greek and Hebrew terms are related, both sharing a Semitic ancestor, but σάκκος did not enter Greek via Hebrew. Perhaps Phoenician traders or merchants who spoke other Semitic languages introduced the term (and the product) to Greek speakers. The Hebrew and Greek terms denote a coarse, dark cloth made of hair. It was often used for sacking, but was employed for other purposes as well. Being so coarse, it made for uncomfortable clothing.
Since nearly every instance of the Greek term σποδός (spodos, “ash”) that occurs in LXX does so as the translation of אֵפֶר (’ēfer, “ash”), and since the LXX translators rendered nearly every instance of אֵפֶר with σποδός, there can be very little doubt about our choice for HR. “Sacking” and “ash” are paired in Isa. 58:5; Esth. 4:1, 3; Dan. 9:3 (cf. Jer. 6:26; Jonah 3:6).
Jesus’ reproach of Chorazin and Bethsaida is similar to the admission put in the mouth of Jonah in rabbinic literature to the effect that the Gentiles are closer to repentance than the children of Israel (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Pisḥa §1 [ed. Lauterbach, 5-6]). Neither Jesus’ reproach nor the rabbinic tradition implied that Gentiles are actually more obedient than the people of Israel, but only that the Gentiles were sometimes more responsive to prophetic calls to repentance. Based on its privileged position as God’s covenant people, Israel occasionally presumed too much upon God’s forbearance.
L12 πλὴν (GR). In the Story Placement discussion above we noted the two different approaches the authors of Luke and Matthew took in response to the similarity of Woes on Three Villages to the prediction in the Sending discourse that it will be easier on the day of judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah than for a town that failed to show the apostles appropriate hospitality. The author of Luke’s approach was to conflate the two sayings, which resulted in a significantly truncated version of the denunciation of Capernaum, but which left what remained of Anth.’s wording more or less intact. The author of Matthew’s approach was to distance Woes on Three Villages from the Sending discourse, which alleviated the problem of monotonous repetition. But the author of Matthew was so impressed with the similarity of the two sayings that he allowed the wording of each version to influence the other.
This verbal cross-pollination between the saying about inhospitable towns (Matt. 10:15) and the denunciation of Capernaum (Matt. 11:24) appears to have seeped back into Matthew’s version of the woes against Chorazin and Bethsaida by the addition of λέγω ὑμῖν (legō hūmin, “I say to you”) in L12 (Matt. 11:22). As we will discuss below in Comment to L24, the words λέγω ὑμῖν are clearly out of place and appear in Matt. 11:24 only because of the cross-pollination effect. If λέγω ὑμῖν is secondary in L24, then this phrase must also be secondary in L12, since the two statements are parallel to one another. We have accordingly omitted λέγω ὑμῖν from GR in L12.
אֲבָל (HR). In LXX there is only one instance where πλήν (plēn, “but”) occurs as the translation of אֲבָל (’avāl, “but”):
אֲבָל עוֹד הָעָם זֹבְחִים בַּבָּמוֹת רַק לַיי אֱלֹהֵיהֶם
But [אֲבָל] still the people were sacrificing upon the high places, [though] exclusively to the LORD their God. (2 Chr. 33:17)
πλὴν ὁ λαὸς ἔτι ἐπὶ τῶν ὑψηλῶν, πλὴν κύριος ὁ θεὸς αὐτῶν
But [πλὴν] the people were still upon the high places, but the Lord was their God. (2 Chr. 33:17)
Elsewhere the LXX translators rendered אֲבָל with synonyms like ἀλλά (alla, “but”; 2 Esd. 10:13; 2 Chr. 1:4; 19:3) and μάλα (mala, “rather”; 2 Kgdms. 14:5; 3 Kgdms. 1:43; 4 Kgdms. 4:14; Dan. 10:21). Nevertheless, there is no other Hebrew term more suitable for HR than אֲבָל.
L13 לְצוֹר וְצִידוֹן (HR). On reconstructing Τύρος (Tūros, “Tyre”) with צוֹר (tzōr, “Tyre”) and on reconstructing Σειδών (Seidōn, “Sidon”) with צִידוֹן (tzidōn, “Sidon”), see above, Comment to L7.
L14 נוֹחַ יִהְיֶה (HR). On reconstructing ἀνεκτότερος (anektoteros, “more bearable”) with נוֹחַ (nōaḥ, “easy,” “comfortable”), see Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, Comment to L117.
On reconstructing εἶναι (einai, “to be”) with הָיָה (hāyāh, “be”), see Call of Levi, Comment to L30.
L15 ἐν τῇ κρίσει (GR). In L15 we encounter a second example of the Matthean cross-pollination between the saying about inhospitable towns (Matt. 10:15 ∥ Luke 10:12) and the denunciation of Capernaum (Matt. 11:24) seeping back into the woes against Chorazin and Bethsaida (see above, Comment to L12). In Luke’s version of the saying about inhospitable towns Jesus says that “in that day” (ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ) it will be more bearable for Sodom than for an inhospitable town (Luke 10:12), whereas in Luke’s version of the woes Jesus declares that “in the judgment” (ἐν τῇ κρίσει) it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon than for Chorazin and Bethsaida (Luke 10:14). It appears that the author of Matthew combined these two phrases to form ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως (en hēmera kriseōs, “in a day of judgment”), which he then used in his version of the saying about inhospitable towns (Matt. 10:15), as well as in his version of Woes on Three Villages (Matt. 11:22, 24). The author of Luke, on the other hand, appears to have preserved Anth.’s wording, ἐν τῇ κρίσει (en tē krisei, “in the judgment”), a phrase that reappears with Lukan-Matthean agreement in Generations That Repented Long Ago (Matt. 12:41-42 ∥ Luke 11:31-32) and that has strong parallels in ancient Jewish sources (see below).
בַּדִּין (HR). In LXX κρίσις (krisis, “judgment”) usually occurs as the translation of מִשְׁפָּט (mishpāṭ, “justice,” “judgment”) rather than of דִּין (din, “judgment,” “decision”). But on the other hand, the LXX translators rendered דִּין more often with κρίσις than with any other Greek term. In MH דִּין came into wider use than appears to have been the case in BH, and we find instances where דִּין refers to the final judgment, such as the following:
דּוֹר הַמַּבּוּל אֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא וְאֵין עוֹמְדִין בַּדִּין…אַנְשֵׁי סְדוֹם אֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֲבַל עוֹמְדִין בַּדִין…דּוֹר הַמִּדְבָּר אֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא וְאֵין עוֹמְדִין בַּדִּין
The generation of the flood has no portion in the world to come, and they do not stand in the judgment [בַּדִּין]…. The people of Sodom have no portion in the world to come, but they do stand in the judgment [בַּדִּין]…. The generation of the desert has no portion in the world to come, and they do not stand in the judgment [בַּדִּין]…. (m. Sanh. 10:3)
This usage of בַּדִּין (badin, “in the judgment”) is an exact grammatical and conceptual parallel to ἐν τῇ κρίσει (en tē krisei, “in the judgment”) in Luke’s version of Woes on Three Villages.
L16 מִכֶּן (HR). In Hebrew the preposition מִן (min, “from”) is regularly used to express contrast (i.e., “than,” “more than”). When used this way, the LXX translators frequently rendered מִן with ἤ (ē, “than”), for instance:
הָאֶחָד בָּא לָגוּר וַיִּשְׁפֹּט שָׁפוֹט עַתָּה נָרַע לְךָ מֵהֶם
This one came to stay as a guest, and will he indeed judge [us]? Now we will do you more harm than [we intend to do to] them [מֵהֶם]! (Gen. 19:9)
εἷς ἦλθες παροικεῖν· μὴ καὶ κρίσιν κρίνειν; νῦν οὖν σὲ κακώσομεν μᾶλλον ἢ ἐκείνους
As one, you came to live as a stranger. Not also to judge a judgment [against us]? Now, therefore, we will do you more harm than [ἢ] those! (Gen. 19:9)
טוֹב תִּתִּי אֹתָהּ לָךְ מִתִּתִּי אֹתָהּ לְאִישׁ אַחֵר
It is better that I give her to you than that I give [מִתִּתִּי] her to another man. (Gen. 29:19)
Βέλτιον δοῦναί με αὐτὴν σοὶ ἢ δοῦναί με αὐτὴν ἀνδρὶ ἑτέρῳ
It is better for me to give her to you than [ἢ] for me to give her to another man. (Gen. 29:19)
וַיֶּאֱהַב גַּם אֶת רָחֵל מִלֵּאָה
And he also loved Rachel more than Leah [מִלֵּאָה]. (Gen. 29:30)
ἠγάπησεν δὲ Ραχηλ μᾶλλον ἢ Λειαν
But he loved Rachel more than [ἢ] Leah. (Gen. 29:30)
וַיֹּאמֶר צָדְקָה מִמֶּנִּי
And he said, “She is more righteous than I [מִמֶּנִּי]….” (Gen. 38:26)
καὶ εἶπεν Δεδικαίωται Θαμαρ ἢ ἐγώ
And he said, “Tamar has been vindicated rather than [ἢ] I….” (Gen. 38:26)
וּלְבֶן שִׁנַּיִם מֵחָלָב
And his teeth are whiter than milk [מֵחָלָב]. (Gen. 49:12)
καὶ λευκοὶ οἱ ὀδόντες αὐτοῦ ἢ γάλα
And his teeth are whiter than [ἢ] milk. (Gen. 49:12)
L17 וְאַתְּ כְּפַר נַחוּם (HR). Occasionally in the Hebrew Scriptures we find examples where a person will change the topic and address someone in his audience with “And as for you…!” When the addressee is feminine (as would have been the case with Capernaum, like other towns and cities), this is expressed as וְאַתְּ (ve’at, “And [as for] you…!”). For instance, in 1 Kings we read a story about the wife of Jeroboam, who went to inquire of a prophet when their son became seriously ill. The prophet first delivered an oracle against Jeroboam, which had nothing to do with her inquiry. When the oracle was finally concluded, the prophet turned to the wife of Jeroboam and the mother of the sick child with the words:
וְאַתְּ קוּמִי לְכִי לְבֵיתֵךְ בְּבֹאָה רַגְלַיִךְ הָעִירָה וּמֵת הַיָּלֶד
And as for you [וְאַתְּ; LXX(A): καὶ σύ], rise! Go to your house! When your feet enter the city, the child will be dead. (1 Kgs. 14:12)
A similar example is found in the book of Jeremiah, where the prophet turns to a new audience with the words:
וְאַתְּ[י] שָׁדוּד מַה תַּעֲשִׂי כִּי תִלְבְּשִׁי שָׁנִי
And you [וְאַתְּ], devastated one, what are you doing that you dress in scarlet…? (Jer. 4:30)
καὶ σὺ τί ποιήσεις, ἐὰν περιβάλῃ κόκκινον
And you [καὶ σὺ], what will you do if you put on scarlet…? (Jer. 4:30)
Reconstructing Καφαρναούμ (Kafarnaoum, “Capernaum”) as כְּפַר נַחוּם (kefar naḥūm, “Capernaum”) is fairly straightforward but lacks strong corroboration, since Capernaum is mentioned so rarely in ancient sources not dependent on the Gospels. The one time כְּפַר (kefar, “village of”) occurs as an element of a place name in the Hebrew Scriptures is in Josh. 18:24, which mentions a town called כפר העמני (read: כְּפַר הָעַמֹּנָה [kefar hā‘amonāh]). The LXX counterpart to this verse has Καραφα (Karafa) as the equivalent of כְּפַר הָעַמֹּנָה. Clearly, the name was garbled in the process of transmission, but even so, we could venture that the Καραφ- (Karaf-) of “Karafa” originally read Καφαρ- (Kafar-) corresponding to כְּפַר (kefar), which would corroborate the Καφαρ- of Καφαρναούμ as representing כְּפַר. Similarly, reference to a town named Χαφαρσαλαμα (Chafarsalama, “Kefar Salama”) occurs in 1 Macc. 7:31. Undoubtedly the Χαφαρ- (Chafar-) element of Χαφαρσαλαμα corresponds to כְּפַר. Aside from this difference between the initial letters kappa (κ) and chi (χ), the Χαφαρ- element of Χαφαρσαλαμα corroborates the conclusion that the Καφαρ- element of Καφαρναούμ represents כְּפַר.
