Matthew 27:3
Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
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(3) Then Judas, which had betrayed him.—Better, the betrayer. The Greek participle is in the present tense. The narrative which follows is found only in St. Matthew, but another version of the same facts is given in Acts 1:18. Here, too, as in the case of Peter, we have to guess at motives. Had he looked for any other result than this? Was he hoping that his Lord, when forced to a decision, would assert His claim as the Christ, put forth His power, and triumph over His enemies, and that so he would gain at once the reward of treachery and the credit of having contributed to establish the Kingdom? This has been maintained by some eminent writers, and it is certainly possible, but the mere remorse of one who, after acting in the frenzy of criminal passion, sees the consequences of his deeds in all their horror, furnishes an adequate explanation of what follows.

Repented himself.—The Greek word is not that commonly used for “repentance,” as involving a change of mind and heart, but is rather regret,” a simple change of feeling. The coins which he had once gazed on and clutched at eagerly were now hateful in his sight, and their touch like that of molten metal from the furnace. He must get rid of them somehow. There is something terribly suggestive in the fact that here there were no tears as there had been in Peter’s repentance.

Matthew 27:3-5. Then Judas, when he saw that he was condemned — Which probably he thought Christ would have prevented by a miracle; repented himself — Of the fatal bargain he had made, and the great guilt he had thereby contracted; and being pierced with the deepest remorse and agony of conscience on that account; to make some reparation, if possible, for the injury he had done, he came and confessed his sin openly before the chief priests, scribes, and elders, bringing again the money with which they had hired him to commit it, and earnestly begging that they would take it back. It seems he thought this the most public testimony he could give of his Master’s innocence, and of his own repentance. I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood: and they said, What is that to us? — They answer with the steady coolness of persons who knew no shame or remorse for their wickedness. See thou to that — But was it nothing to them that they had thirsted after this innocent blood, and hired Judas to betray it, and had now condemned it to be shed unjustly? Was this nothing to them? Ought it not to have given a check to the violence of the prosecution; a warning to take heed what they did to this just man? Thus do fools make a mock at sin, as if no harm were done, no hazard run by the commission of the greatest wickedness. Thus light did these Jewish priests and elders make of shedding innocent blood! When Judas found that he could not prevent the dreadful effects of his traitorous conduct, “his conscience, being enraged, lashed him more furiously than before, suggesting thoughts which by turns made the deepest wounds in his soul. His Master’s innocence and benevolence, the usefulness of his life, the favours he had received from him, with many other considerations crowding into his mind, racked him to such a degree, that his torment became intolerable; he was as if he had been in the suburbs of hell. Wherefore, unable to sustain the misery of those agonizing passions and reflections, he threw down the wages of his iniquity, (which the chief priests and elders would not take back,) in the temple — Probably in the treasury, before the Levite porters and others who happened to be there, and then went away in despair, and hanged himself — Making such an end of a wicked life as one might expect those to make into whom Satan enters, and who are given up to the love of money, for which this wretch betrayed his master, friend, and Saviour, and cast away his own soul.” See Matthew 24:24. The word απηγξατο, here rendered, he hanged himself, plainly denotes strangling, but does not say whether by hanging or otherwise. The term used in those places where hanging is mentioned is different from this. Our translation follows the Vulgate, laqueo se suspendit. The Syriac renders it, he strangled himself. “St. Peter seems to give rather a different account, Acts 1:18. Falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And to reconcile the two passages, Tob 3:10 is adduced to prove that the word απηγξατο in Matthew may signify suffocation with grief in consequence of which a man’s bowels may gush out; and instances are cited of persons who are supposed to have died in this manner. But as these instances may be otherwise understood, it is more natural to suppose that Judas hanged himself on some tree growing out of a precipice; and that the branch breaking, or the knot of the handkerchief, or whatever else he hanged himself with, opening, he fell down headlong, and dashed himself to pieces, so that his bowels gushed out. Peter’s phrase, ελακησε μεσος, he burst asunder, favours this conjecture.” — Macknight. Thus perished Judas Iscariot the traitor, a miserable example of the fatal influence of covetousness, and a standing monument of the divine vengeance, proper to deter future generations from acting contrary to conscience, through the love of the world. Some have said, that he sinned more in despairing of the mercy of God than in betraying his Master, but it is probable his sin was in its own nature unpardonable; at least it appeared so to him; at which we cannot wonder, if he noticed, as it is probable he did, the words uttered by Christ at his last supper with his disciples, Wo to that man, &c. It had been good for that man if he had not been born. Doubtless the terrors of the Almighty set themselves in array against him; and all the threatenings and curses written in God’s book entered his soul, as water may into the bowels, or oil insinuate itself into the bones, as was foretold concerning him, Psalm 109:18-19, and drove him to this desperate shift for the escaping of a hell within, to leap into a hell before him, which was but the perfection and perpetuity of the horror and despair felt in his soul. Thus we see in him, that even sorrow for sin, if it be not according to God, worketh death, even the worst kind of death, death eternal, while godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation. And as we saw the latter of these kinds of sorrow exemplified before in the story of Peter, so we see the former exhibited here in this of Judas. 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.Then Judas, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself - This shows that Judas did not suppose that the affair would have resulted in this calamitous manner. He probably expected that Jesus would work a miracle to deliver himself, and not suffer this condemnation to come upon him. When he saw him taken, bound, tried, and condemned - when he saw that all probability that he would deliver himself was taken away - he was overwhelmed with disappointment, sorrow, and remorse. The word rendered "repented himself," it has been observed, does not of necessity denote a change "for the better," but "any" change of views and feelings. Here it evidently means no other change than that produced by the horrors of a guilty conscience, and by deep remorse for crime at its unexpected results. It was not saving repentance. That leads to a holy life this led to an increase of crime in his own death. True repentance leads the sinner to the Saviour. This led away from the Saviour to the gallows. Judas, if he had been a true penitent, would have come then to Jesus; would have confessed his crime at his feet, and sought for pardon there. But, overwhelmed with remorse and the conviction of vast guilt, he was not willing to come into his presence, and added to the crime of treason that of self-murder. Assuredly such a man could not be a true penitent. 3. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned—The condemnation, even though not unexpected, might well fill him with horror. But perhaps this unhappy man expected, that, while he got the bribe, the Lord would miraculously escape, as He had once and again done before, out of His enemies' power: and if so, his remorse would come upon him with all the greater keenness.

