a 3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned [Judas, having no reason to fear the enemies of Jesus, probably stood in their midst and witnessed the entire trial], repented himself, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
innocent blood. [There are two Greek words which are translated "repented," the one properly so translated, metanoeo, which means literally "to know after" and which therefore means a change of mind or purpose; and the other, metamellomai, which is used here and which means literally "to care after," indicates a sorrow for the past. The first should be translated "repent;" the second, "regret." Trench draws the distinction thus: "He who has changed his mind about the past is in the way to change everything; he who has an after care may have little or nothing more than a selfish dread of the consequences of what he has done." Considering the prophecy which had been uttered with regard to Judas' act ( Matthew 26:24 ), he had good reason to fear the consequences. While he testifies as to the innocence of Jesus, he expresses no affection for him.] But they said, What is that to us? see thou to it. [The rulers did not share with Judas the wish to undo what had been done. They have been censured for not receiving the testimony which Judas gave as to the innocence of Jesus. But as they condemned Jesus upon his own testimony, any evidence which Judas might give would be, from their standpoint, irrelevant and immaterial. Could Judas testify that Jesus was indeed the Son of God? If our Lord's own testimony to this effect was regarded as blasphemy, nothing which Judas could say would change the case. But the testimony of Judas, in the free, untechnical court of public opinion, is of vast weight and importance. It shows that one who had every opportunity of knowing Jesus, and who was sordid enough to betray him, was yet forced for conscience' sake to admit that there was no reason why he should have done so.]
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver into the sanctuary, and departed [Judas found the chief priests in the sanctuary. Having obtained from Pilate the condemnation of Jesus, they hastened back to the temple to discharge their morning duties. This gave the soldiers time to mock Jesus, and Pilate time to order and prepare the crucifixion. And so, though Jesus was sentenced at six o'clock in the morning ( John 19:14 ), until the third hour, or nine o'clock ( Mark 15:25 ). Thus the priests were enabled to be present at the crucifixion, or at least very soon after the crosses were erected. Judas, finding that they would not receive his money, cast it down before them that his hands might be no longer burnt by holding it]; and he went away and hanged himself.
6 And the chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood. [The law of God made no provision as to the uses of blood money; it was the tradition of the elders which thus forbade to put it into the treasury. Theirs was a strange conscience indeed, which could take out the Lord's money (and, under the then existing Jewish theocratic government, all public money was the Lord's money) and spend it for blood, but when it was so spent they could not put it back! Moreover, theirs was a strange admission. If the money given to Judas was properly expended for the arrest of a real criminal, it was justice money, and not blood money at all.]
7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. [That is, the foreigners who died in Jerusalem. Whether rich or poor, they were not wanted in Jewish graveyards. The potter's field, being excavated for clay, would be of little value, and would sell cheap.]
9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was priced, whom certain of the children of Israel did price;
10 and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me. [This quotation is not found in any writings of Jeremiah which we have, and as there are no other indications of lost writings of that prophet, it is reasonable to suppose that Matthew refers to 11:12 11:13 ; and that early transcribers miscopied the name, which, in the z and m for r. The prophecy is one of the third class described on Section 14.]
19 And it became known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch that in their language that field was called Akeldama, that is, The field of blood.) [This parenthesis contains the words of Luke inserted in the midst of a speech made by Simon Peter to explain the meaning of his words. His account of Judas' death varies in three points from that given by Matthew, but the variations are easily harmonized. 1. Evidently Judas hung until his abdomen was partially decomposed; then his neck giving way, the rope breaking, or something happening which caused his body to fall, it burst open when it struck the ground. 2. Judas is spoken of as purchasing the field, and so he did, for the priests bought it with his money, so that legally it was his purchase. 3. The field was called "The field of blood" for two reasons, and each Evangelist gives one of them.]