As for the second element of the name Capernaum, -ναούμ (naoum), we note that the LXX translators put the name נַחוּם (naḥūm, “Nahum”) into Greek as Ναουμ (Naoum; Nah. 1:1). However, the name נְחוּם (neḥūm, “Nehum”; Neh. 7:7) was also put into Greek as Ναουμ, so reconstructing Καφαρναούμ as כְּפַר נְחוּם (kefar neḥūm) is also possible.
A rabbinic tradition mentions a town named כְּפַר נַחוּם (or כְּפַר נְחוּם) as a place where certain Jewish heretics (Jewish Christians?) were present (Eccl. Rab. 1:8 §4 [ed. Hirshman, 76]; 7:26 §3). Of these two references, the first occurs in an Aramaic context, the second is in Hebrew. Additional examples of towns bearing the כְּפַר element in their names include כְּפַר עַזִיז (kefar ‘aziz; m. Kil. 6:4), כְּפַר חֲנַנְיָה (kefar ḥananyāh; m. Shev. 9:2; m. Avot 3:6), כְּפַר יַתְמָה (kefar yatmāh; m. Orl. 2:5), כְּפַר אַבּוּס (kefar ’abūs; m. Yev. 12:6), כְּפַר לוּדִים (kefar lūdim; m. Git. 1:1), כְּפַר עָתְנִי (kefar ‘otni; m. Git. 1:5; 7:7), כְּפַר הַבַּבְלִי (kefar habavli; m. Edu. 6:2; m. Avot 4:20), כְּפַר סִיגְנָה (kefar sigenāh; m. Men. 8:6; m. Kel. 5:4) and כְּפַר סִכְנִין (kefar sichnin; t. Hul. 2:24).
Josephus mentioned a spring in the plain of Gennesaret called Καφαρναούμ (Kafarnaoum; J.W. 3:519), but said nothing in this passage about a town by the same name in its vicinity. Moreover, the location in the plain of Gennesaret does not comport with the identification of Tell Ḥūm as Capernaum, which lies to the east of the plain of Gennesaret. It is possible that Josephus referred to Capernaum when he described how he fell from his horse and broke his wrist in a battle outside Julias (i.e., Bethsaida) and was subsequently taken εἰς κώμην Κεφαρνωκόν (eis kōmēn Kefarnōkon, “into the village of Cepharnocus”; Life §403). Manuscripts differ as to the spelling of the name, some reading Κεφαρνακών (Kefarnakōn) and others Καφαρνώμων (Kafarnōmōn).
Some scholars have expressed surprise that Jesus directed criticism against Capernaum, since the Gospels attribute to the people of Capernaum positive responses to Jesus’ teaching and healings (cf., e.g., Mark 1:21-28; 2:1-2; Luke 4:31-37, 40-43). However, Jesus’ denunciation of Capernaum does not necessarily indicate that the residents of that town were actively hostile to Jesus. Neither can we assume that the denunciation of Capernaum or the woes against Chorazin and Bethsaida reflect deep-seated antipathy on the part of Jesus for the residents of these villages. It is entirely possible that the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum esteemed Jesus highly for the healings and exorcisms he had performed for them, and that Jesus held a deep affection for the people among whom he had taught and ministered. Nevertheless, Jesus’ alternative halachah, which required peacemaking, debt forgiveness and love of enemies, did not gain broad acceptance in a climate that was becoming increasingly nationalistic and militant toward the Roman Empire and ever more intolerant toward those who seemed to accept the fact of Roman occupation. In that respect, Woes on Three Villages is similar to Yerushalayim’s Destruction Foretold (Luke 19:41-44), where Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because its inhabitants had failed to recognize that which would have brought it peace (i.e., accepting the way of the Kingdom of Heaven). Now that the Kingdom of Heaven had been rejected, Jesus foresaw that the clash with Rome and the ensuing destruction of Jerusalem were inevitable.
Jesus’ denunciation of Capernaum and his woes against Chorazin and Bethsaida are also similar to a statement attributed to his younger contemporary Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai, who, like Jesus, opposed the rising tide of Jewish militant nationalism that was taking Israel by storm. According to the Jerusalem Talmud, Yohanan ben Zakkai once declared:
גליל גליל שנאת התורה סופך לעשות במסיקין
Galilee! Galilee! You hated the Torah! You will be forced by the [Roman] oppressors! (y. Shab. 16:15 [81b])
According to Shmuel Safrai, this denunciation likely reflects the period before the destruction of the Temple. Was it militant nationalism that distracted the Galileans from attending to the Torah with Yohanan ben Zakkai? We can only speculate. In any case, there is a certain parallelism between Woes on Three Villages and Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai’s saying. According to Jesus, the towns he mentioned had rejected the Kingdom of Heaven and were now in imminent danger (presumably from the Romans) and would also be held accountable to God, whereas according to Yohanan ben Zakkai, the Galileans rejected the Torah and would therefore be oppressed by Roman officials. The parallelism between Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai’s lament and Jesus’ Woes on Three Villages is strengthened when we take into consideration Chana Safrai’s observation that the Kingdom of Heaven concept in the Gospels has a parallel function to that of Torah study in rabbinic literature.
L18 μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ (GR). Scholars are nearly unanimous in detecting in L18-19 an allusion to Isaiah’s prophecy against the king of Babylon, where the prophet declared:
וְאַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ בִלְבָבְךָ הַשָּׁמַיִם אֶעֱלֶה מִמַּעַל לְכוֹכְבֵי אֵל אָרִים כִּסְאִי וְאֵשֵׁב בְּהַר מוֹעֵד בְּיַרְכְּתֵי צָפוֹן׃ אֶעֱלֶה עַל־בָּמֳתֵי עָב אֶדַּמֶּה לְעֶלְיוֹן׃ אַךְ אֶל שְׁאוֹל תּוּרָד אֶל יַרְכְּתֵי בוֹר
And you said in your heart, “I will ascend the heavens. Above the stars of God I will exalt my throne. I will sit on the mountain of assembly in the far north. I will ascend above the cloud heights. I will be like the Most High.” But to Sheol you will be brought down, unto the depth of the abyss. (Isa. 14:13-15)
σὺ δὲ εἶπας ἐν τῇ διανοίᾳ σου εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀναβήσομαι, ἐπάνω τῶν ἄστρων τοῦ οὐρανοῦ θήσω τὸν θρόνον μου, καθιῶ ἐν ὄρει ὑψηλῷ ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη τὰ ὑψηλὰ τὰ πρὸς βορρᾶν, ἀναβήσομαι ἐπάνω τῶν νεφελῶν, ἔσομαι ὅμοιος τῷ ὑψίστῳ. νῦν δὲ εἰς ᾅδου καταβήσῃ καὶ εἰς τὰ θεμέλια τῆς γῆς.
But you said in your mind, “Into the heaven I will ascend. Above the stars of heaven I will place my throne. I will sit on a high mountain, upon the high mountains of the north. I will ascend above the clouds. I will be like the Most High.” But now into Hades you will descend, even into the foundations of the earth. (Isa. 14:13-15)
However, if the denunciation of Capernaum does echo these verses—as we agree it does —it is remarkable how dissimilar the Greek text of the Gospels is to the wording of these verses in LXX. The question “Will you be raised unto heaven?” echoes the king of Babylon’s boast, “I will ascend into heaven” (Isa. 14:13), but the Greek text of Jesus’ saying disagrees with the LXX preposition (LXX: εἰς [eis, “into”]; Matt.-Luke: ἕως [heōs, “unto”]) and the LXX verb (LXX: ἀναβαίνειν [anabainein, “to go up”]; Matt.-Luke: ὑψοῦν [hūpsoun, “to exalt”]).
One way to account for the discrepancies between Isa. 14:13-15 (LXX) and the Gospel allusion to these verses is to suppose that the Gospels did not rely on LXX when they alluded to these verses from Isaiah. The Greek translator of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua may have simply provided a direct translation of Jesus’ words without checking to see how the verse was worded in LXX. This non-Septuagintal allusion to Isa. 14:13-15 would then have been passed down through the stages of transmission to the authors of Luke and Matthew.
הַשָּׁמַיִם תִּתְעַלִּי (HR). The Hebrew text of Isa. 14:13 does not have a preposition corresponding to εἰς (“into”; LXX) or ἕως (“unto”; Matt.-Luke) where the king boasts, הַשָּׁמַיִם אֶעֱלֶה (hashāmayim ’e‘eleh, “I will ascend the heavens”). The reconstruction of Jesus’ saying in Hebrew likewise does not require a preposition, and we have accordingly omitted one in HR. It appears that, just like the LXX translators, the Greek translator of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua supplied a preposition because of the demands of Greek style. Whereas the LXX translators supplied εἰς (“into”)—perhaps because they looked ahead to the antithesis of the king’s boast in Isa. 14:15 (“you will be brought down into Sheol”) where the Hebrew text has אֶל (’el, “to,” “toward”)—the Greek translator of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua selected ἕως (“unto,” “as far as”) for the allusion to the king’s boast in L18 and then reused ἕως in the allusion to the antithesis in L19.
On reconstructing οὐρανός (ouranos, “heaven”) with שָׁמַיִם (shāmayim, “heavens”), see Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple, Comment to L39.
In LXX most instances of ὑψοῦν (hūpsoun, “to lift up,” “to exalt”) occur as the translation of verbs formed from the ר-ו-מ root, but the allusion to Isa. 14:13 indicates that we should reconstruct ὑψοῦν with a verb formed from the ע-ל-ה root. Torrey reconstructed ὑψωθήσῃ (hūpsōthēsē, “you will be exalted”) with the nif‘al form תֵּעָלִי (tē‘āli, “you will be brought up”), but since in MH nif‘al forms of ע-ל-ה conveyed the meaning “be removed” or “withdraw,” we have preferred to reconstruct ὑψωθήσῃ (“you will be exalted”) as תִּתְעַלִּי (tit‘ali, “you will be exalted”), using the hitpa‘el (or nitpa‘el) stem, which was used to convey the sense required here.
