and they gave their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Acts 1:26 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
They gave forth their lots - In what manner this or any other question was decided by lot, we cannot precisely say. The most simple form was to put two stones, pieces of board, metal, or slips of parchment, with the names of the persons inscribed on them, into an urn; and after prayer, sacrifice, etc., to put in the hand and draw out one of the lots, and then the case was decided. I have considered this subject at large on Leviticus 16:8, Leviticus 16:9; and Joshua 14:2.
He was numbered with the eleven apostles - The word συγκατεψηφισθη, comes from συν, together with, κατα, according to, and ψηφος, a pebble or small stone, used for lots, and as a means of enumeration among the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians; hence the words calculate, calculation, etc., from calculus, a small stone or pebble. From this use of the word, though it signifies in general to sum up, associate, etc., we may conjecture that the calculus or pebble was used on this occasion. The brethren agreed that the matter should be determined by lot; the lots were cast into the urn; God was entreated to direct the choice; one drew out a lot; the person whose name was inscribed on it was thereby declared to be the object of God's choice, and accordingly associated with the disciples. But it is possible that the whole was decided by what we commonly call ballot, God inclining the hearts of the majority to ballot for Matthias. Nothing certain can, however, be stated on this head. Thus the number twelve was made up, that these might be the fountains under God of the whole Christian Church, as the twelve sons of Jacob had been of the Jewish Church. For it has already been remarked that our Lord formed his Church on the model of the Jewish. See the notes on John 17:1, etc. As the Holy Ghost, on the day of pentecost, was to descend upon them and endue them with power from on high, it was necessary that the number twelve should be filled up previously, that the newly elected person might also be made partaker of the heavenly gift. How long it was found necessary to keep up the number twelve, we are not informed: the original number was soon broken by persecution and death.
On the death of Judas there is a great diversity of opinion among learned men and divines.
1. It is supposed, following the bare letter of the text, that Judas hanged himself, and that, the rope breaking, he fell down, was burst with the fall, and thus his bowels gushed out.
2. That, having hanged himself, he was thrown on the dunghill, and, the carcass becoming putrid, the abdomen, which soonest yields to putrefaction burst, and the bowels were thus shed from the body, and possibly torn out by dogs.
3. That, being filled with horror and despair, he went to the top of the house, or to some eminences and threw himself down; and thus, failing headlong, his body was broken by the fall, and his bowels gushed out.
4. That Satan, having entered into him, caught him up in the air, and thence precipitated him to the earth; and thus, his body being broken to pieces, his bowels gushed out. This is Dr. Lightfoot's opinion, and has been noticed on Matthew 27:5.
5. Others think that he died or was suffocated through excessive grief; and that thus the terms in the text, and in Matthew 27:5, are to be understood. The late Mr. Wakefield defends this meaning with great learning and ingenuity.
6. Others suppose the expressions to be figurative: Judas having been highly exalted, in being an apostle, and even the purse-bearer to his Lord and brother disciples, by his treason forfeited this honor, and is represented as falling from a state of the highest dignity into the lowest infamy, and then dying through excessive grief. The Rev. John Jones, in his Illustrations of the four Gospels, sums up this opinion thus: "So sensible became the traitor of the distinguished rank which he forfeited, and of the deep disgrace into which he precipitated himself, by betraying his Master, that he was seized with such violent grief as occasioned the rupture of his bowels, and ended in suffocation and death." P. 571.
After the most mature consideration of this subject, on which I hesitated to form an opinion in the note on Matthew 27:5, I think the following observations may lead to a proper knowledge of the most probable state of the case.
1. Judas, like many others, thought that the kingdom of the Messiah would be a secular kingdom; and that his own secular interests must be promoted by his attachment to Christ. Of this mind all the disciples seem to have been, previously to the resurrection of Christ.
2. From long observation of his Master's conduct, he was now convinced that he intended to erect no such kingdom; and that consequently the expectations which he had built on the contrary supposition must be ultimately disappointed.
3. Being poor and covetous, and finding there was no likelihood of his profiting by being a disciple of Christ, he formed the resolution (probably at the instigation of the chief priests) of betraying him for a sum of money sufficient to purchase a small inheritance, on which he had already cast his eye.
4. Well knowing the uncontrollable power of his Master, he might take it for granted that, though betrayed, he would extricate himself from their hands; and that they would not be capable of putting him either to pain or death.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Acts 13:19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
Leviticus 16:8 And Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
Joshua 18:10 And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD...
1 Samuel 14:41,42 Therefore Saul said to the LORD God of Israel, Give a perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped...
1 Chronicles 24:5 Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God...
Proverbs 16:22 Understanding is a wellspring of life to him that has it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
Jonah 1:7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is on us...
Acts 1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
Acts 1:26 Parallel CommentariesAdded Apostles Cast Chance Decision Drew Eleven Enrolled Fell Forth Lots Matthias Matthi'as NumberedAdded Apostles Cast Chance Decision Drew Eleven Enrolled Fell Forth Lots Matthias Matthi'as NumberedTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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