Woe unto thee, Chorazin!
&c.] Though many of Christ's mighty works were done in this place, yet mention is made of it no where else, but here; whether it was a single city, or a country, is not easy to determine: the word (Nyvrwx) , "Chorasin", signifying "woody places", Dr. Lightfoot F12 conjectures it might include Cana, in which Christ wrought his first miracle, and a small adjacent country, situated in a wood, and be so called from thence; and Origen F13 reads it, (cora zin) , "the region of Zin":
woe unto thee, Bethsaida!
This was the city of Andrew and Peter, (See Gill on John 1:44); so that as bad as it was, some persons were called out of it by the grace of God, and to the high office of apostleship; and which makes that grace in such the more distinguishing:
for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in
Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and
These words are to be understood in a popular sense, as Grotius observes, and express what was probable, according to an human judgment of things; and the meaning is, that if the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon had had the advantages of Christ's ministry, and of seeing his miracles, as the inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida had, it looks very likely, or one would be ready to conclude, especially from many coming out of these parts, to attend on Christ's ministry, ( Mark 3:8 ) and from the conversion of some of them in after times, ( Acts 21:3 Acts 21:4 ) they would have repented of their sins; at least, in an external way, signified by sackcloth and ashes, which were outward signs of repentance; see ( Isaiah 58:5 ) ( Jeremiah 6:26 ) . And which, if it had been only performed in such a manner by the inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida, would have saved them from temporal judgments, which their sins now called for. The words are an hyperbolical exaggeration of the wickedness of those cities, like to ( Ezekiel 3:5-7 ) showing, that they were worse than the Tyrians and Sidonians; an Heathenish and idolatrous people, who lived very profligate and dissolute lives, in all intemperance, luxury, and impiety; and therefore would be punished in a severer way: neither this passage, nor what follows, can be any proof of God's giving sufficient grace to all men alike, which in some is effectual to conversion, and in others not, but of the contrary; since the men of Tyre and Sidon had not the same means, or the same grace, as the inhabitants of the other cities, if the mighty works done among them are to be called so; or that man has a power to repent of himself, in a spiritual and evangelical way; or that outward means, as doctrines and miracles, are sufficient to produce such a repentance, without efficacious and unfrustrable grace; since only an outward repentance is here supposed, such as that of Ahab, and of the Ninevites.
F12 Chorogr. Cent. in Matth. p. 84. Vol. 2.
F13 Philocalia, p. 109.