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Question about Judas

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by da_man, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. Question about Judas

    Here is Acts 1:18 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.

    And here is Matthew 27:3-5
    3When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."
    "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."
    5So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

    Is one of these our misinterpretation of the original text?:confused:
  2. Some believe he hanged himself, the rope broke and his intestines ruptured out when his rotten corpse hit the ground.

    Here is an interesting excerpt from the Apologetics Bible:
    Judas committed suicide by hanging [Matt 27:5]

    Judas did not hang himself, but died another way [Acts 1:18]
    Matt 27:5 states that Judas "threw the pieces of silver....and he went away and hanged himself."
    Acts 1:18 states, "and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out."
    It's rather easy to reconcile these:
    1. First, Judas tried to kill himself by hanging himself. And this is not always a successful way. Maybe he tried, and failed (as have many others who have tried to commit suicide by hanging). Then after some time, he threw himself off a cliff and fell upon some jagged rocks. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for people who commit suicide to have tried it before.
    2. Judas could have tied a rope to a tree branch that extended over a cliff (after all, you have to get some space between your feet and the ground to hang yourself). In this situation, the rope/branch could have broke before or after death, and Judas plummeted to the ground and landed on some jagged rocks.
    Certainly, these explanations are plausible, thus a contradiction has not been established. More from Frank Decenso below. One of my favorites. My explanation for atheists and critics...
    MAT 27:5-8 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. But the chief priests took the silver pieces 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.
    First of all, notice that the text does not say that Judas died as a result of hanging. All it says is that he "went and hanged himself." Luke however, in Acts, tells us that "and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out." This is a pretty clear indication (along with the other details given in Acts - Peter's speech, the need to pick a new apostle, etc.) that at least after Judas' fall, he was dead. So the whole concept that Matthew and Luke both recount Judas' death is highly probable, but not clear cut. Therefore, if I were to take a radical exegetical approach here, I could invalidate your alleged contradiction that there are two different accounts of how Judas died.
    Notice verse 5."Then he...went and hanged himself." Matthew does not say Judas died, does it? Should we assume he died as a result of the hanging?
    What does Acts say? ACT 1:18 (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.
    ACT 1:20 "For it is written in the book of Psalms: 'Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it'; and, 'Let another take his office.'
    Here we may have a graphic explanation of Judas' death. Of course, maybe someone can find some medical source somewhere that discusses the possibility of one having their entrails gush out after being burst open in the middle, and still survive. :)
    So, my line of reasoning to dispel the contradiction myth re: the "two" accounts of Judas' death is this. Matthew doesn't necessarily explain how Judas died; he does say Judas "hanged himself", but he didn't specifically say Judas died in the hanging incident. However, Acts seems to show us his graphic demise. Therefore, there is no contradiction between Matthew and Acts re: Judas' death.
    We do know from Matthew that he did hang himself and Acts probably records his death. It is possible and plausible that he fell from the hanging and hit some rocks, thereby bursting open. However, Matthew did not say Judas died as a result of the hanging, did he? Most scholars believe he probably did, but....
    One atheist I debated along these lines said... the Greek word "apagchw" (ie: hang oneself) is translated as a successful hanging. I replied, No you can't only conclude this, although...this was a highly probable outcome. But Matthew does not state death as being a result. The Greek word is APAGCHO. Matthew 27:5 is it's only occurrence in the New Testament. In the LXX (the Greek translation of the OT used at the time of Jesus), it's only used in 2 Samuel 17:23 : "Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died; and he was buried in his father's tomb." Notice that not only is it stated that Ahithophel "hanged himself" [Gr. LXX, APAGCHO], but it explicitly adds, "and died". Here we have no doubt of the result. In Matthew, we are not explicitly told Judas died. Also, there is nothing in the Greek to suggest success or failure. It simply means "hang oneself". --Frank
  3. Very interesting. Thank you.
  4. then how could he buy the field with the money,and also throw at back at the pharisee,s.did he throw the money to them,but they wouldn,t accept it so he had to take it back.doesn,t sound like the old pharisee,s to me,maybe 1 account is edited ?
  5. I am wondering if this is the part about him buying the field. Since the money was originally given to him even though he threw it back to them, they may have still considered it as his money used to buy the field.
  6. Consider that the pharisees did it by proxy with Judas's money. It was done in his name by them.
  7. maybe so,we shall see at the end what happened.maybe reasearching early text,s will throw some light.
  8. That's kinda what I was thinking.
  9. feild of blood ,maybe this is a refrence to not following Jesus,crushed by the corner stone etc,bust his guts in the middle.this is where translation is let down.translating word for word loses meaning.
  10. It was called the field of blood becise it was bought with blood money.
  11. it says the middle of the field,was this in millimeters etc exactly middle?all i will say is there is diffrent meanings to all words,and the meaning behind them.translation of words is a hard thing to do if not known at that time the reality of the words.
  12. I personally think that the Bible translators have done a pretty good job. Sure different words have different meanings in different settings, but I think it has been translated very well.
  13. i agree.we will find out soon enough.

