Luke 10:15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven,

KJV Verse: 

Luk 10:15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Also you, Capernaum, you aren't going to want to be lifted up to the sky? You are going to bring yourself down to the netherworld.

Hidden Meaning: 

Word-for-word the same as the beginning of Matthew 11:23. The Greek here makes more sense than the KJV translation which seems to say that the village is already exalted. Most modern biblical translations do this better, making the sentence a question, but the original Greek is clearly a negative statement. They all miss the key point that this is something the town is doing to itself.

There is a negative used here that is untranslated in most Biblical translations. It is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done.

"Exalted" is a word that means "to lift high" and "raise up." It is a metaphor for "elevate" and "exalt." It is in the second person future passive.

The word translated as "to" means "until" but it also means "up to the point that."

The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods.

"Brought down" is a word which means "to bring down" and "to bring down from." It also is in the second person future, but in a form that means the subject is acting on itself.

"Hell" is the Greek concept of the land of departed spirits. It is the name of Pluto, the god of the underworld and used for the netherworld. Interesting, this is the first time that this world is used in Matthew. The term often translated as "hell" prior to this in Matthew has been genna (Gehenna), the burning trash dump outside of Jerusalem. See this article on the words for "hell".  


In the Greek, the words translated as "exalted" and "down to" are clearly antonyms, "lifted up" and "brought down." However, the "lifting up" is down by someone else, a passive form, while the "bringing down" is something that they town is going to do to itself, a "middle passive" in Greek. 

Christ is exaggerating here and in the previous verses, for humorous effect. He may be mimicking the style of John that Baptist, who was the subject of the verses proceeding these. However, he doesn't take is as seriously, as he makes clear at the end, in  Mat 11:25


Καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just." -

σύ, (pron 2nd sg nom ) "You" is from su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

Καφαρναούμ, (noun) "Capernaum" is from Kapharnaoum, which is the Greek spelling of the fishing village in Galilee where Christ taught in the synagogue.

μὴ (parftic) Untranslated is me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

 “ἕως (conj) "To" is from heos which means "until", "till," and "in order that" and "up to the point that."

οὐρανοῦ (noun sg masc gen) "Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

ὑψωθήσῃ; (2nd sg fut ind pass) "Art exhalted" is from hypsoo (hupsoo), which means "to lift high", "to raise up." It is a metaphor for "to elevate" and "to exalt."

ἕως (conj) "To" is from heos which means "until", "till," and "in order that" and "up to the point that."

ᾄδου (noun sg masc gen ) "Hell" is from hades, the Greek term for the netherworld. It is a place of departed spirits. It is also a synonym for "death."

καταβήσῃ.” (2nd sg fut ind mid) "Brought down" is katabibazô, which means to "cause to bring down" "come down from", "dismount from", "go down from", "attain (metaphor)", "come to", "arrive at", "conform to", "condescend", "fall in value," and "to bring down."

ἕως τοῦ ᾄδου” “καταβήσῃ.”

Related Verses: 

Jan 16 2018