An example of הִתְעַלָּה (hit‘alāh, “be exalted”) occurs in a well-known story of three diverging rabbinic opinions regarding Roman rule:
דיתבי רבי יהודה ורבי יוסי ורבי שמעון ויתיב יהודה בן גרים גבייהו פתח ר′ יהודה ואמר כמה נאים מעשיהן של אומה זו תקנו שווקים תקנו גשרים תקנו מרחצאות…הלך יהודה בן גרים וסיפר דבריהם ונשמעו למלכות אמרו יהודה שעילה יתעלה
Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Yose and Rabbi Shimon were sitting together, and Yehudah the son of proselytes sat nearby. Rabbi Yehudah opened the discussion and said, “How pleasant are the works of this people [i.e., the Romans—DNB and JNT]! They made markets, they made bridges, they made bathhouses!”….Yehudah the son of proselytes went and reported their words, and it was made known to the Empire, and they [i.e., local Roman representatives—DNB and JNT] said, “[Rabbi] Yehudah, because he exalted [the Empire], will be exalted [יִתְעַלֶּה]….” (b. Shab. 33a)
L19 ἕως τοῦ ᾅδου καταβιβασθήσῃ (GR). In L19 we encounter a minute disagreement between Luke and Matthew. Luke’s version has a definite article attached to the noun ᾅδης (hadēs, “Hades”), whereas in Matthew’s version ᾅδης is anarthrous. For GR we have followed Luke, since overall Matthew’s version of Woes on Three Villages has displayed a greater tendency to stray from the wording of Anth.
In L19 we also face a text-critical issue. Is καταβήσῃ (katabēsē, “you will go down”), the reading of Codex Vaticanus and the one accepted by N-A, or καταβιβασθήσῃ (katabibasthēsē, “you will be brought down”), a reading supported by some early and reliable MSS, to be preferred? Some scholars have argued that the passive καταβιβασθήσῃ is a scribal correction to make the verb in L19 agree with the passive voice of the verb in L18 (ὑψωθήσῃ). But such a scribal correction is gratuitous and is especially unlikely here because καταβήσῃ (“you will go down”) is the very verb that occurs in Isa. 14:15 (LXX), and Christian scribes would surely have been reluctant to obscure an allusion to the Scriptures with which they were familiar. It was rather in their interest to show how Jesus knew and fulfilled the Scriptures. Therefore, Christian scribes who recognized the allusion to Isa. 14:13-15 in Matt. 11:23 ∥ Luke 10:15 would have had every incentive to change καταβιβασθήσῃ (if this is what they saw in their vorlage) to καταβήσῃ in order to make the words of Jesus conform to LXX. Moreover, it hardly seems coincidental that καταβιβασθήσῃ agrees with the passive voice of the verb in the Hebrew text of Isa. 14:15 (תּוּרָד [tūrād, “you will be brought down”]). We have therefore accepted καταβιβασθήσῃ (“you will be brought down”) for GR.
אֶל שְׁאוֹל תּוּרְדִי (HR). Except for the change of gender (as we have noted, Capernaum, as a town, would have been addressed as feminine), our reconstruction agrees with the Hebrew text of Isa. 14:15 (אֶל שְׁאוֹל תּוּרָד [’el she’ōl tūrād, “to Sheol you will be brought down”).
In LXX ἕως (heōs, “unto,” “as far as”) was normally rendered as עַד (‘ad, “unto,” “as far as”), but the allusion to Isa. 14:15 indicates that we should adopt אֶל (’el, “to,” “toward”) for HR. On rare occasions the LXX translators did render אֶל as ἕως, of which the following are two examples:
וַתָּבֹאוּ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה וַיֵּצֵא סִיחֹן מֶלֶךְ חֶשְׁבּוֹן וְעוֹג מֶלֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן לִקְרָאתֵנוּ לַמִּלְחָמָה וַנַּכֵּם
And when you came unto [אֶל] this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan went out to meet us for battle, and we defeated them. (Deut. 29:6)
καὶ ἤλθετε ἕως τοῦ τόπου τούτου, καὶ ἐξῆλθεν Σηων βασιλεὺς Εσεβων καὶ Ωγ βασιλεὺς τῆς Βασαν εἰς συνάντησιν ἡμῖν ἐν πολέμῳ καὶ ἐπατάξαμεν αὐτοὺς
And you came as far as [ἕως] this place, and Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan went out to meet us in battle, and we defeated them. (Deut. 29:6)
וַיְהִי כָּל־הַבָּא אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר נָפַל שָׁם עֲשָׂהאֵל
And it happened that everyone who came to [אֶל] the place where Asael fell…. (2 Sam. 2:23)
καὶ ἐγένετο πᾶς ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἕως τοῦ τόπου, οὗ ἔπεσεν ἐκεῖ Ασαηλ
And it happened that everyone who came as far as [ἕως] the place where Asael fell…. (2 Kgdms. 2:23)
These examples provide some precedent for reconstructing ἕως with אֶל.
In LXX almost all instances of ᾅδης (hadēs, “Hades”) occur as the translation of שְׁאוֹל (she’ōl, “Sheol,” i.e., the place of the dead). Likewise, the LXX translators rendered most instances of שְׁאוֹל as ᾅδης. Since שְׁאוֹל occurs in Isa. 14:15, there can be little doubt as to the correct choice for HR.
In LXX most instances of καταβαίνειν (katabainein, “to descend”) occur as the translation of יָרַד (yārad, “descend”), and when καταβαίνειν is passive it occurs as the translation of י-ר-ד in the hof‘al stem. We also find that the LXX translators rendered יָרַד far more often as καταβαίνειν than as any other verb. Given the allusion to Isa. 14:15, our selection of the י-ר-ד root for HR is secure.
Scholars debate the connotation of “Hades” in the context of Woes on Three Villages. Does “Hades” connote a place of punishment, or is there merely a spatial contrast between the height of heaven and the depth of the underworld symbolizing utter humiliation? Contrary to the claims of some scholars, there is very little evidence to suggest that the concept of Hades/Sheol had begun to merge with the concept of Gehenna in the minds of first-century Jews. Gehenna was an eschatological concept; it was the place where the wicked were to be destroyed following the resurrection (m. Avot 5:19; t. Sanh. 13:3). Hades/Sheol, on the other hand, was understood to be the holding place of the dead in the present time. That the spirits of the dead—including those of the righteous—abide in Hades/Sheol clearly emerges from a wide array of ancient sources, both literary and epigraphic. In the book of Tobit, for instance, one of the characters, Sarah, in a desperate situation contemplates suicide, but ultimately rejects this course of action because of what it would do to her pious father, Raguel:
ἐὰν ποιήσω τοῦτο, ὄνειδος αὐτῷ ἐστιν, καὶ τὸ γῆρας αὐτοῦ κατάξω μετ᾿ ὀδύνης εἰς ᾅδου
If I do this, it will be a reproach to him, and I will bring down his old age by sorrow into Hades [ᾅδου]. (Tob. 3:10)
The reference to Hades does not indicate that Raguel will be tormented in the afterlife, but that he will die of sorrow. The same connotation of ᾅδης occurs in a martyrdom account in 2 Maccabees, where a certain Eleazar asked the authorities προπέμπειν εἰς τὸν ᾅδην (“to send him to Hades”), which he considered preferable to disobeying the Torah (2 Macc. 6:23). Clearly, Eleazar did not mean that everlasting torment in the afterlife was preferable to limited torture in the present. Rather, Eleazar preferred an honorable death to an ignominious existence. Another martyr, Jesus of Nazareth, also spent time in Hades prior to his resurrection, according to Peter’s speech in Acts 2:25-32. Clearly, no martyr was expected to receive punishment while he or she awaited vindication from God on the day of resurrection.
An epitaph on a Jewish grave at Leontopolis, possibly from the first century C.E., displays a similar understanding of Hades. On the gravestone we read:
πεντήκοτα τριῶν ἐτέων κύκλον ἤδ᾽ ἀνύσαντα
αὐτὸς ὁ πανδαμάτωρ ἥρπασεν εἰς Ἀΐδην.
ὦ χθὼν ἀμμοφανής, οἷον δέμας ἀμφικαλύπτις
Ἀβράμου ψυχῆς τοῦ μακαριστοτάτου
οὐκ ἀγέραστος ἔφυ γὰρ ἀνὰ πτόλιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀρχῇ
πανδήμῳ ἐθνικῇ ἐστέφετ᾽ ἐν σοφίᾳ
δισσῶν γάρ τε τόπων πολιταρχῶν αὐτὸς ἐτειμῶ,
τὴν διμερῆ δαπάνην ἐξανύσας χάρισιν.
πάντα δέ σοι, ἐπέοιχ᾽ ὅσα τοι, ψυχή, πρὶν ἔκευθες,
καὶ τέκνων ἀγαθῶν αὔξομεν γενεή.
ἀλλὰ σύ, ὦ παροδεῖτα, ἰδὼν ἀγαθοῦ τάφον ἀνδρὸς
ὅν τε κατευφημῶν τοῖα φράσας ἄπιθι
γαῖαν ἔχοις ἐλαφρὰν εἰς τὸν ἅπαντα χρόνον
When he had already accomplished a span of fifty-three years, the all-subduer himself carried him off to Hades. O sandy earth, how notable a body you cover: that which had the soul of Abramos, the most fortunate of men. For he was not without honour in the city, but was crowned in his wisdom with a communal magistracy over all the people.
‘For you were honoured by holding a city magistracy in two places, fulfilling the double expense with gracious liberality. Until you hid yourself in the grave all things that befitted you were yours, dear soul, and we, a family of good children, increase them.’
‘But you, passer-by, beholding the grave of a good man, depart with these favourable words for him: “May you find the earth light upon you for all time.”’ (JIGRE, no. 39)
Clearly, this Abram, a pillar of his community, was not believed to be enduring punishment in Hades.
The universal experience of Hades is explicitly stated in ancient sources such as the Sibylline Oracles, where we read:
πάντες οἱ ἐπιχθόνιοι γεγαῶτες ἀνέρες εἰν Ἀίδαο δόμοις ἰέναι καλέονται
…all men who are born on earth are said to go to the House of Hades. (Sib. Or. 1:83-84)
Likewise, the Testament of Abraham states:
ἢ οὐκ οἶδας ὅτι οἱ ἀπὸ Ἀδὰμ καὶ Εὔας πάντες ἀπέθανον; καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐκ τῶν προφητῶν τὸν θάνατον ἐξέφυγεν· καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐκ τῶν βασιλευόντων ὑπάρχει ἀθάνατος· οὐδεὶς ἐκ τῶν προπατόρων ἐξέφυγεν τὸ τοῦ θανάτου μυστήριον· πάντες ἀπέθανον, πάντες ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ κατηλλάξαντο, πάντες τῇ τοῦ θανάτου δρεπάνῃ συλλέγονται·
Do you not know that all who have come from Adam and Eve have died, and none of the prophets has escaped death, and none of the rulers has been immortal, and none of the forefathers has escaped the mystery of death? All have died; all have gone to Hades; all have been gathered by the sickle of death. (T. Abraham [A] 8:9 [ed. Stone, 18-19])
Ancient Jewish sources such as these are sufficient to demonstrate that a simple reference to Hades did not automatically connote postmortem punishment. This leads us to conclude that Jesus’ statement that Capernaum will be brought down to Sheol refers to its utter debasement and humiliation, not to punishment in the afterlife. Capernaum’s fate in the eschaton will be taken up in the continuation of Jesus’ saying in L24-28.