  14. here is some more info for ya smellycat.... some of it reinforces Boanerges good information as well...

    "There are three significant differences between these verses and Acts 1:18-19.
    1. Matthew says that the chief priests bought the field; Acts, that Judas did. But if the priests bought it with Judas's money, it may well have been regarded as his. More important, the language in Acts is fine spun: "With the reward of unrighteousness, he acquired [ktaomai, not necessarily `bought'] a field" (lit. tr.). "The money bought him a burial-place; that was to him the sole financial outcome of the iniquitous transaction" (Broadus).
    2. Matthew says Judas hanged himself; Acts, that "he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out." This does not imply a disease, or that Judas tripped, as some have held. If Judas hanged himself; no Jew would want to defile himself during the Feast of Unleavened Bread by burying the corpse; and a hot sun might have brought on rapid decomposition till the body fell to the ground and burst open. Alternatively, one long tradition in the church claims Judas hanged himself from a tree branch that leaned over a ravine (of which there are many in the area); and when the branch broke, whether before or after he died, Judas fell to a messy end. We are not so much beset by contradictory accounts as by paucity of information, making it difficult to decide which of several alternatives we should choose in working out the complementarity of the two accounts.
    3. Matthew seems to ascribe the name "Field of Blood" to its being purchased with blood money; Acts, to the fact that Judas's blood was shed there. But again the paucity of information faces us with several possibilities. All the circumstances must have become public knowledge; and one reason, far from ruling out the other, actually complements it--provided that Judas died in the field purchased by the priests. Perhaps the priests bought the field (not necessarily the same day--Sunday would have been adequate); and Judas, informed as to what had been done with the blood money and driven to despair by futile remorse, decided to commit suicide in a field for the burial of aliens to Israel's covenants.
    Moreover we must at least raise the question whether Acts 1:18-19 associates "Field of Blood" with Judas's blood. "Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this" (Acts 1:19); but does "this" refer to Judas's body splitting open, without mention of blood, or to securing the field with blood money, also without explicit mention of blood? This is not an attempt at forced harmonization. But if it is bad historiography to squeeze two diverse accounts of one incident into a contrived union, it is equally bad historiography to mistake an instance of too little information for contradiction." (Expositors, DA Carson)

  15. .... asking if (that is supposing you were being serious and not sarcastic ;) ) it was the exact middle of the field probably goes beyond what the text, and what any normal figure of speech like this was trying to say. If you tell a child not to play in the middle of the street you are not saying that it is fine to play 10 millimeters off center!! lol... And when the bible speaks of the middle it is just using a rough figure of speech in this same way, and to try and force mathematical exactness onto the text, especially when the text itself makes no claim to exactness, is hermeneutically mistaken. Another example is that the bible says that the sun rises.... now of course we know the sun doesn't "really" rise, rather the earth rotates, but we don't fault the bible as being scientifically inaccurate for saying the sun rises any more than we would fault someone in normal conversation for saying the same thing. So, the bottom line is that we can't fault the bible for not saying what it really never meant to say.

    One last thing to note here is that a contradiction is a very exact thing. It is a claim that a thing is both A and not-A, in the same way, at the same time, and in the same relationship(s). The Bible does not say, for instance, that Judas hanged himself, and that this is the only thing that happened to him. Thus when the bible says that he fell headlong and his intestines burst asunder, there is no contradiction if it can be shown, or even be shown to possibly be the case, that there is a way for both these things to happen to a person. And so it is very possible, as DA Carson and Boanerges pointed out, for both these things to happen to Judas.

