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Did Judas or the Jewish authorities buy the "Field of Blood"?

Was it bought with Judas' blood money by the Jewish authorities as a place to bury foreigners (so Matthew 27:6-8)? Or did Judas buy the field, and it was called field of blood because he killed himself there (so Acts 1:18-19)?

Feel free to say it was both if you believe in square circles.


Any answers from people who have read the relevant texts carefully and are willing to take seriously what they actually say?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    what bobby jim said.

    Source(s): jcms
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    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" (Matthew 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 Zech. 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.

    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 Samuel 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. 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."

    Source(s): Hard Sayings of the Bible
  • 5 years ago

    Judas was paid for the job, so the money was his. Even when he returned it, the Pharisees didn t accept it at first, so he abandoned it with them in blame-point. So when they later bought the field with the money, the deed was in Judas name. This being because it was his pay for giving Jesus away. If he hadn t done the job, it would have never been credited to him. A man s salary for doing some work is his money, it doesn t matter if he rejects it or not. And whatever another person does with it is as if that man did it himself.

  • 1 decade ago

    The Jewish authorities bought the field of blood.

    Once Judas realized what he had done by betraying Jesus, he threw the money back at the priests. Not wanting blood money to be used within temple purposes, they bought a "Potters Field."

    Source(s): Judas' return of the money allowed it to be used in any way the priests saw fit. A few people have made donations to our church. Those specific donations were used to purchase Bibles. Indirectly, the donors bought the Bibles, in much the same way that Judas supplied the money for "Blood Field.".
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