Matthew 26:14
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests,
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(14) Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot.—The narrative of St. John leads us, as has been said, to connect the act of treachery with the fact just recorded. There was the shame, and therefore the anger, of detected guilt; there was the greed of gain that had been robbed of its expected spoil, and thirsted for compensation. The purpose that had been formed by the priests and scribes after the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:47) may well have become known, and have suggested the hope of a reward. All these feelings were gathering strength through the three days that followed. Possibly there mingled with them a sense of disappointment that the kingly entry into Jerusalem was not followed up by immediate victory. St. Luke’s words, that “Satan entered into Judas” (Luke 22:3), are remarkable (1) as implying the personal influence of the Tempter; (2) as indicating the fiendish tenacity with which he followed out his purpose; (3) as coinciding with what St. John (John 13:27) relates at a later stage of his guilt. Nor can we forget that, even at an earlier period of his discipleship, our Lord had used words which spoke of the “devil-nature” that was already working in his soul (John 6:70).

Matthew 26:14-16. Then one of the twelve — Judas Iscariot, having been more forward than the rest (John 12:4) in condemning the woman, thought himself, as it appears, peculiarly affronted by the rebuke which Jesus now gave to all his apostles. Rising up, therefore, he went straightway into the city to the high-priest’s palace, where doubtless he had received some previous information that the council would be assembled, and finding them there accordingly, he said unto them, What will ye give me — Words that show he was influenced to the infamous action partly, at least, by the love of filthy lucre; and I will deliver him unto you? — I will undertake to put him into your hands, at a time and place in which you may effectually secure him, without the danger of giving any alarm to the people. And they covenanted — Or, bargained, with him for thirty pieces of silver — That is, (reckoning each piece to be of the value of 2 Samuel 6 d.) for 3l. 15s. sterling, the price of a slave, Exodus 21:32. A goodly price that he was prized at of them! Zechariah 11:13. The sum was so trifling that it would be unaccountable that he should have been influenced in any degree by it, to betray to death his friend and Master, had it not been that, as Luke observes, Luke 22:3, Satan at this time entered into him, which doubtless he was permitted to do to punish him for giving way to a worldly, covetous spirit, and probably for other sins, and especially his not improving the great privilege he had enjoyed for about three years, in statedly attending upon Christ’s ministry, hearing all his divine discourses, and being a constant spectator of his holy life and astonishing miracles, and having the high honour of being called to be one of his apostles. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him — Namely, as Luke observes, in the absence of the multitude, and that officers from the high- priest and his council might come upon him and apprehend him privately.26:14-16 There were but twelve called apostles, and one of them was like a devil; surely we must never expect any society to be quite pure on this side heaven. The greater profession men make of religion, the greater opportunity they have of doing mischief, if their hearts be not right with God. Observe, that Christ's own disciple, who knew so well his doctrine and manner of his life, and was false to him, could not charge him with any thing criminal, though it would have served to justify his treachery. What did Judas want? Was not he welcome wherever his Master was? Did he not fare as Christ fared? It is not the lack, but the love of money, that is the root of all evil. After he had made that wicked bargain, Judas had time to repent, and to revoke it; but when lesser acts of dishonesty have hardened the conscience men do without hesitation that which is more shameful.Then one of the twelve ... - Luke says that Satan entered into Judas.

That is, Satan tempted (instigated) him to do it. Probably he tempted Judas by appealing to his avarice, his ruling passion, and by suggesting that now was a favorable opportunity to make money rapidly by selling his Lord.

Judas Iscariot - See the notes at Matthew 10:4.

Unto the chief priests - The high priest, and those who had been high priests. The ruling men of the Sanhedrin. Luke adds that he went also "to the captains" Luke 22:4. It was necessary, on account of the great wealth deposited there, and its great sacredness, to guard the temple by night. Accordingly, men were stationed around it, whose leaders or commanders were called "captains," Acts 4:1. These men were commonly of the tribe of Levi, were closely connected with the priests, were men of influence, and Judas went to them, therefore, as well as to the priests, to offer his services in accomplishing what they so much desired to secure. Probably his object was to get as much money as possible, and he might therefore have attempted to make a bargain with several of them apart from each other.


Mt 26:1-16. Christ's Final Announcement of his Death, as Now within Two Days, and the Simultaneous Conspiracy of the Jewish Authorities to Compass It—The Anointing at Bethany—Judas Agrees with the Chief Priests to Betray His Lord. ( = Mr 14:1-11; Lu 22:1-6; Joh 12:1-11).

For the exposition, see on [1361]Mr 14:1-11.