    BTW, I think you are totally correct in pointing out how important it is to get at the different meanings of words, the differing contexts these words can be used, the audience to whom the words were directed, etc..... and I agree again that all these things are what make translation a very hard thing to do. I thank God for the people who are gifted in languages and who give their lives to the faithful translation of the bible. I personally am not gifted in that way at all!! Language, with all its different nuances, means that we have to go beyond the simple word for word equivalence that a Strongs or NASB concordance, which is useful as far as it goes to be sure, but we lose tenses, plays on words, etc that grammar only can teach us.

    Lastly, here is Walt Kaiser on this issue, and in particular, he talks about the money issue as well as the apparent contradiction re Judas' death, so I thought this would be especially applicable to your question:

    How Did Judas Die?
    (Acts 1:18)
    While Luke’s description of Judas’s death is rather gory, Acts 1:18 would not be a problem were it not that Matthew seemingly has a different story. In Matthew’s account, “Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Mt 27:5). Matthew also reports that the chief priests used the money “to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.” Aren’t the two accounts contradictory?
    It is clear that Matthew and Luke have different concerns in mentioning the incident. Matthew is more interested in the purchase of the field, which he sees as a fulfillment of Scripture. He combines Zechariah 11:12-13 (the thirty pieces of silver and the potter) and Jeremiah 32:6-12 (buying a field), perhaps with overtones of Jeremiah 18:1-4 (going to the potter’s house), and links them all under Jeremiah’s name (see comment on Mt 27:9-10).
    Luke has another concern, which is that Judas got what he deserved, a horrible death. (A similar situation is reported in Acts 12:21-24, where the author narrates the story of Herod Agrippa I’s death.) The focus is not on the purchase of the field (which would have appeared a reward, especially to Jews for whom landowning in Palestine was important), but on his death in the field (which was ghastly).
    Both authors want to point out that the field was called “The Field of Blood,” thus memorializing the deed. Acts appears to connect the title to Judas’s blood in his death, while Matthew ties it to the fact that the blood money paid for the field. It is hardly surprising that the same name might mean different things to different people.
    A closer look at the two stories highlights gaps in the narrative that raise questions about the events. But the accounts are not necessarily contradictory. Acts is concerned that Judas’s money and name were connected to a field. Whether or not the chief priests actually purchased it, perhaps some time after Judas’s death, would not be a detail of concern to the author. His point was the general knowledge that Judas’s money went to the purchase, which resulted in the title “Field of Blood” being attached to the field. Another possible reason for the name, also a concern of Acts, was that Judas split open and his intestines poured out. Such a defacing of the body, probably with the concomitant result of the corpse being at least partially eaten by vultures and dogs, was horrible in the view of the Jews, for whom proper burial was important. In fact, they even valued forms of execution that did not deface the outside of the body (such as strangulation) over forms that defaced the body (such as stoning, the worst form in their eyes).
    Matthew points out that it was a guilt-motivated suicide, accomplished by the most common means, hanging. Suicide in Jewish literature is most often connected to shame or failure. (So 2 Sam 17:23; compare the other accounts of suicide in Old Testament history, which were normally to avoid a more shameful death.) However, since suicide by hanging was usually accomplished (at least by poorer people) by jumping out of a tree with a rope around one’s neck, it was not unusual (nor is it uncommon in India today) for the body to be ripped open in the process. 44-1 I hesitate to say that this was exactly what happened, but it is certainly a plausible explanation.
    Therefore, we will never be fully certain about what happened at the death of Judas. What I have shown is that there are certainly credible explanations as to how the two accounts fit together. I have shown how it may well have happened, not how it must have happened. In doing so we see that there is no necessary contradiction. Yet what is important in reading these narratives is to focus on the points they are making, not on the horrible death. With Matthew we see that Scripture is fulfilled even while those fulfilling it are driven by guilt and shame to their own self-destruction. And with Acts we see that sin does have consequences: Judas not only lost his office through his treachery, but came to a shameful end as well, an end memorialized in the place near Jerusalem named “Field of Blood.”" (Hard Sayings)

  16. Great info as usual brother Ken thanks!
  17. I think in the psalms this is prophesied. It says he took 30 pieces of silver and threw them to the potter. The pharasees took the money that was thrown back at them at bought a potters field. and just think, that was written 800 -900 years before Jesus was born
  18. i agree ,some things are not taken literally.good research,thanks.:)

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