L20-28 When the author of Luke combined the Woes on Three Villages with the saying about the fate of towns inhospitable toward the apostles, he decided to trim down the denunciation of Capernaum, for otherwise his text would have read as follows:
10:12 λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι Σοδόμοις ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ 10:13 οὐαί σοι Χοραζείν οὐαί σοι Βηθσαϊδά ὅτι εἰ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ καθήμενοι μετενόησαν 10:14 πλὴν Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν τῇ κρίσει ἢ ὑμῖν 10:15 καὶ σύ Καφαρναούμ μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ ἕως τοῦ ᾅδου καταβιβασθήσῃ Anth. ὅτι εἰ ἐν Σοδόμοις ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν σοί ἔμεινεν ἂν μέχρι τῆς σήμερον πλὴν Σοδόμοις ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν τῇ κρίσει ἢ σοί
10:12 I tell you, it will be easier for Sodom in that day than for that city. 10:13 Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if in Tyre and Sidon the powerful deeds had been performed that were done in you, they would have long since repented, sitting in sacking and ashes. 10:14 But it will be easier for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. 10:15 And you, Capernaum! Will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades! Anth. For if in Sodom the powerful deeds had been performed that were done in you, it would have remained until today. But it will be easier for Sodom in the judgment than for you.
By omitting the sections from Anth. marked above in bold or italics, the author of Luke was able to avoid repeating similarly worded materials while retaining what he regarded as the salient points of the combined sayings.
L20-23 Many scholars maintain that the author of Matthew fabricated the second half of Matt. 11:23 (L20-23) using the source behind Matt. 11:21 ∥ Luke 10:13 (L7-11) as a template. Other scholars, noting that parallelism is a characteristic feature of Jesus’ teaching, suppose that Matthew’s Gospel preserves the original scope of Woes on Three Villages. Two additional points that suggest that for L20-23 the author of Matthew depended on Anth. are (1) the relative ease with which Matthew’s wording reverts to Hebrew in L20-23 and (2) the presence of the verb form ἐγενήθησαν (egenēthēsan, “they were done”) in L21, which agrees with Luke’s use of the same verb form in L8, and therefore constitutes a sort of Lukan-Matthean agreement against Matthew’s ἐγένοντο in L8 (see above, Comment to L8).
L20 ὅτι εἰ ἐν Σοδόμοις (GR). The comparison of Capernaum to Sodom in L20 parallels the comparison of Chorazin and Bethsaida to Tyre and Sidon in L7.
שֶׁאִילּוּ בִּסְדוֹם (HR). On reconstructing ὅτι (hoti, “that,” “because”) with -שֶׁ (she-, “that,” “because”) and εἰ (ei, “if”) with אִילּוּ (’ilū, “if”), see above, Comment to L7.
On reconstructing the name Σόδομα (Sodoma, “Sodom”) with סְדוֹם (sedōm, “Sodom”), see Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, Comment to L118.
L21 ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις (GR). GR in L21 is identical to GR in L8. As we noted in Comment to L20-23, the author of Matthew’s use of the verb form ἐγενήθησαν (egenēthēsan, “they were done”) agrees with the appearance of this same verb form in L8 of Luke’s version of Woes on Three Villages. This Lukan-Matthean agreement strongly suggests that the author of Matthew relied on Anth. when he wrote L21.
נַעֲשׂוּ הַגְּבוּרוֹת (HR). On reconstructing γίνεσθαι (ginesthai, “to be”) with עָשָׂה (‘āsāh, “do”) and δύναμις (dūnamis, “might,” “mighty deed”) with גְּבוּרָה (gevūrāh, “might,” “mighty deed”), see above, Comment to L8.
L22 αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν σοί (GR). GR in L22 agrees with GR in L9 in everything but number. Whereas L9, being addressed to two towns, has a second-person plural pronoun, the pronoun in L22 is second-person singular.
שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹשִׂים בָּךְ (HR). On our Hebrew reconstruction, see above, Comment to L9.
In addition to an exorcism that Jesus performed for a man at the Capernaum synagogue (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37), the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law (Matt. 8:14-15; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38-39), the sick whom Jesus healed after the close of the Sabbath (Matt. 8:16; Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40-41), and the healing of the centurion’s slave (Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10), Luke 4:23 hints at other healings that took place in Capernaum.
L23 ἔμεινεν ἕως τῆς σήμερον (GR). In L23 we suspect that the author of Matthew slightly altered the wording of Anth. by replacing ἕως (heōs, “as far as,” “until”) with ἂν μέχρι (an mechri, “until”). Scholars have noted that using μέχρι instead of ἕως for “until” is more elegant Greek. In addition, μέχρι is rare in the Synoptic Gospels, and none of the instances of μέχρι that do occur are corroborated by the parallels in the other two Gospels. Moreover, the only other instance of μέχρι in Matthew appears in a redactional verse (Matt. 28:15). Perhaps the author of Matthew avoided ἕως in L23 because it had already occurred in L18 and L19.
הָיְתָה קַיֶּמֶת עַד הַיּוֹם (HR). In LXX the verb μένειν (menein, “to remain”) occurs more often as the translation of עָמַד (‘āmad, “stand”) than of any other verb, though קָם (qām, “stand”) is a close second. The Hebrew adjective קַיָּם (qayām, “existing,” “enduring”), which is well attested in rabbinic sources, does not occur in MT, but the Aramaic cognate, which occurs twice in Daniel (Dan. 4:23; 6:27), was rendered on one occasion with a participial form of μένειν in LXX (Dan. 6:27). Since we prefer to render direct speech in Mishnaic-style Hebrew, קַיָּם is a good choice for HR.
On reconstructing ἕως (heōs, “as far as,” “until”) with עַד (‘ad, “until”), see Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, Comment to L22.
On reconstructing σήμερον (sēmeron, “today”) as הַיּוֹם (hayōm, “today”), see Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L17.
In MT the formula עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה (‘ad hayōm hazeh, “until this day”) is more common than עַד הַיּוֹם (‘ad hayōm, “until today”), but several examples of the latter do occur. The formula עַד הַיּוֹם also occurs in rabbinic literature, as we see in the following example:
וּמִשֶׁנָּפלוּ אֱדוֹמִים בִּימֵי אֲמַצְיָהוּ לֹא הֶעֱמִידוּ מֶלֶךְ וְלֹא זָקְפוּ רֹאשׁ עַד הַיּוֹם…וּמִשֶׁנָפְלוּ פְלִשׁתִּים בִּימֵי חִזְקִיָּהוּ לֹא הֶעֱמִידוּ מֶלֶךְ עַד הַיּוֹם וּמִשֶׁנָפְלוּ מִצְרַיִם בְּיַד נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר לֹא נִתְנַשְּׂאֵת עוֹד עַל הַגּוֹיִם עַד הַיּוֹם
And since the Edomites fell in the days of Amaziah, they have not set up a king or raised their head until today [עַד הַיּוֹם]…. And since the Philistines fell in the days of Hezekiah, they have not set up a king until today [עַד הַיּוֹם]. And since the Egyptians fell by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, they have not again set themselves over the Gentiles until today [עַד הַיּוֹם]. (Seder Olam §20 [ed. Guggenheimer, 172])
L24-28 Many scholars regard Matt. 11:24 as a Matthean doublet, the more original form occurring in Matt. 10:15 parallel to Luke 10:12. They assume the author of Matthew adapted this saying to fit the new context in Woes on Three Villages. We have already stated our dissenting view that Matthew’s version of Woes on Three Villages, in which the woes against Chorazin and Bethsaida are perfectly balanced with the denunciation of Capernaum, reflects the more original form of Jesus’ saying. This is not to say, however, that the author of Matthew precisely replicated the wording of his source (Anth.). On the contrary, it appears that significant cross-pollination took place between the Matthean versions of the saying comparing the fate of towns that rejected the apostles to that of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Sending discourse (Matt. 10:15 ∥ Luke 10:12) and the comparison of Capernaum’s fate to Sodom’s (Matt. 11:24).
The following tables use color-coded words to indicate the cross-pollination that took place between the two distinct, though similar, sayings:
|Conduct in Town||Woes on Three Villages|
|Anth.||Matt. 10:15||Luke 10:12||Luke 10:14||Matt. 11:24||Anth.|
|ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι||ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν||λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι||πλὴν||πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι||πλὴν|
|ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται||ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται|
|γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρων||γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρων||Σοδόμοις||Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι||γῇ Σοδόμων||Σοδόμοις|
|ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται||ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται||ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται|
|ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ||ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως||ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ||ἐν τῇ κρίσει||ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως||ἐν τῇ κρίσει|
|ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ||ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ||ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ||ἢ ὑμῖν||ἢ σοί||ἢ σοί|
|Conduct in Town||Woes on Three Villages|
|Anth.||Matt. 10:15||Luke 10:12||Luke 10:14||Matt. 11:24||Anth.|
|Amen! I say to you that||Amen! I say to you,||I say to you that||But||But I say to you that||But|
|it will be easier||it will be easier|
|for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah||for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah||for Sodom||for Tyre and Sidon||for the land of Sodom||for Sodom|
|it will be easier||it will be easier||it will be easier|
|in that day||in the day of judgment||in that day||in the judgment||in the day of judgment||in the judgment|
|it will be easier|
|than for that town.||than for that town.||than for that town.||than for you.||than for you.||than for you.|
In the tables above, pink lettering in the Matt. 11:24 column indicates cross-pollination from the similar saying in Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town. Blue lettering in the Matt. 10:15 and Luke 10:12 columns indicates cross-pollination from Woes on Three Villages. Since Luke’s version of Woes on Three Villages lacks a parallel to Matt. 11:24, we have used Luke 10:14 (∥ Matt. 11:22) as a stand-in. To indicate that Luke 10:14 is merely a shadow of Matt. 11:24 we have marked its wording in grey.
In the comments below we will discuss in greater detail why the words marked in pink in Matt. 11:24 are likely to be secondary.