See Poole on "Matthew 26:16". Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot,.... Who was provoked and exasperated, to the last degree, by this action of the woman, and Christ's defence of it, and because the ointment was not sold, and the money put into his hand; and being instigated by Satan, who had now entered into him, formed a scheme in his mind to betray his master, and was resolved to put it in execution, whereby he might, in some measure, satisfy both his avarice and revenge; and, as an aggravation of this his wickedness, he is described, as "one of the twelve": of his twelve disciples; so the Persic and Ethiopic versions: this is a way of speaking used by the Jews (k); they call the twelve lesser prophets, or "the twelve", without any other word added thereunto. He was not an open enemy, nor one of Christ's common hearers, nor one of the seventy disciples, but one of his twelve apostles, whom he made his intimates and associates; whom he selected from all others, and called, qualified, and sent forth to preach his Gospel, and perform miracles: it was one of these that meditated the delivery of him into the hands of his enemies, and never left pursuing his scheme till he had effected it, even Judas Iscariot by name; so called, to distinguish him from another disciple, whose name was also Judas. This man

went to the chief priests; of his own accord, unasked, from Bethany, to Jerusalem, to Caiaphas's palace, where the chief priests, the implacable enemies of Christ, with the Scribes, and elders of the people, were met together, to consult his death: Mark adds, "to betray him unto them", Mark 14:10, which was manifestly his intent in going to them; and Luke, that he "communed" with them "how he might betray him unto them", Luke 22:4; in the safest, and most private manner; and both observe that they were glad; for nothing could have fallen out more to their wishes, who were met together on this design. The Jews, in their blasphemous account of Jesus (l), say as much: they own, that Judas, or Juda, as they call him, offered to betray him into the hands of the wise men, saying to them, almost in the words expressed in the following verse,

"if you will hearken unto me, , "I will deliver him into your hands tomorrow";''

and which agrees very well with the time also: for it was two days before the passover that Jesus was in Bethany, where he supped with his disciples, and washed their feet, and had the box of ointment poured on his head; and on the night of the day after all this was done, Judas set out from thence to Jerusalem; see John 13:30, so that it must be the next day before he could meet the high priests, and on the morrow, at night, he delivered him into their hands; on the proposal of which, they say, that Simeon ben Shetach, whom they make to be present at this time, and all the wise men and elders, "rejoiced exceedingly".

(k) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. & 15. 1.((l) Toldos Jesu, p. 16.

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
Matthew 26:14-16. On Ἰούδας Ἰσκαρ., see on Matthew 10:4.

τότε] after this repast, but not because he had been so much offended, nay, embittered (Wichelhaus, Schenkel, following the older expositors), by the reply of Jesus, Matthew 26:10 ff. (comp. John 12:7 f.),—a view scarcely in keeping with the mournful tenderness of that reply in which, moreover, according to Matthew, the name of Judas was not once mentioned. According to John 13:27, the devil, after selecting Judas as his instrument (Matthew 13:2), impelled him to betray his Master, not, however, till the occasion of the last supper,—a divergence from the synoptical narrative which ought, with Strauss, to be recognised, especially as it becomes very marked when Luke 22:3 is compared with John 13:27.

εἷς τῶν δώδεκα] tragic contrast; found in all the evangelists, even in John 12:4; Acts 1:17.

In Matthew 26:15 the mark of interrogation should not be inserted after δοῦναι (Lachmann), but allowed to remain after παραδ. αὐτόν. Expressed syntactically, the question would run: What will ye give me, if I deliver Him to you? In the eagerness of his haste the traitor falls into a broken construction (Kühner, II. 2, p. 782 f.): What will ye give me, and I will, etc. Here καί is the explicative atque, meaning: and so; on ἐγώ, again, there is an emphasis expressive of boldness.

ἔστησαν] they weighed for him, according to the ancient custom, and comp. Zechariah 11:12. No doubt coined shekels (Otto, Spicil. p. 60 ff.; Ewald in the Nachr. v. d. Gesellsch. d. Wiss., Gött. 1855, p. 109 ff.) were in circulation since the time of Simon the Maccabee (143 B.C.), but weighing appears to have been still practised, especially when considerable sums were paid out of the temple treasury; it is, in any case, unwarrantable to understand the ἔστησαν merely in the sense of: they paid. For ἵστημι, to weigh, see Wetstein on our passage; Schleusner, Thes. III. p. 122; Valckenaer, ad Eurip. Fragm. p. 288. The interpretation of certain expositors: they arranged with him, they promised him (Vulg. Theophylact, Castalio, Grotius, Elsner, Fritzsche, Käuffer, Wichelhaus, Lange), is in opposition not only to Matthew 27:3, where the words τὰ ἀργύρια refer back to the shekels already paid, but also to the terms of the prophecy, Zechariah 11:12 (comp. Matthew 27:9).

