|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 7. - They took counsel. They deliberated how to dispose of this blood money. This deliberation may have taken place after the Crucifixion. The potter's field. The spot was well known at the time. It is traditionally said to have lain on the south of Jerusalem - on the hillside across the valley of Hinnom, on what is called the Hill of Evil Counsel. Here is found a tract of clay, which is still used by the potters of the city. In the time of our Lord. the clay probably was considered to be exhausted, and the area, excavated in all directions, and useless for agricultural purposes, was sold for a trifling price. To bury strangers in. The "strangers" are probably not pagans, but foreign Jews and Gentile proselytes, who came to Jerusalem to attend the festival, and died there. Others think that foreigners (Greeks and Romans, etc.) exclusively are meant, the Jews regarding their very presence in the holy city as defilement, and a cemetery purchased by unclean money a fitting spot for their interment. The "field" was set apart in the Crusaders' times as a burial place for pilgrims, and to this day contains a charnel house wherein are deposited the poor and unhonoured dead of Jerusalem.
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And they took counsel,.... With one another, considered of the matter, and deliberated about it a while; and at last came to a resolution,
and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in: a field of no great value, or it could not have been bought so near Jerusalem for so small a sum as thirty pieces of silver. Grotius's conjecture seems to be a good one, that it was a field the potter had dug up for his use, and had made the most of it; so that it was good for nothing, but for the purpose for which these men bought it, "to bury strangers in": either such as were not of their own nation, as the Roman soldiers, many of which were among them, and who they did not suffer to be buried among them; or proselytes, or such as came from distant parts, at their three festivals, many of whom may be supposed to die at such times: now by this act of humanity in providing for the interment of strangers, they designed, and hoped to have covered their wickedness in bargaining with Judas to betray innocent blood, for this sure of money; but it was so ordered by divine providence, that this became a public and lasting memorial of their sin and infamy: for it follows,
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