And the Lord said unto me
The Prophet Zechariah, in a visionary way representing the sanhedrim of the Jews, the chief priests, scribes, and elders: Cast it unto the potter;
for the purchase of his field, in order to make a burying ground of it for strangers: a goodly price that I was prised at of them;
this is sarcastically said; meaning that it was a very poor price; and showed that they had no notion of the worth and value of Christ, the Pearl of great price: and I took the thirty [pieces] of silver, and cast them to the
potter in the house of the Lord;
it is a question with some what these pieces of silver were; they are commonly understood of silver shekels. So the Targum, in ( Genesis 20:16 ) ( 45:22 ) renders pieces of silver by shekels of silver; and Eusebius F13 calls these here thirty staters, the same with shekels; which, if common shekels, reckoned at one shilling and three pence, made but thirty seven shillings and sixpence; and if shekels of the sanctuary, which at most were but two shillings and sixpence, thirty of these would make but three pounds fifteen shillings; and therefore may be truly called, ironically speaking, "a goodly price"; being no more than the price of a servant, as before observed: but Drusius objects to this, seeing a potter's field was bought with this money; and asks, who can believe that a field near so populous a city as Jerusalem could be bought for thirty shekels? and observes, from R. Elias Levita F14, that it is a rule with their doctors, that all silver mentioned in the law signifies shekels; in the prophets, pounds; and in the Hagiographa, talents: this is said, but not proved: to understand these of pounds, indeed, would make the price considerable, and sufficient for the purchase of a large field; for a silver maneh or pound with the Jews was of the value of sixty shekels, ( Ezekiel 45:12 ) and thirty of these make two hundred and seventy pounds; but then this would not in an ironical way be called "a goodly price": and as to the objection about the purchase of a field with such a sum of money as thirty shekels amount to, it may be observed, what Grotius seems rightly to conjecture, that this was a field the potter had dug up, and had made the most of it, and so was good for nothing but for such an use, for which it was bought, to bury strangers in. It is also a difficulty to fix it certainly to whom this money was ordered to be given, and was given. It is here said "to the potter"; but Jarchi and Kimchi observe, that some of their interpreters render it the "treasurer"; (a) and (y) being sometimes changed for one another; thus, the Targum paraphrases it,
``under the hand of the treasurer;''and so others F15; and indeed the money was given to the chief priests and elders, some of whom might be in that office, ( Matthew 27:3 Matthew 27:6 ) though there is no need of such an alteration of the word, since the money Judas took for betraying Christ, and cast into the temple to the priests, they took up, and gave it to the potter for the field they bought of him with it; and, in the evangelist, the phrase by way of explanation is rendered, "for the potter's field", and may be here properly enough translated, "for the potter"; as the particle (la) is sometimes used F16; that is, to be given to him for purchase money F17: and whereas the money is said to be cast, or given to him, "in the house of the Lord", i.e. in the temple, it appears a fact, in the accomplishment of this prophecy, that it was cast into the temple, ( Matthew 27:5 ) and was took up by the priests; who, in all probability, sent for the potter thither, and agreed with him for his field, and paid him his money there; for there is no reason to believe that he had a workhouse for his business in the temple; though it may be he had one near it; see ( Jeremiah 18:1 Jeremiah 18:2 ) and worked for the service of it, since earthen vessels were used in temple service F18. The accomplishment of all this is in ( Matthew 27:7-10 ) .
F13 Demonstr. Evangel. l. 10. p. 479.
F14 In Tishbi, p. 130.
F15 "Ad thesaurarium", Pagninus, Vatablus.
F16 Vid. Nold. Ebr. Part. Concord. p. 63.
F17 (ruwyh la) "pro figulo", Cocceius; "conferendos in figulum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "ut detur ad figulum", Burkius.
F18 Vid. Misn. Parah, c. 5. sect. 1.