Matthew 26:15

15 and said, "What will you give me if I hand him over to you?" They settled on thirty silver pieces.

Matthew 26:15 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 26:15

And said [unto them]
Though the words, "to them", are not in the original text, they are rightly supplied; as they are by the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, and in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; and mean the chief priests to whom Judas went, and to whom he made the following proposal;

what will ye give me, and I will deliver him to you?
They did not ask him to do it, he first made the motion; a barbarous and shocking one! to deliver his Lord and Master, with whom he had familiarly conversed, and from whom he had received so many favours, into the hands of those that hated him; nor was he concerned what they would do to him, or what would become of him, when in their hands: all his view, and what he was intent upon, was, what they would give him for doing it. They did not tempt him, by first offering him so much money, if he would betray him; but he himself first moves it to them, and tempts them with it to offer him an handsome reward: and it is to be observed, that he does not mention the name of Jesus, either because they might be talking of him, when he came into their company; or else as suiting his language to theirs, who, when they spake of him, usually said, "he", or "that man", or "this fellow". And in the same rude way Judas now treats his master:

and they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver;
that is, thirty shekels of silver; for it is a rule with the Jews, that when mention is made in Scripture of pieces of silver, without expressing the species, shekels are meant: so Onkelos, and Jonathan ben Uzziel, in their Targums on ( Genesis 20:16 ) ( 45:22 ) , render pieces of silver, by shekels of silver; so pieces of gold signify shekels of gold: thus the 1700 pieces of gold in ( Judges 8:26 ) , are, in the Septuagint, Arabic, and Vulgate Latin versions, called so many shekels of gold; and our version supplies the word "shekels" also, as it does in ( 2 Chronicles 9:15 2 Chronicles 9:16 ) , and yet some learned men have asserted F13, that there were no shekels of gold among the Jews, though express mention is made of them in ( 1 Chronicles 21:25 ) . The value of a shekel of gold, according to Brerewood F14, was, of our money, "fifteen shillings"; and some make it to come to a great deal more; to "one pound sixteen shillings and sixpence" sterling: had these thirty pieces been pieces, or shekels of gold, they would have amounted to a considerable sum of money; but they were pieces of silver, and not talents, or pounds, but shekels. The silver shekel had on one side stamped upon it the pot of manna, or, as others think, "a censer", or incense cup, with these words around it, in Samaritan letters, "shekel Israel", "the shekel of Israel"; and, on the other, "Aaron's rod" budding, with this inscription about it, "Jerusalem Hakedushah", "Jerusalem the holy" {o}. As for the weight and value of it, R. Gedaliah says F16, we know by tradition that the holy shekel weighs 320 grains of barley of pure silver; and the same writer observes F17, that the "selah", or holy shekel, is four "denarii", or pence; that is, Roman pence, each being of the value of seven pence halfpenny of our money: and to this agrees what Josephus F18 says, that a "shekel" is a coin of the Hebrews, which contains four Attic drachms, or drams; and an Attic dram is of the same value with a Roman penny: so that one of these shekels was worth about "half a crown"; and it usually weighed half an ounce, as not only some Jewish writers affirm, who profess to have seen them, and weighed them themselves, as Jarchi F19, Gerundensis F20, Abarbinel {u}, and Gedaliah ben Jechaiah F23; but other writers also, as Masius


F24 Arias Montanus F25, Waserus F26 and Bishop Cumberland. Now thirty shekels of silver were the price of a servant, ( Exodus 21:32 ) . So F2 Maimonides observes, that the

``atonement of "servants", whether great or small, whether male or female, the fixed sum in the law is "thirty shekels of good silver", whether "the servant" is worth an hundred pound, or whether he is not worth but a farthing,''

and which was in value of our money about "three pounds fifteen shillings". This was the "goodly price", which Christ, who appeared in the form of a servant, was prized at, according to the prophecy in ( Zechariah 11:12 Zechariah 11:13 ) , and which the high priests thought a very sufficient one; and the wretch Judas, as covetous as he was, was contented with.

F13 Waseras de numis Heb. l. 2. c. 3.
F14 De numis Jud. c. 3.
F15 Waser ib. & Ar. Montan. Ephron. sive de Siclo in Jud. Antiq. p. 126. Brerewood de ponder. & pret. vet. num. c. 1.
F16 Shaishelet Hakabala, fol.
F17 Ib.
F18 Antiq. l. 3. c. 8. sect. 2.
F19 Perush in Exod. xxi. 32.
F20 Ad fin. Expos. in Pentateuch.
F21 Comment. in 1 Reg. 7. fol. 221. 2.
F23 Shalshelet Hahohala, fol. 72. 2.
F24 In Joshua, 7. 21. p. 135.
F25 De Siclo, ut supra. (in Jud. Antiq. p. 126)
F26 De numis Heb. l. 2. c. 3.
F2 Hilch. Niske Mammon. c. 11. sect. 1.

Matthew 26:15 In-Context

13 You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired."
14 That is when one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the cabal of high priests
15 and said, "What will you give me if I hand him over to you?" They settled on thirty silver pieces.
16 He began looking for just the right moment to hand him over.
17 On the first of the Days of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Where do you want us to prepare your Passover meal?"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.