|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
27:1-10 Wicked men see little of the consequences of their crimes when they commit them, but they must answer for them all. In the fullest manner Judas acknowledged to the chief priests that he had sinned, and betrayed an innocent person. This was full testimony to the character of Christ; but the rulers were hardened. Casting down the money, Judas departed, and went and hanged himself, not being able to bear the terror of Divine wrath, and the anguish of despair. There is little doubt but that the death of Judas was before that of our blessed Lord. But was it nothing to them that they had thirsted after this blood, and hired Judas to betray it, and had condemned it to be shed unjustly? Thus do fools make a mock at sin. Thus many make light of Christ crucified. And it is a common instance of the deceitfulness of our hearts, to make light of our own sin by dwelling upon other people's sins. But the judgment of God is according to truth. Many apply this passage of the buying the piece of ground, with the money Judas brought back, to signify the favour intended by the blood of Christ to strangers, and sinners of the Gentiles. It fulfilled a prophecy, Zec 11:12. Judas went far toward repentance, yet it was not to salvation. He confessed, but not to God; he did not go to him, and say, I have sinned, Father, against heaven. Let none be satisfied with such partial convictions as a man may have, and yet remain full of pride, enmity, and rebellion.
Verse 10. - Gave them for the potter's field. This part of the citation is borrowed from Jeremiah's purchase of the field of Hanamel (ch. 32.). The Christian writer introduces a second fulfilment of the ancient word. As the Lord appointed me. This must be the equivalent of Zechariah's "the Lord said unto me" (Zechariah 11:13). The destination of these wages of iniquity was foreordained. They could not be used by the Shepherd, nor stored in the temple treasury, nor kept by Judas or the priests; they were to be employed for another purpose.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And gave them for the potter's field,.... In the prophet it is, "and I cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord", Zechariah 11:13; whereas here it is, "they gave them"; but the word Matthew uses may be rendered, "I gave", as it is by the Syriac; and as the last words require it should, "as the Lord commanded me"; otherwise there will be no coherence between them: and whereas the thirty pieces of silver are, in the prophet, said to be cast, or given "to the potter", and here, "for the potter's field", there is no contradiction: the plain sense is, that they were given to the potter, as a valuable consideration for his field: and whereas it is added, "in the house of the Lord", which the evangelist does not cite the reason is, because this money was first cast down in the temple by Judas, and after being taken up by the priests, they covenanted with the potter for his field, and paid him for it with this money in the sanctuary. The evangelist, instead of this last clause, puts,
as the Lord commanded me; which have made some think, that there should: be a different reading; and that instead of "the house", it should be read "according to the commandment": but there is no need to suppose this: the evangelist is justified in the use of this phrase, by what is said in the prophet in the beginning of Zechariah 11:13, "and the Lord said unto me": and this is only a transposition and explanation, according to a rule the Jews have, , "invert, or transpose the Scripture, and explain it" (e). Should it be said that the Messiah, and not the betrayer, nor the priests, is said to cast this money to the potter, or give it for the potter's field; it may be replied, that Jesus may be said to do that which Judas, and the chief priests did; because, by his almighty power and providence, he overruled those things for good, which in themselves were evil. Judas thought to have converted the money to his own use, and the priests would have been glad to have taken it again to themselves; but Christ obliged Judas to carry back the money to the priests, and cast it into the temple, and worked upon the minds of the priests, not to put it into the treasury, but to buy the potter's field with it, whereby the prophecy, in its literal sense, was fully accomplished.
(e) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 119. 2. & Vajikra Rabba, sect. 27. fol. 167. 4.
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