L24 πλὴν (GR). Matthew’s words following πλήν (plēn, “but”) in L24—λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι (legō hūmin hoti, “I say to you that”)—appear to be redactional, since the counterpart to L24 in Luke’s version of the woes against Chorazin and Bethsaida (L12) only has πλήν. What is more, Matthew’s second-person plural pronoun ὑμῖν (hūmin, “you”) disagrees with the rest of the denunciation of Capernaum, where it is addressed with the second-person singular pronouns σύ (sū, “you”; L17) and σοί (soi, “in/for you”; L22, L28). This numerical discrepancy suggests that λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι (“I say to you that”) is a (rather careless) Matthean addition to L24. This conclusion is further strengthened by the presence of λέγω ὑμῖν in the Lukan and Matthean versions of the saying on Sodom in Conduct in Town (Luke’s version also has ὅτι). In other words, the presence of λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι in Matt. 11:24 is probably due to cross-pollination with Jesus’ saying in Matt. 10:15 ∥ Luke 10:12.
אֲבָל (HR). On reconstructing πλήν (plēn, “but”) with אֲבָל (’avāl, “but”), see above, Comment to L12.
L25 Σοδόμοις (GR). That Matthew’s γῇ Σοδόμων (gē Sodomōn, “for the land of Sodom”) is another product of cross-pollination with the saying in Conduct in Town is shown by the fact that in the previous verse (Matt. 11:23) the author of Matthew had already referred to “Sodom” (L20) instead of the “land of Sodom.” The saying in Conduct in Town, on the other hand, had referred to the “land of Sodom and Gomorrah.” Presumably, Anth. read Σοδόμοις (Sodomois, “for Sodom”) in place of Matthew’s γῇ Σοδόμων.
לִסְדוֹם (HR). On reconstructing Σόδομα (Sodoma, “Sodom”) with סְדוֹם (sedōm, “Sodom”), see above, Comment to L20.
L26 ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται (GR). Matthew’s wording is exactly the same in L26 as in the Matthean and Lukan counterparts of the woes against Chorazin and Bethsaida (L14).
נוֹחַ יִהְיֶה (HR). On reconstructing ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται (anektoteron estai, “it will be more bearable”) as נוֹחַ יִהְיֶה (nōaḥ yihyeh, “it will be more comfortable”), see above, Comment to L14.
L27 ἐν τῇ κρίσει (GR). In Comment to L15 we already discussed how Matthew’s phrase ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως (“in the day of judgment”) is a conflation of ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ (“in that day”) from Jesus’ saying in Conduct in Town with ἐν τῇ κρίσει (“in the judgment”) from Woes on Three Villages.
בַּדִּין (HR). On reconstructing ἐν τῇ κρίσει (en tē krisei, “in the judgment”) as בַּדִּין (badin, “in the judgment”), see above, Comment to L15.
L28 ἢ σοί (GR). Apart from the change from plural to singular forms of the pronoun, Matthew’s wording is the same in L28 as its counterpart in the woes against Chorazin and Bethsaida (L16).
מִמֵּךְ (HR). On reconstructing ἤ + pronoun with מִן + pronominal suffix, see above, Comment to L16.
The authors of Luke and Matthew each left their own mark on Woes on Three Villages as they adapted this pericope to meet their literary needs and to reflect their personal interests. Their very different strategies of adaptation have the happy consequence that, by comparing the Lukan and Matthean versions, reconstructing the text of Woes on Three Villages in their shared source, the Anthology, is relatively easy.
|Woes on Three Villages|
|97.96%||% of Anth.
|Click here for details.|
The author of Luke’s approach to the Woes on Three Villages was to combine them with Jesus’ saying about the judgment awaiting inhospitable towns in the Conduct in Town pericope. His motivation for doing so was the close proximity of these two pericopae in Anth. Whereas the Anthologizer had tacked the Woes on Three Villages onto the end of the instructions to the twelve apostles, the author of Luke decided to tuck the woes into the main body of the Sending discourse. Combining the two pericopae gave the author of Luke the opportunity to trim away redundant “excess” material from Woes on Three Villages. As a consequence, Luke’s version of the woes is much shorter than Matthew’s, and the balanced parallelism between the woes on Chorazin and Bethsaida and the denunciation of Capernaum has been lost. Luke’s version of Woes on Three Villages lacks a narrative introduction (cf. Matt. 11:20) for the same reason.
On the other hand, those parts of Woes on Three Villages the author of Luke did retain are preserved with great fidelity to the wording in Anth. We have not found a single instance where the author of Luke altered Anth.’s phrasing of the parts of the woes he chose to include in his Gospel.
|Woes on Three Villages|
|67.74 [74.19]%||% of Anth.
|Click here for details.|
The author of Matthew’s approach to the Woes on Three Villages was to remove them from the context of the Sending discourse so that the repetition of similar material in Conduct in Town would not seem so tedious. By adopting this approach, the author of Matthew was free to retain the full scope of the woes as they appeared in Anth. Despite preserving Anth.’s shape, the author of Matthew was less conscientious than the author of Luke about replicating Anth.’s wording. On the contrary, the author of Matthew made frequent editorial changes to Anth.’s wording. Some of these were mere stylistic improvements (e.g., τότε in L1; the omission of καθήμενοι in L10 to sharpen the focus on repentance; μέχρι in L23), others were explanatory glosses (L3 and the consequent adaptations in L2 and L4), but others resulted from a verbal cross-pollination between the warning of judgment against inhospitable cities in Conduct in Town and Woes on Three Villages (λέγω ὑμῖν in L12 and λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι in L24; ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως in L15 and L27; γῇ Σοδόμων in place of Σοδόμοις in L25). This method of cross-pollination was probably meant to highlight the similarity of these two sayings, which had been brought to the author of Matthew’s attention by their juxtaposition in Anth.
Results of This Research
1. Why would it be worse in the final judgment for unrepentant Jewish villages in the Galilee than for notoriously wicked Gentile cities? It is unlikely that Jesus meant that the inhabitants of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were actually more wicked than the people of Tyre, Sidon and Sodom. Especially the latter served as the paradigm of utter depravity in ancient Jewish sources. Rather, it was because these Jewish villages were more accountable to God than the Gentile cities that they would be judged more harshly on the day of reckoning. As members of God’s covenant with Israel, they would be held to a higher standard than Gentiles who had never enjoyed a direct relationship with God.
2. What is the meaning of being brought down to Hades? Being brought down to Hades alludes to Isaiah’s prophecy against the king of Babylon, who aspired to ascend the heavens but was brought down to the netherworld, the abode of the dead (Hebrew: Sheol; Greek: Hades). As we discussed above, Sheol/Hades is not an eschatological concept like Gehenna, the fiery pit in which the wicked are finally destroyed following the resurrection of the dead. Rather, Sheol/Hades is the place where the spirits of the dead are currently awaiting the final judgment. Jesus’ depiction of Capernaum’s being brought down to Sheol/Hades is probably a metaphorical description of the Roman destruction of Jewish civilization that would come about if Israel did not abandon its aspirations of achieving political independence through a militant nationalist uprising.
In Woes on Three Villages Jesus lamented the fate that would befall Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum because they had not responded to his call to forsake populist notions about achieving political liberation from the Roman Empire through a violent uprising. The Woes on Three Villages have two temporal foci, the first being the impending destruction by the Romans if Jesus’ call to repentance continued to go unheeded, the second looming in the distant eschatological future, when the people of Jesus’ generation would be judged alongside the inhabitants of Tyre, Sidon and Sodom following the general resurrection.
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-  For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.’” ↩
-  This translation is a dynamic rendition of our reconstruction of the conjectured Hebrew source that stands behind the Greek of the Synoptic Gospels. It is not a translation of the Greek text of a canonical source. ↩
-  For a brief introduction to Lindsey’s hypothesis, see Robert L. Lindsey, “Unlocking the Synoptic Problem: Four Keys for Better Understanding Jesus.” ↩
-  See our discussion in Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, under the subheading “Conjectured Stages of Transmission.” ↩
-  On this block of John the Baptist material contained in Matt. 11:2-19 ∥ Luke 7:18-35, see “Yohanan the Immerser and the Kingdom of Heaven” complex. ↩
-  On Apostle and Sender as the final pericope in the Sending the Twelve discourse, see Apostle and Sender, under the subheading “Story Placement.”