repented himself—but, as the issue too sadly showed, it was "the sorrow of the world, which worketh death" (2Co 7:10).

and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders—A remarkable illustration of the power of an awakened conscience. A short time before, the promise of this sordid pelf was temptation enough to his covetous heart to outweigh the most overwhelming obligations of duty and love; now, the possession of it so lashes him that he cannot use it, cannot even keep it!

See Poole on "Matthew 27:5". Then Judas, which had betrayed him,.... Before, he is described as he that shall, or should, or doth betray him; but now having perpetrated the horrid sin, as he that had done it.

When he saw that he was condemned; that is, that Jesus was condemned, as the Syriac and Persic versions read, either by the Jewish sanhedrim, or by Pilate, or both; for this narrative concerning Judas may be prophetically inserted here, though the thing itself did not come to pass till afterwards; and the sense be, that when he, either being present during the whole procedure against Christ; or returning in the morning after he had received his money, and had been with his friends; finding that his master was condemned to death by the sanhedrim, who were pushing hard to take away his life; that they had delivered him bound to the Roman governor; and that he, after an examination of him, had committed him to the soldiers to mock, and scourge, and crucify him; and seeing him leading to the place of execution,

repented himself: not for the sin, as committed against God and Christ; but as it brought a load of present guilt and horror upon his mind, and exposed him to everlasting punishment: it was not such a repentance by which he became wiser and better; but an excruciating, tormenting pain in his mind, by which he became worse; therefore a different word is here used than what commonly is for true repentance: it was not a godly sorrow for sin, or a sorrow for sin, as committed against God, which works repentance to salvation not to be repented of; but a worldly sorrow, which issues in death, as it did in him. It did not spring from the love of God, as evangelical repentance does, nor proceed in the fear of God, and his goodness; but was no other than a foretaste of that worm that dieth not, and of that fire which cannot be quenched: it was destitute of faith in Christ; he never did believe in him as the rest of the disciples did; see John 6:64, and that mourning which does not arise from looking to Jesus, or is not attended with faith in him, is never genuine. Judas's repentance was without hope of forgiveness, and was nothing else but horror and black despair, like that of Cain's, like the trembling of devils, and the anguish of damned souls. It looks as if Judas was not aware that it would issue in the death of Christ: he was pushed on by Satan, and his avarice, to hope, that he should get this money, and yet his master escape; which he imagined he might do, either through such a defence of himself, as was not to be gainsaid; or that he would find out ways and means of getting out of the hands of the Jews, as he had formerly done, and with which Judas was acquainted: but now, there being no hope of either, guilt and horror seize his mind, and gnaw his conscience; and he wishes he had never done the accursed action, which had entailed so much distress and misery upon him:

