The Death of Judas


I’m not satisfied the reasons explained for the apparent contradiction of Judas’ death. Mainly the two scriptures in tension are Matt 27:5-6 and Acts 1:18

One says the pharisees purchased the land using Judas’ money (matt). The other says Judas purchased the field (Acts).

Anyone have a reasonable explanation.


The crew in Acts wouldn’t necessarily have known, at the time of the scene, everything that happened with Judas’ repentance. If the priests logged the blood money as a charitable donation on a list of things to-be-done (a burial field for paupers being next on the list), Judas would have been publicly listed as the guy who paid the price for the field.

Once Judas hung himself on a tree, the plot of land would have been worthless, in ritualistic eyes, for anything better than a common grave for nobodies; especially if he fell and splattered himself open on the ground somehow.

I take it that the money was put into escrow at the moment it was returned, for use later; and then Judas in effect provided the ground to be used as well. It was Judas’ fault the field was ‘spoiled’, so the original owner is made restitution by Judas’ donation, via the priests by proxy, as though Judas had made provision for this on purpose. Matthew flash-forwards a bit to explain what really happened with the money. Luke, in Acts, records what people at the time of the scene thought had happened, and explains parenthetically (in the middle of an address by Peter) why people in Jerusalem called the place the Field of Blood in Aramaic; thus providing more detail for why Peter is saying, “For he was counted among us, and received his portion in this ministry.”

I’m unsure whether v.20 is supposed to be part of Peter’s address, or Luke tying Judas’ death back to prophecy in the Psalms; it’s midrash either way. Psalm 69 is applied several times in various ways, in the Synoptics and in GosJohn–and the Psalmist, at least, seems to expect the one who smites the One Whom the Lord has smitten, to be hopelessly condemned, by the way. (Although the logic of the Psalm is such that this prayer of expected condemnation rebounds upon the one who would be a hopeless adversary to the adversary being punished by God for doing the same thing to the One Whom God has afflicted!! Which is very interesting, but not often remarked upon by non-universalists, to say the least. :mrgreen: Psalm 109, which is also quoted, is similarly self-refuting: the singer ultimately stands condemned for that which he is condemning in his adversary, although there is no indication in either Psalm that the Psalmist recognizes this yet.)