Scholars working from the perspective of the Two-source Hypothesis generally agree that the Q version of the Sending discourse included Woes on Three Villages. See Kilpatrick, 86; Bundy, 171 §86; Knox, 53; Catchpole, 172; Luz, 2:151; Bovon, 2:42; Nolland, Matt., 466. See also Arland D. Jacobson, “The Literary Unity of Q Lc 10,2-16 and Parallels as a Test Case,” in Logia Les Paroles de Jésus—The Sayings of Jesus: Mémorial Joseph Coppens (ed. Joël Delobel; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1982), 419-423, esp. 421. Cf. Richard A. Edwards, “Matthew’s Use of Q in Chapter 11,” also in Logia Les Paroles de Jésus—The Sayings of Jesus: Mémorial Joseph Coppens, 257-275, esp. 262. For a different view see Beare, 157 §139. ↩
-  Not only do both pericopae mention Sodom, the phrase ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται (anektoteron estai, “it will be more bearable”) also occurs in both passages (Matt. 10:15 ∥ Luke 10:12; Matt. 11:22 ∥ Luke 10:14; Matt. 11:24). ↩
-  See Robert L. Lindsey, “The Hebrew Life of Jesus,” under the subheading “The Two Versions of the Beatitudes.” ↩
-  See “Yohanan the Immerser and the Kingdom of Heaven” complex. ↩
-  Cf. Manson, Sayings, 77. Marshall (424) and Davies-Allison (2:164, 236) follow Manson. ↩
-  Cf. Flusser’s comment that “the main guilt of Jesus’ generation was its apocalyptic fever [sic fervor?—DNB and JNT] which found its dangerous expression in Zealotism” (“Jesus and the Sign of the Son of Man” [Flusser, JOC, 526-534, esp. 531]). ↩
-  On the rising tide of a militant form of Jewish nationalism in the first century as witnessed in the works of Josephus and the New Testament, see Peter J. Tomson, “Romans 9-11 and Political Events in Rome and Judaea with Some Thoughts on Historical Criticism and Theological Exegesis,” Zeitschrift für Dialektische Theologie 33.1 (2017): 48-73; idem, “Sources on the Politics of Judaea in the 50s CE: A Response to Martin Goodman,” Journal of Jewish Studies 68.2 (2017): 234-259. ↩
-  On the political aspect of Jesus’ call to repentance, see N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), 246-258. ↩
-  Bethsaida, being within Philip’s tetrarchy, was not within the borders of Galilee, but the Jewish population within Philip’s territory had strong cultural affinities with the Jewish population in the Galilee. ↩
-  On the allusion to Deut. 8:20 in Jesus’ warnings in Luke 13:1-5, see Calamities in Yerushalayim, Comment to L13. ↩
-  See, for instance, Montefiore, 2:167; Bultmann, 112; Bundy, 173 §86; Vermes, Authentic, 324; Herbert Basser and Marsha B. Cohen, The Gospel of Matthew and Judaic Traditions (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 279. For a rebuttal of Bultmann’s objections, see Gerd Theissen, “Israel and the Nations: Palestine-Centered Cultural Perspectives in the Sayings of Jesus” (Theissen, Gospels, 43-59, esp. 51 n. 73). ↩
-  As Flusser noted, while the pre-synoptic tradition reflects Jesus’ emphasis on the importance of faith (Matt. 9:2 ∥ Mark 2:5 ∥ Luke 5:20; Matt. 9:22 ∥ Mark 5:34 ∥ Luke 8:48; Matt. 9:29 ∥ Mark 10:52 ∥ Luke 18:42; Luke 7:50; 17:19), it is only in redactional passages that Jesus demands belief in himself (Matt. 18:6; cf. Mark 9:42). See Flusser, Jesus, 65-66, 176; idem, “The Synagogue and the Church in the Synoptic Gospels” (JS1, 17-40, esp. 25). ↩
-  Pace Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, 246-258. ↩
-  We find that 45 words out of a total of 49 in Luke’s version of Woes on Three Villages are identical to those in Matthew’s version, yielding a rate of verbal identity with Matthew’s version of over 90%. Cf. Fitzmyer, 2:851. For these figures and on verbal identity in Double Tradition (DT) pericopae as an indicator of the sources used by the authors of Luke and Matthew, see LOY Excursus: Criteria for Distinguishing Type 1 from Type 2 Double Tradition Pericopae. ↩
-  See Allen, 120; Bundy, 172 §86; Conzelmann, 182 n. 4; Schweizer, 266; Fitzmyer, 2:851; Davies-Allison, 2:236; Theissen, “Israel and the Nations,” 49; Catchpole, 171; Nolland, Matt., 466; Luz, 2:151. ↩
-  See Manson, Sayings, 77. ↩
-  On τότε as an indicator of Matthean redaction, see Jesus and a Canaanite Woman, Comment to L22. Joseph A. Comber (“The Composition and Literary Characteristics of Matt 11:20-24,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 39.4 : 497-504, esp. 497), Davies-Allison (2:266) and Edwards (“Matthew’s Use of Q in Chapter 11,” 269) concur in regarding the τότε in Matt. 11:20 as redactional. ↩
-  See Randall Buth, “Distinguishing Hebrew from Aramaic in Semitized Greek Texts, with an Application for the Gospels and Pseudepigrapha” (JS2, 247-319, esp. 253-263). ↩
-  See Davies-Allison, 2:266. ↩
-  The only instances of τότε + ἄρχειν in Luke occur in direct speech (Luke 13:26; 14:9; 23:30). ↩
-  Cf. Edwards, “Matthew’s Use of Q in Chapter 11,” 269. ↩
-  The verb ὀνειδίζειν occurs in Matt. 5:11; 11:20; 27:44; Mark 15:32; 16:14; Luke 6:22. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 2:994. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 2:994. Cf. Davies-Allison, 2:266. ↩
-  See Dos Santos, 70. ↩
-  Theissen (“Israel and the Nations,” 49) questioned whether Bethsaida ever really attained full status as a polis. ↩
-  On the date of Bethsaida’s elevation to polis status, see Fred Strickert, “The Founding of the City of Julias by the Tetrarch Philip in 30 CE,” Journal of Jewish Studies 61.2 (2010): 220-233. ↩
-  Although, as Lindsey noted (LHNC, 813), Matthew’s use of πλεῖστος ὄχλος (“largest crowd”; Matt. 21:8) in the account of the Triumphal Entry may be dependent on Mark’s use of ὄχλος πλεῖστος (“largest crowd”; Mark 4:1) in the narrative introduction to the Four Soils parable. ↩
-  Cf. Davies-Allison, 2:266. ↩
-  For a discussion of the possibilities, see Moule (Idiom, 95). ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1027-1028. Cf. McNeile, 159. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered -אוֹי לְ with οὐαί + dative in Num. 21:29; 1 Kgdms. 4:7, 8; Hos. 7:13; 9:12; Isa. 3:9, 11; Jer. 4:13; 6:4; 13:27; Lam. 5:16; cf. Prov. 23:29. Cf. Davies-Allison, 2:266. ↩
-  Cf. Delitzsch’s translation of Matt. 11:21 ∥ Luke 10:13 and the reconstruction proposed by Resch (60). ↩
-  The interjection אוֹי occurs, for instance, in the important rabbinic denunciation of high priestly families that were prominent at the end of the Second Temple period:
על אילו ועל כיוצא בהן ועל הדומה להן ועל העושין כמעשיהן היה אבא שאול בן בטנית ואבא יוסי בן יוחנן איש ירושלם אוי לי מבית ביתוס אוי לי מאלתן אוי לי מבית קדרוס אוי לי מקולמסן אוי לי מבית אלחנן אוי לי מבית לחישתן אוי לי מבית אלישע אוי לי מאגרופן אוי לי מבית ישמעאל בן פאבי שהם כהנים גדולים ובניהם גזברים וחתניהם אמרכלין ועבדיהן באין וחובטין עלינו במקלות
Concerning these and concerning those who were like them and concerning those whose deeds were like their deeds Abba Shaul ben Bitnit and Abba Yose ben Yohanan of Jerusalem [said]: “Woe to me [אוֹי לִי] on account of the House of Boethus! Woe to me [אוֹי לִי] on account of their lances! Woe to me [אוֹי לִי] on account of the House of Kadros! Woe to me [אוֹי לִי] on account of their pens! Woe to me [אוֹי לִי] on account of the House of Elhanan! Woe to me [אוֹי לִי] on account of the place of their whispering! Woe to me [אוֹי לִי] on account of the House of Elisha! Woe to me [אוֹי לִי] on account of their usurpation! Woe to me [אוֹי לִי] on account of the House of Ishmael ben Phiabi, because they are high priests and their sons are treasurers and their sons-in-law are superintendents and their slaves come and strike us with staves!” (t. Men. 13:21; Vienna MS)
-  See Kutscher, 99 §160. ↩
-  Whereas the Kaufmann and Cambridge MSS read אִי לִי in this passage, printed editions often read אוֹי לִי. Cf. m. Kel. 17:16 (ed. Blackman, 6:124). Likewise, a parallel to m. Kel. 17:16 in the Tosefta reads אוֹי לִי according to the Erfurt MS (t. Kel. Bab. Metz. 7:9 [ed. Zuckermandel, 586]). This passage is missing from the Vienna MS. ↩
-  For exclamations of “Woe!” in response to a death, see 1 Kgs. 13:30. For exclamations of “Woe!” in response to a catastrophic event, see Num. 21:29; 1 Sam. 4:7, 8; Eccl. 4:10; 10:16. ↩
-  For exclamations of “Woe!” in anticipation of impending disaster, cf., e.g., Hos. 7:13; 9:12; Amos 5:16, 18; 6:1; Hab. 2:6; 2:12, 19; Zeph. 2:5. ↩
-  See the discussion of the imminent and eschatological aspects of Woes on Three Villages in John P. Meier, “The Debate on the Resurrection of the Dead: An Incident from the Ministry of the Historical Jesus?” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 77 (2000): 3-24, esp. 17-18. Meier resolved this tension by attributing to Jesus an imminent eschatology. ↩
-  See David Flusser, “The Stages of Redemption History According to John the Baptist and Jesus” (Flusser, Jesus, 258-275). ↩
-  See Calamities in Yerushalayim, Comment to L18-19. ↩
-  Dalman discussed the baraita in b. Men. 85a but cited it as t. Men. 9:2, a parallel but contradictory tradition that will be discussed shortly. See Gustaf Dalman, Sacred Sites and Ways: Studies in the Topography of the Gospels (trans. Paul P. Levertoff; New York: Macmillan, 1935), 153. Cf. Rainey-Notley, 356, where they cited t. Mak. 3:8 but presumably intended t. Men. 9:2. ↩
-  Some scholars, working from the assumption that the NT Chorazin is the true identity of the first village Rabbi Yose mentions in this baraita, have sought to identify Kefar Ahim/Ahus with Capernaum (Kefar Nahum). See, for instance, Joseph Klausner, “The Economy of Judea in the Period of the Second Temple,” in The World History of the Jewish People: The Herodian Period (ed. Michael Avi-Yonah; New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1975), 179-205, 361-365, esp. 180, 361 n. 9. Klausner depended on the opinion of Graetz, Geschichte der Juden: von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart, 3:291 n. 1. Such an association of Chorazin and Capernaum in an ancient source outside the New Testament would be welcome corroboration of the testimony in the Gospels, but the identifications are highly tenuous. See Theissen, “Israel and the Nations,” 49-50. ↩
-  The shift could occur in the process of translation from Hebrew to Greek or even within Hebrew itself. Kutscher (121-122 §199), for example, discussed the variants מֵרוֹן (mērōn) and מֵרוֹם (mērōm) as a Galilean toponym. The toponyms נָעִים (nā‘im) and נָעִין (nā‘in) may be another example. See Widow’s Son in Nain, Comment to L2. ↩
-  Delitzsch rendered Χοραζείν as כּוֹרָזִין in Matt. 11:21 and Luke 10:13. Resch (60) also used כּוֹרָזִין as the equivalent of Χοραζείν. ↩