τριάκ. ἀργ.] ἀργύρια, shekels, only in Matthew, not in the LXX., which, in Zechariah 11:12, has τριάκοντα ἀργυροῦς (sc. σίκλους); comp. Jeremiah 32:9. They were shekels of the sanctuary (שֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ), which, as containing the standard weight, were heavier than the ordinary shekels; according to Joseph. Antt. iii. 8. 2, they were equivalent to four Attic drachmae, though, according to Jerome (on Micah 3:10), whose estimate, besides being more precise, is found to tally with existing specimens of this coin, they were equal to twenty oboli, or to 3⅓ drachmae—i.e. to something like 26 to 27 silbergroschen (2s. 6d.). See Bertheau, Gesch. d. Isr. pp. 34, 39; Keil, Arch. II. p. 146.

ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν, ἵνα] he sought a good opportunity (Cic. de off. i. 40) for the purpose of, etc. Such a εὐκαιρία as he wanted would present itself whenever he saw that συλληφθέντος οὐκ ἔμελλε θόρυβος γενέσθαι, Euthymius Zigabenus; comp. Matthew 26:5.


As the statement regarding the thirty pieces of silver is peculiar to Matthew, and as one so avaricious as Judas was would hardly have been contented with so moderate a sum, it is probable that, from its not being known exactly how much the traitor had received, the Gospel traditions came ultimately to fix upon such a definite amount as was suggested by Zechariah 11:12. Then, as tending further to impugn the historical accuracy of Matthew’s statement, it is of importance to notice that it has been adopted neither by the earlier Gospel of Mark, nor the later one of Luke, nor by John. Comp. Strauss, Ewald, Scholten.


As regards the idea, that what prompted Judas to act as he did, was a desire to bring about a rising of the people at the time of the feast, and to constrain “the dilatory Messiah to establish His kingdom by means of popular violence” (Paulus, Goldhorn in Tzschirn. Memor. i. 2; Winer, Theile, Hase, Schollmeyer, Jesus u. Judas, 1836; Weisse, I. p. 450),—the traitor himself being now doubtful, according to Neander and Ewald, as to whether Jesus was the Messiah or not,—it may be affirmed that it has no foundation whatever in the Gospel record, although it may be excused as a well-meant effort to render a mysterious character somewhat more comprehensible, and to make so strange a choice on the part of Jesus a little less puzzling. According to John especially, the subjective motive which, in conjunction with Satanic agency (Luke 22:3; John 13:2; John 13:27), led to the betrayal was simply avarice, not wounded ambition as well, see on Matthew 26:14; nor love of revenge and such like (Schenkel); nor shipwrecked faith on the occasion of the anointing of Christ (Klostermann); nor melancholy, combined with irritation against Jesus because the kingdom He sought to establish was not a kingdom of this world (Lange). Naturally passionate at any rate (Pressensé), and destitute of clearness of head as well as force of character (in opposition to Weisse), he was now so carried away by his own dark and confused ideas, that though betraying Jesus he did not anticipate that he would be condemned to death (Matthew 27:3), and only began to realize what he had done when the consequences of his act stared him in the face. Those, accordingly, go too far in combating the attempts that have been made to palliate the deed in question, who seek to trace it to fierce anger against Jesus, and the profoundest wickedness (Ebrard), and who represent Judas as having been from the first—even at the time he was chosen—the most consummate scoundrel to be found among men (Daub, Judas Ischar. 1816). That fundamental vice of Judas, πλεονεξία, became doubtless, in the abnormal development which his moral nature underwent through intercourse with Jesus, the power which completely darkened and overmastered his inner life, culminating at last in betrayal and suicide. Moreover, in considering the crime of Judas, Scripture requires us to keep in view the divine teleology, Peter already speaking of Jesus (Acts 2:23) as τῇ ὡρισμένη βουλῇ καὶ προγνώσει τοῦ θεοῦ ἔκδοτον, in a way corresponding very much to the view taken of the conduct of Herod and Pilate in Acts 4:28. Judas is thus the tragic instrument and organ of the divine εἱμαρμένη, though not in such a sense as to extenuate in the least the enormity and culpability of his offence, Matthew 26:24. Comp. John 17:12; Acts 1:25; and see, further, on John 6:70, Remark 1.Matthew 26:14-16. Judas offers to betray Jesus (Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:3-6).14–16. The Treachery of Judas

Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6St Mark, like St Matthew, connects the treachery of Judas with the scene in Simon’s house. His worldly hopes fell altogether at the thought of “burial.” It is a striking juxtaposition: as Mary’s is the highest deed of loving and clear-sighted faith, Judas’ is the darkest act of treacherous and misguided hate.

