Judas' Remorse & Suicide (Part 2)
"But the chief priests took the silver pieces [left by Judas] and said, 'It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.' And they consulted together and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day" (Matt. 27:6-8). Their hypocrisy is at its pinnacle here (cf. Matt. 23). They have no concern about paying money out of the treasury for murder, yet their tradition won't allow such money to be accepted into the treasury! They are more concerned about keeping their traditions than seeking justice for an innocent Man! By calling this money "the price of blood," they admit their guilt in this matter. This is the case because if the money given to Judas was properly expended for the arrest of a real criminal, then it was justice money, and not blood money at all!

Foreigners would be buried in this cheaply acquired field, since they were not wanted in Jewish graveyards. The potter's field, after being excavated for clay, would be of little inherent value. At the time in which Matthew was writing, the field they bought was still called "the Field of Blood." Matthew's wording here is an implied challenge for readers of that day to investigate the truthfulness of his record. He was not afraid for anyone to check his writing against verifiable facts. This is a proof of his sincerity and accuracy.

"Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 'And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me" (Matt. 27:9,10). Thirty pieces of silver was the price of a common slave. Judas betrayed the Messiah for a price of a slave, and the Jewish leaders evidently valued Jesus and Judas' work as not exceeding the worth of a slave.

This quotation is not found in any of Jeremiah's writings we have today, and there are no indications that some of his writings were lost. Similar words are found in Zechariah 11:12,13. There are several reasonable solutions to this anomaly: (1) The name Jeremiah may have been miscopied from Zechariah (they only differ by two letters in the Hebrew), (2) Zechariah, in his writing, may have been recording something Jeremiah had said (note: this verse says "spoken by Jeremiah," not written), or (3) Perhaps the citation uses material from both prophets but is simply attributed to Jeremiah. Jeremiah's words (or the writing of Zechariah) is an example of an event fulfilling the meaning of the words used by a prophet, though the words originally had no reference at all to the event (this can be seen by examining the context of Zech. 11).

We learn a bit more about this event in Acts 1:18,19 - "(Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood." Luke inserts this thought in the middle of Peter's speech about Judas. Though Luke's account of Judas' death differs from the details given by Matthew, there is no contradiction. All of the details can be easily harmonized together. It is reasonable to suggest that Judas, after hanging himself, hung until he was partially decomposed. Then, his neck gave way and his body fell, bursting open as it hit the ground. Judas purchased the field in the sense that it was his money that was used in the sale. The land is rightly called "Field of Blood" for two reasons: (1) Judas died there and burst open upon it and (2) The field was purchased with blood money.

We will continue studying this narrative in our next lesson.