-  Similar to reconstructing the Χο- of Χοραζείν with -כְּ are the LXX transliterations of כְּדָרְלָעֹמֶר (kedorlā‘omer) as Χοδολλογομορ (Chodollogomor) in Gen. 14:1, 4, 5, 9, 17 and of כְּרִית (kerit) as Χορραθ (Chorrath) in 3 Kgdms. 17:3, 5. ↩
-  Similar to reconstructing the Χορ- of Χοραζείν with -חוֹר is the LXX transliteration of חוֹרִי/חֹרִי (ḥōri/ḥori) as Χορρεί (Chorrei), var. Χορρί (Chorri) in Gen. 36:22, 29, 30; 1 Chr. 1:39. ↩
-  See Tal Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity: Part I Palestine 330 BCE—200 CE (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002), 19. ↩
-  Compare the LXX renderings of כֹּזֵבָא (kozēvā’, “Cozeba” [the name of a town]) as Χωζηβα (Chōzēba) in 1 Chr. 4:22 and כּוֹנַנְיָהוּ (kōnanyāhū) with Χωνενια (Chōnenia) in 2 Chr. 31:13. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered כְּבָר (kevār, “Chebar” [the name of a canal]) as Χοβαρ (Chobar) in Ezek. 1:1, 3; 3:15, 23; 10:20, 22; 43:3. ↩
-  On כְּדָרְלָעֹמֶר=Χοδολλογομορ and כְּרִית=Χορραθ, see prior footnotes. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered רָחָב (rāḥāv, “Rahab” [the name of a woman]) as Ρααβ (Raab) in Josh. 2:1, 3; 6:17, 23, 25. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered רָמָה (rāmāh, “Ramah” [the name of a town]) as Ραμα (Rama) in Josh. 18:25; 19:29; Judg. 4:5; 19:13; 1 Kgdms. 19:19, 22, 23 (2xx); 20:1; 22:6; 3 Kgdms. 15:17, 21, 22; 2 Chr. 16:1, 5, 6; 22:6; Isa. 10:29; Jer. 38:15. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered רָאמֹת (rā’mot, “Ramoth” [the name of a city]), var. רָמוֹת (rāmōt), as Ραμωθ (Ramōth) in Deut. 4:43; Josh. 21:38; 1 Chr. 6:65; 2 Chr. 18:2, 3, 5, 11, 14, 19, 28. ↩
-  The LXX translators treated רָפָה (rāfāh, “giant”) as a name, rendering it as Ραφα (Rafa) in 2 Kgdms. 21:16, 18, 20, 22; 1 Chr. 20:8. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered רָחֵל (rāḥēl) as Ραχηλ (Rachēl) in Gen. 29:6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18 (2xx), 20, 25, 28, 29, 30 (2xx), 31; 30:1 (2xx), 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 22, 23, 25; 31:4, 14, 19, 32, 33, 34; 33:1, 2, 7; 35:16, 19, 20, 24, 25; 46:19, 22, 25; 48:7; Ruth 4:11; 1 Kgdms. 10:2; Jer. 38:15. ↩
-  See Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity, 19. ↩
-  See Dalman, Sacred Sites and Ways, 164; Mendel Nun, “Has the Lost City of Bethsaida Finally Been Found?” under the subheading “Bethsaida Renamed Julias.” ↩
-  See W. F. Albright, “New Identifications of Ancient Towns,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 9 (1923): 5-10, esp. 9, where Albright discussed the possible identification of the town of Bethany (Βηθανία [Bēthania]) known from the Gospels with the town of עֲנָנְיָה (‘anānyāh, “Ananiah”) mentioned in Neh. 11:32. Rainey-Notley (363) accepted Albright’s identification. ↩
-  The spelling בֵּית צַיְדָא is supported by McNeile (160) and Rainey-Notley (357). Delitzsch (Matt. 11:21; Luke 10:13) and Resch (60) adopted the spelling בֵּית צַיְדָה. ↩
-  Cf. Davies-Allison, 2:267 n. 143. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered בֵּית אֵל (bēt ’ēl, “Bethel”) as Βαιθηλ (Baithēl) in Gen. 12:8 (2xx); 13:3 (2xx); 35:1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 15, 16, and many times elsewhere. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered בֵּית לֶחֶם (bēt leḥem, “Bethlehem”) as Βαιθλεεμ (Baithleem) in Gen. 48:7; Judg. 12:8; Ruth 1:1, 2, 19, 22; 2:4; 4:11; 2 Kgdms. 2:32; 23:14, 15, 16, 24; 1 Chr. 11:16, 17, 18; 2 Chr. 11:6; 2 Esd. 2:21; 17:26. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered בֵּית חוֹרֹן (bēt ḥōron, “Beth-horon”) as Βαιθωρων (Baithōrōn) in Josh. 16:3, 5; 18:13, 14; 21:22; 1 Kgdms. 13:18; 1 Chr. 6:53; 7:24; 2 Chr. 8:5 (2xx); 25:13. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered בֵּית עַזְמָוֶת (bēt ‘azmāvet, “Beth-azmaveth”) as Βηθασμωθ (Bēthasmōth) in 2 Esd. 17:28. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered בֵּית הַכֶּרֶם (bēt hakerem, “Beth-hakerem”) as Βηθαχαρμ (Bēthacharm) in 2 Esd. 13:14. ↩
-  The LXX translators rendered בֵּית צוּר (bēt tzūr, “Beth-zur”) as Βηθσουρ (Bēthsour) in 2 Esd. 13:16. ↩
-  On Rabbi Yehoshua’s interactions with Emperor Hadrian, see Moshe David Herr, “The Historical Significance of the Dialogues Between the Jewish Sages and Roman Dignitaries,” Scripta Hierosolymitana 22 (1971): 123-150, esp. 142-144. ↩
-  Thus the Soncino translation of this passage reads, “pheasants from Zidon,” with a footnote explaining that Zidon (i.e., “Sidon”) is a “Phœnician town.” Jastrow (1275), too, conflated צִידוֹן (“Sidon”) and צַיְדָן (“Tzaydan”), assuming that both names referred to the Phoenician city. ↩
-  Scholars have noted that the βηθ-/בֵּית component of place names was sometimes added or dropped. See W. F. Albright, “Bethany in the Old Testament,” The Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 4 (1924): 158-160, esp. 160. ↩
-  See Mendel Nun, “Has the Lost City of Bethsaida Finally Been Found?”; R. Steven Notley, “The Search for Bethsaida: Is It Over?”; idem, “Et-Tell Is Not Bethsaida,” Near Eastern Archaeology 70.4 (2007): 220-230; Notley-Rainey, 356-359. ↩
-  For more information on the ongoing excavations at el-Araj, visit the el-Araj Excavation Project website, and see Ruth Schuster, “Has the ‘Lost City’ of the Gospels Finally Been Found?” haaretz.com (Aug. 3, 2021) (archived here on the Internet Archive‘s WayBack Machine). ↩
-  On reconstructing εἰ with אִם, see Tower Builder and King Going to War, Comment to L4. ↩
-  See Segal, 230 §490. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 3:151. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 3:145. ↩
-  See Harnack, 19. ↩
-  See Fitzmyer, 2:851. ↩
-  Jastrow (338) does not list occurrences of ה-י-ה in the nif‘al stem. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 1:350-353. ↩
-  See Dos Santos, 33. ↩
-  Cf. Davies-Allison, 2:266. ↩
-  See Harnack, 19. ↩
-  See Fitzmyer, 2:854; Nolland, Matt., 467; idem, Luke, 2:556; Wolter, 2:62-63. ↩
-  Text and translation according to Frank Cole Babbit et al., trans., Plutarch’s Moralia (16 vols.; Loeb; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1927-2004), 2:474-475. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1051. ↩
-  In Mark 15:44, for instance, πάλαι is often translated as “already.” ↩
-  On reconstructing ἤδη with כְּבָר, see Friend in Need, Comment to L11. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1257. Cf. Davies-Allison, 2:267. See also LOY Excursus: Greek Transliterations of Hebrew, Aramaic and Hebrew/Aramaic Words in the Synoptic Gospels. ↩
-  See Dos Santos, 201. ↩
-  We encounter the term σάκκος in the writings of Classical Greek authors such as Herodotus (Hist. 9:80; fifth cent. B.C.E.) and Aristophanes (Ach. 745; ca. 425 B.C.E.). ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1285. Cf. Davies-Allison, 2:267. ↩
-  See Dos Santos, 15. ↩
-  Resch (60) similarly reconstructed μετανοεῖν with עָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה in Woes on Three Villages. ↩
-  Cf. Fitzmyer, 2:851; Nolland, Matt., 467. ↩
-  Cf. Schweizer, 266; Gundry, Matt., 214. The phrase ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως occurs in only one other place in the Synoptic Gospels, in a saying unique to the Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 12:36). It is difficult to say whether the author of Matthew used “in the day of judgment” in Matt. 12:36 because he found ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως in his source or because he remembered this phrase from the previous chapters of his Gospel. If ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως occurred in his source for Matt. 12:36, it is possible that it encouraged him to combine ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ with ἐν τῇ κρίσει and use the phrase ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως in Matt. 10:15; 11:22, 24. ↩
-  Cf. Marshall, 425; Fitzmyer, 2:851; Davies-Allison, 2:268. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 2:789-790. ↩
-  See Dos Santos, 43. ↩
-  Cf., e.g., Gen. 44:17; Num. 31:19; 2 Sam. 13:13; 1 Kgs. 1:20; Ezek. 34:17; 39:17. ↩
-  Cf. Delitzsch’s translation of καὶ σύ Καφαρναούμ as וְאַתְּ כְּפַר נַחוּם (Matt. 11:23; Luke 10:15). On the other hand, Resch (61) reconstructed καὶ σύ Καφαρναούμ as וְאַתָּה כְּפַר נַחוּם. ↩
-  Many LXX MSS omit 3 Kgdms. 14:12, but it appears in Codex Alexandrinus. ↩
-  According to Tov, the corruption of transliterated words was a common occurrence in the transmission of LXX texts. See Emanuel Tov, “Loan-Words, Homophony, and Transliterations in the Septuagint,” in his The Greek and Hebrew Bible: Collected Essays on the Septuagint (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 165-182, esp. 174. ↩
-  As we saw with the name “Chorazin” (Χοραζείν=כְּרָזִין), the Greek letter chi could be used to represent the Hebrew letter kaf (see above, Comment to L5). ↩
-  This latter passage (Eccl. Rab. 7:26 §3) also mentions towns called כפר גבוריא and כפר סאמא. ↩
-  Printed editions of the Mishnah read כְּפַר עֵיטָם (kefar ‘ēṭām) in m. Yev. 12:6. See Blackman, 3:92. ↩
-  See Rainey-Notley, 355. ↩
-  Ibid. ↩
-  See Benedikt Niese, Flavii Iosephi Opera (7 vols.; Berlin: Weidmann, 1885-1895), 4:385. Another variant reading is Καρφανώμων (Karfanōmōn), where we witness the same inversion of consonants as we saw in Josh. 18:24, where כְּפַר הָעַמֹּנָה=Καραφα. ↩
-  See Beare, 89 §66. Cf. J. Green, 416. ↩
-  In this respect, we might compare the relationship between the first-century Jewish pietists known as the Hasidim and the general population. It appears that the Hasidim were regarded affectionately, and those who experienced healings through the intercessory prayers of the Hasidim were certainly grateful. But this affection and gratitude did not translate into widespread adoption of Hasidut, the distinctive halachic practices of the Hasidim. Of course, the Hasidim did not attach the same redemptive significance to Hasidut that Jesus attached to following the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven. On the Hasidim and their similarities to Jesus, see Shmuel Safrai, “Jesus and the Hasidim” and the literature he cites there. ↩
-  See Shmuel Safrai, “The Jewish Cultural Nature of Galilee in the First Century,” under the subheading “Sages in Galilee: Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai.” ↩
-  See above, Comment to L5. The theme of destruction emerges even more sharply if we are correct in regarding Woes on Three Villages as the continuation of Calamities in Yerushalayim. ↩
-  See Chana Safrai, “The Kingdom of Heaven and the Study of Torah” (JS1, 169-189). ↩