The motive that impelled Judas was probably not so much avarice as disappointed worldly ambition. Jesus said of him that he was a “devil” (diabolus or Satan), the term that was on a special occasion applied to St Peter, and for the same reason. Peter for a moment allowed the thought of the earthly kingdom to prevail; with Judas it was the predominant idea which gained a stronger and stronger hold on his mind until it forced out whatever element of good he once possessed. “When the manifestation of Christ ceased to be attractive it became repulsive; and more so every day” (Neander, Life of Christ, Bohn’s trans., p. 424).Matthew 26:14. Πορευθεὶς, departing[1118]) The disciples were not under restraint. The wicked could depart when he would.

[1118] Judas departed, doubtless, about the nightfall of Wednesday. On that very night, being possessed by Satan, he seems, as we have reason to think, to have had an interview with our Lord’s adversaries, but on the following day to have fixed with them on the further proceedings.—Harm., p. 496.Verses 14-16. - Compact of Judas with the Jewish authorities to betray Jesus. (Mark 14:10, 11; Luke 22:3-6.) Verse 14. - Then. The time referred to is the close of Christ's addresses, and the assembling of the Jewish authorities mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, vers. 6-13 being parenthetical. It is reasonable to suppose that the loss of the three hundred denarii, at which he would have had the handling, and the reproof then administered, gave the final impulse to the treachery of Judas. This seems to be signified by the synoptists' introduction of the transaction at Bethany immediately before the account of Judas's infamous bargain (see preliminary note on vers. 6-13). One of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot. That he was one of the twelve, the chosen companions of Christ, emphasizes his crime, makes it more amazing and more heinous. To witness the daily life of Christ, to behold his miracles of mercy, to listen to his heavenly teaching, to hear his stern denunciations of such sins as covetousness and hypocrisy, and in spite of all to bargain with his bitterest enemies for his betrayal, reveals a depth of perverse wickedness which is simply appalling. Well may the evangelist say that Satan entered into Judas (Luke 22:3); it was the devil's work he was doing; he followed this evil inspiration, and thought not whither it would lead him. Went unto the chief priests. Their hostility was no secret. Judas and everybody knew of their hatred of Jesus, and of their attempts to get him into their power; he saw his way to carrying out his purpose, and making of it some pecuniary gain. We are not to suppose that this miserable man sank all at once to this depth of iniquity. Nemo repente fit turpissimus. Though the descent to Avernus be easy, it is gradual; it has its steps and pauses, its allurements and checks. Modern criticism has endeavoured to minimize the crime of Judas, or even to regard him as a hero misunderstood; but the facts are entirely in favour of the traditional view. We can trace the path by which the apostle developed into the traitor, by studying the hints which the Gospels afford. He was probably at first fairly sincere in attaching himself to Christ's company. Being a man of business capacity and skill in the management of money matters, he was appointed treasurer of the little funds at the disposal of Christ and his followers. Half-hearted and self-seeking, his undertaking this office was a snare to which he easily fell a victim. He began by petty peculations, which were not discovered by his comrades (John 12:6), though he must often have felt an uneasy apprehension that his Master saw through him, and that many of his warnings were directed at him (see John 6:64, 70, 71). This feeling lessened the love for Jesus, though it did not drive him to open apostasy. He had admitted the demon of covetousness to his breast, and he now adhered to Christ for the hope of satisfying greed and worldly ambition. The teaching and miracles of Christ had no marked influence on such a disposition, softened not his hard heart, effected no change in his evil and selfish desires. And when he saw his hopes disappointed, when he heard Christ's announcement of his speedy death, which his knowledge of the rulers' animosity rendered only too certain, his only feeling was hatred and disgust. The transient expectations raised by the triumphal entry were not fulfilled; there was no assumption of the earthly conqueror's part, there were no rewards for Christ's followers, nothing but enmity and threatening danger on every side. Judas, seeing all this, perceiving that no worldly advantage would be gained by fidelity to the losing side, determined to make what profit he could under present circumstances. Not with the mistaken idea of forcing Christ to declare himself, and to put himself at the head of a popular movement, nor with any notion of Christ miraculously saving himself from his enemies' hands, but simply from sordid love of gain, he made his infamous offer to the chief priests. It was just when they were in perplexity, and had determined on nothing except that the arrest and the condemnation were not to take place during the feast, that Judas was introduced into the assembly. No wonder "they were glad" (Mark 14:11); here was a solution of the contemplated difficulty; they need have no fear of a rising in favour of Christ; if among his chosen followers some were disaffected, and one was ready to betray him, they might work their will, when he was once quietly apprehended, without any danger of rescue and disturbance (see on Matthew 27:3).
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