Hi everyone, please how can I explain the death of judas in the gospel of Matthew 27:5 and Act 1:17-18. Please I need help
My Question: hi please how can I explain the death of judas in the gospel of Matthew 27:5 and Act 1:17-18. Please I need help
Hope this helps. I’m sure there is more info others can give as well.
Matthew says that Judas died by hanging. Here is the account in Matthew’s Gospel: “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, ‘It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.’ So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day” [matthew 27:5-8]
Luke says that Judas fell into a field and that his body ruptured. Here is the account in Acts: “With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood” [Acts 1:18–19]
Concerning how Judas died, here is a simple reconciliation of the facts: Judas hanged himself in the potter’s field [Matthew 27:5], and that is how he died. Then, after his body had begun to decay and bloat, the rope broke, or the branch of the tree he was using broke, and his body fell, bursting open on the land of the potter’s field ([Acts 1:18–19].
Note that Luke does not say that Judas died from the fall, only that his body fell. The Acts passage presumes Judas’s hanging, as a man falling down in a field does not normally result in his body bursting open. Only decomposition and a fall from a height could cause a body to burst open. So Matthew mentions the actual cause of death, and Luke focuses more on the horror surrounding it.
Concerning who paid for the field, here are two possible ways to reconcile the facts: 1) Judas was promised the thirty pieces of silver several days before Jesus’ arrest [Mark 14:11]. Sometime during the days leading up to his betrayal of Jesus, Judas made arrangements to purchase a field, although no money had yet been transferred. After the deed was done, Judas was paid, but he then returned the money to the chief priests. The priests, who considered the silver to be blood money, completed the transaction that Judas had begun and bought the field. 2) When Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver down, the priests took the money and used it to buy the potter’s field [Matthew 27:7]. Judas may not have purchased the field personally, but he provided the money for the transaction and could then be said to be the purchaser.
I struggled with, and prayed about, the conflict in scripture that this seemed to represent, as well. Thankfully, this is what I have come to understand according to what is written:
Matthew 27:5 explains that Judas “cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” He never took the silver from the temple nor did he choose to use it to purchase the potter’s field.
The chief priests, knowing that it was the “price of blood”, would not put it back into the treasury and so decided to buy a potter’s field.
Acts 1:18 says “Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.” Notice it did not say that Judas purchased a field, but “this man”.
Again, the chief priests conspired to purchase the field with the price of blood money. So, “this man” must be a priest who having bought the field fell headlong into it and burst open. This tells me that the priest did not get off free from the “price of blood” transaction any more than did Judas. It caused the death of both.
It is a warning that you can’t clean up dirty money. God will not receive it as a sacrifice. So, “this man” had to be one of the chief priests…which one, we don’t know…designated to buy the field with the dirty money and then visit it, take possession of it, or whatever made him go to it, since he died on it.
The scripture does not say that the potter’s field is where Judas died. I suspect he wouldn’t have been left hanging while “this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity.”
I don’t think we have to add possibilities, unless we try to make Judas and the man who purchased the field the same person which Matthew 27:5 shows are not the same: specifically, Judas left having nothing to do with the money.
The blood money was used to purchase the field by “this man” (who can only be someone in possession of the blood money, i.e. one of the priests) who fell and burst open in the midst of it…instant judgement for the man who made the purchase…and the field turned into a field of blood as a witness throughout Jerusalem.
Hi, Ayuba! This is a good question that shows attention to the details of what is written in Scripture. It can definitely be challenging to sort out why the ancient writers said what they did, how they did, and where they did!
I saw your post and thought of another recent conversation about Judas’ death and how it is recorded—I thought you might be interested in the posts there: Judas Iscariot’s death
I hope you will keep wrestling with Scripture—don’t let the challenges keep you from digging deep. And by all means, keep asking questions and pressing in, Ayuba.
Thanks bro but if you carefully read the passage in act it actually refers to no body but judas.
Hi Ayuba, By reading the part that starts with the word “Now” seems to me to be a perfect segue in the story or an aside in the story. It lets us follow the money without specifically naming “this man” and without interrupting (or getting off track) the main story of Judas which the author is telling.
If you read the other discussion, reference provided above, wrestling with the same conflict, you know there is even a tradition that provides for hanging over a cliff.
I believe that folks who are not Christians would see this as error inside the Scripture and be able to say, “Aha, see they make up details when they don’t quite fit.” I believe the Bible interprets itself and we have no reason to make up the details…it can justify itself. It must be reasonable to those who don’t already believe.
It makes perfect sense without adding a rope that decayed and a body left to hang without being buried. These folks were Jews. Would that have been likely? And, how do you fall headlong from the position of hanging? Just some food for thought. I truly believe the Bible is without error and so in my mind and heart, Judas died by hanging, although tradition teaches that they are one and the same and he died two ways…
Fortunately, I don’t believe seeing this differently will keep us from agreeing on the Gospel message and the truth of the betrayal of Jesus, but it’s a challenge to the inerrancy of the Word of God which is probably why we wrestle with it at all.
Thanks for your follow on thoughts. I just sent a reply, but it looks like it may have gone to someone else. Hopefully you will be able to see it. If not, please let me know.