-  See Plummer, Luke, 277; Allen, Matt., 121; McNeile, 160; Creed, 146; Manson, Sayings, 77; Marshall, 425; Albright-Mann, 143; Fitzmyer, 2:852; Davies-Allison, 2:268; Hagner, 2:314; Luz, 2:153; Nolland, Matt., 468; Bovon, 2:30; Wolter, 2:63. ↩
-  There must have been more than a hint of irony in comparing the village of Capernaum to the mighty king of Babylon. ↩
-  Whereas it does appear that the Greek translator of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua made use of LXX for direct quotations, when it came to biblical allusions he often displayed considerable independence from LXX. On the use of LXX by the Greek translator of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua, see Yohanan the Immerser’s Question, Comment to L43. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1422. ↩
-  Nevertheless, Delitzsch used the ר-ו-מ root in his translations of Matt. 11:23 and Luke 10:15 (his translations of the two verses are not identical). Likewise, Resch (61) reconstructed ὑψωθήσῃ (hūpsōthēsē, “you will be exalted”) with the ר-ו-מ root. ↩
-  See Charles Cutler Torrey, “The Biblical Quotations in Matthew,” in his Documents of the Primitive Church (New York: Harper & Bros., 1941), 41-90, esp. 63. Torrey’s full reconstruction of Jesus’ allusion to Isa. 14:13-15 in Woes on Three Villages reads: הַעַד הַשָּׁמַיִם תֵּעָלִי עַד שְׁאוֹל תּוּרְדִי (ha‘ad hashāmayim tē‘āli ‘ad she’ōl tūredi, “Will you be brought up unto the heavens? Unto Sheol you will be brought down!”). Some of the differences between our reconstruction and Torrey’s reflect our preference to reconstruct direct speech in Mishnaic-style Hebrew. Thus we have dispensed with the interrogative -ה, which became rare in MH (Segal, 220 §461), and preferred to put the ע-ל-ה root in the hitpa‘el stem. ↩
-  See Jastrow, 1082. ↩
-  Cf. Gundry, Matt., 214. ↩
-  See McNeile, 161; Metzger, 31, 151-152; Gundry, Use, 81. ↩
-  Cf. France, Matt., 436 n. 5. ↩
-  On reconstructing ἕως with עַד, see Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, Comment to L22. ↩
-  Another possibility is that Jesus’ allusion to Isa. 14:15 was not exact and that ἕως should be reconstructed with עַד, or that Jesus alluded to a pre-Masoretic version of Isa. 14:15 that read עַד instead of אֶל. Since the text of Isa. 14:15 has not been preserved among DSS, this hypothesis can be neither disproven nor confirmed. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 1:24. Cf. Fitzmyer, 2:855; Davies-Allison, 2:269; Nolland, Luke, 2:557. ↩
-  See Dos Santos, 202. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 2:727-728. ↩
-  See Dos Santos, 85. ↩
-  Marshall (425) and Gundry (Matt., 214) incline toward this view. Nolland (Luke, 2:557) equivocates. ↩
-  Plummer (Luke, 277), McNeile (161), France (Matt., 439) and Luz (2:153 n. 22) adopt the spatial view. ↩
-  Cf., e.g., Davies-Allison (2:269), who rely on W. J. P. Boyd, “Gehenna—According to J. Jeremias,” in Studia Biblica 1978 II. Papers on the Gospels (ed. E. A. Livingstone; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1980), 9-12. Note that Boyd does not take into consideration any ancient Jewish or early Christian sources external to the New Testament. ↩
-  On the conception of Hades in ancient Jewish and early Christian sources, see Joachim Jeremias, “ᾅδης,” TDNT, 1:146-149. ↩
-  The eschatological character of Gehenna is clear in m. Avot 5:19 from its contrast with the world to come. In t. Sanh. 13:3 the eschatological character of Gehenna is implied by the quotation of Dan. 12:2, the most explicit resurrection text in the Hebrew Scriptures. ↩
-  Text and translation according to William Hornbury and David Noy, Jewish Inscriptions of Graeco-Roman Egypt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 95-96. ↩
-  Text according to Johannes Geffcken, ed., Die Oracula Sibyllina (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1902), 9. Translation according to Charlesworth, 1:336. ↩
-  Cf. T. Abraham (A) 19:7. Text and translation according to Michael E. Stone, trans., The Testament of Abraham: The Greek Recensions (Missoula, Mont.: Society of Biblical Literature, 1972), 18-19. ↩
-  It is true that some ancient Jewish sources indicate that the righteous and the wicked are kept in separate holding cells within Hades/Sheol as they await the resurrection (1 Enoch 22:1-14; Luke 16:22-26; Jos., Ant. 18:14) and that the holding cells of the wicked are unpleasant, but this does not amount to conflating Hades/Sheol with Gehenna. For Jewish sects that did not believe in the resurrection, Hades/Sheol was indeed the end of the wicked (and of the righteous). Cf. Jub. 22:22. Josephus, who had difficulty explaining Jewish beliefs about the afterlife to his non-Jewish readers, seems to stake out a middle ground, also attested in some rabbinic sources, that only the righteous take part in the resurrection, whereas the punishment of the wicked is to be abandoned to Hades/Sheol forever. Thus, in J.W. 2:163 Josephus explains that the Pharisees believe in resurrection, but only of good people. Evil persons, on the other hand, are punished in Hades (cf. J.W. 3:374-375; Ant. 18:14). Such a eschatological scheme does not conflate Hades/Sheol with Gehenna; Gehenna is excluded from the picture entirely. ↩
-  Cf. Bundy, 335 §206; Marshall, 426. ↩
-  See Beare, 89 §66; Gundry, Matt., 215; Davies-Allison, 2:236, 269; Luz, 2:151. See also Comber, “The Composition and Literary Characteristics of Matt 11:20-24,” 500. ↩
-  See Bultmann, 112; Manson, Sayings, 77; Edwards, “Matthew’s Use of Q in Chapter 11,” 270. ↩
-  See Healing Shimon’s Mother-in-law. ↩
-  See Nolland, Luke, 2:557. ↩
-  See Harnack, 16; Bovon, 2:465 n. 57. ↩
-  See Lindsey, GCSG, 2:139. We judged μέχρι to be redactional in Luke 16:16. See The Kingdom of Heaven Is Increasing, Comment to L12. ↩
-  Cf. Nolland, Matt., 468. ↩
-  See Hatch-Redpath, 2:910. ↩
-  We find examples of עַד הַיּוֹם in Gen. 19:37, 38; 35:20; 2 Kgs. 10:27; Ezek. 20:31; 2 Chr. 20:26; 35:25. ↩
-  See Beare, 89 §66; Gundry, Matt., 215; Davies-Allison, 2:236; Catchpole, 172; Hagner, 2:313; Nolland, Matt., 466, 468 n. 69. See also Comber, “The Composition and Literary Characteristics of Matt 11:20-24,” 500. ↩
-  Cf. Catchpole, 171-172. ↩
-  Sloppiness does appear to be a feature of Matthean redaction. We have noted other instances of the author of Matthew’s carelessness, for instance:
- the Baptist’s recognition of Jesus as the Coming One in Matt. 3:14-15 followed by the Baptist’s uncertainty in Matt. 11:2-3 (see Yeshua’s Immersion, Comment to L12-22);
- the dissonance created by the author of Matthew’s transformation of the disciples’ expression of concern into a prayer for salvation (Matt. 8:25) followed by Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples for their lack of faith (Matt. 8:26) despite their prayer being a clear expression of faith (see Quieting a Storm, Comment to L35);
- the creation of an inaccurate prophecy that just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:38), even though the author of Matthew knew this pseudo-prophecy did not match his own timeline for Jesus’ death and resurrection (see Sign-Seeking Generation, Comment to L39).
- the reference to Herodias’ daughter dancing “in the midst” but the failure to refer to the banquet and the guests in Matt. 14:6 (see Yohanan the Immerser’s Execution, Comment to L41);
- the creation of an unfulfilled prophecy in Matt. 16:28 by referring to the Son of Man’s coming instead of “seeing the kingdom of God” during the lifetime of Jesus’ audience (see Completion, Comment to L26-27);
- attributing contradictory statements to Jesus in Matt. 17:20 by having Jesus tell the disciples that they were unable to expel a demon because of their “little faith” but going on to tell them that with faith as small as a mustard seed they can move mountains (see Faith Like a Mustard Seed, under the subheading “Story Placement”);
- the addition of “or on the Sabbath” (Matt. 24:20) to the command to pray that the flight from Jerusalem not take place in winter in apparent ignorance of the fact that flight was permitted on the Sabbath (see Yerushalayim Besieged, Comment to L36).
Woes on Three Villages Luke’s Version Anthology’s Wording (Reconstructed) οὐαί σοι Χοραζείν οὐαί σοι Βηθσαϊδά ὅτι εἰ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ καθήμενοι μετενόησαν πλὴν Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν τῇ κρίσει ἢ ὑμῖν καὶ σύ Καφαρναούμ μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ ἕως τοῦ ᾅδου καταβήσῃ [καὶ ἤρξατο ὀνειδίζειν τὰς πόλεις ἃς οὐ μετενόησαν λέγων] οὐαί σοι Χοραζείν οὐαί σοι Βηθσαϊδάν ὅτι εἰ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ καθήμενοι μετενόησαν πλὴν Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν τῇ κρίσει ἢ ὑμῖν καὶ σύ Καφαρναούμ μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ ἕως τοῦ ᾅδου καταβιβασθήσῃ ὅτι εἰ ἐν Σοδόμοις ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν σοί ἔμεινεν ἕως τῆς σήμερον πλὴν Σοδόμοις ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν τῇ κρίσει ἢ σοί Total Words: 49 Total Words: 73  Total Words Identical to Anth.: 48 Total Words Taken Over in Luke: 48 Percentage Identical to Anth.: 97.96% Percentage of Anth. Represented in Luke: 65.75 [58.54]%
Woes on Three Villages Matthew’s Version Anthology’s Wording (Reconstructed) τότε ἤρξατο ὀνειδίζειν τὰς πόλεις ἐν αἷς ἐγένοντο αἱ πλεῖσται δυνάμεις αὐτοῦ ὅτι οὐ μετενόησαν οὐαί σοι Χοραζείν οὐαί σοι Βηθσαϊδάν ὅτι εἰ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι ἐγένοντο αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ μετενόησαν πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ ὑμῖν καὶ σύ Καφαρναούμ μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ ἕως ᾅδου καταβήσῃ ὅτι εἰ ἐν Σοδόμοις ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν σοί ἔμεινεν ἂν μέχρι τῆς σήμερον πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι γῇ Σοδόμων ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ σοί [καὶ ἤρξατο ὀνειδίζειν τὰς πόλεις ἃς οὐ μετενόησαν λέγων] οὐαί σοι Χοραζείν οὐαί σοι Βηθσαϊδάν ὅτι εἰ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν ὑμῖν πάλαι ἂν ἐν σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ καθήμενοι μετενόησαν πλὴν Τύρῳ καὶ Σειδῶνι ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν τῇ κρίσει ἢ ὑμῖν καὶ σύ Καφαρναούμ μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ ἕως τοῦ ᾅδου καταβιβασθήσῃ ὅτι εἰ ἐν Σοδόμοις ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν σοί ἔμεινεν ἕως τῆς σήμερον πλὴν Σοδόμοις ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν τῇ κρίσει ἢ σοί Total Words: 93 Total Words: 73  Total Words Identical to Anth.: 63  Total Words Taken Over in Matt: 63  Percentage Identical to Anth.: 67.74 [74.19]% Percentage of Anth. Represented in Matt.: 86.30 [84.15]%