and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders: which was the sum he; had covenanted for, and they had agreed to give him, on condition of delivering Jesus into their hands, which he had done: and it appears from hence, that the money had been accordingly paid him, and he had received it. But he being filled with remorse of conscience for what he had done, feels no quietness in his mind; nor could he save of what he had desired, but is obliged to return it; not from an honest principle, as in the case of true repentance, but on account of a racking and torturing conscience.

{1} Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

(1) An example of the horrible judgment of God upon those who sell Christ as opposed to those who buy Christ.

Matthew 27:3 Τότε] as Jesus was being led away to the procurator. From this Judas saw that his Master had been condemned (Matthew 26:66), for otherwise He would not have been thus taken before Pilate.

ὁ παραδιδοὺς αὐτόν] His betrayer, Matthew 26:25; Matthew 26:48.

μεταμεληθεὶς, κ.τ.λ.] cannot be said to favour the view that Judas was animated by a good intention (see on Matthew 24:16, Remark 2), though it no doubt serves to show he neither contemplated nor expected so serious a result. It is possible that, looking to the innocence of Jesus, and remembering how often before He had succeeded in disarming His enemies, the traitor may have cherished the hope that the issue would prove harmless. Now: “vellet, si posset, factum infectum reddere,” Bengel. Such was his repentance, but it was not of a godly nature (2 Corinthians 7:9 f.), for it led to despair.

ἀπέστρεψε] he returned them (Matthew 26:52; Thuc. v. 75, viii. 108; Xen. Anab. ii. 6. 3, al), i.e. he took them back (Genesis 43:21; Jdg 11:13; Jeremiah 28:3), Heb. הֵשִׁיב

τοῖς ἀρχ. κ. τ. πρεσβ.] from which it is to be inferred that Matthew did not look upon this as a full meeting of the Sanhedrim (Matthew 27:2).Matthew 27:3-10. The despair of Judas.—Peculiar to Matthew; interesting to the evangelist as a testimony even from the false disciple to the innocence of Jesus, and the wickedness of His enemies, and as a curious instance of prophecy fulfilled.3–10. The remorse of Judas. He returns the silver Shekels. The use made of them. Peculiar to St Matthew

3. when he saw that he was condemned] It has been argued from these words that Judas had not expected this result of his treachery. He had hoped that Jesus would by a mighty manifestation of His divine power usher in at once the Kingdom whose coming was too long delayed. The whole tenour of the narrative, however, contradicts such an inference.

repented himself] A different Greek word from that used, ch. Matthew 3:2; it implies no change of heart or life, but merely remorse or regret. See note ch. Matthew 21:29; Matthew 21:32.Matthew 27:3. Ὅτι κατεκριθη, that He was condemned) sc. Jesus, by the Priests.—μεταμεληθεὶς, repenting himself)[1169] Judas had not anticipated this catastrophe: he would now wish, if he could, to render that, which was done, undone.[1170]—ἀπέστρεψε, brought again) sc. in the morning.

[1169] B. G. V. “Reute es ihn.” B. H. E. “Gereute es ihn.”—(I. B.)

[1170] Cf. Gnomon on ch. Matthew 3:8, voc. μετανοίας.—(I. B.)Verses 3-10. - Remorse and suicide of Judas, and the use made of the blood money. (Peculiar to St. Matthew; cf. Acts 1:18, 19.) Verse 3. - Then. This transaction took place either when Jesus was being conducted to the Praetorium, or during the interview with Herod (Luke 23:7-11). A great number of the Sanhedrists had now withdrawn to the temple, and were sitting in conclave there. When he saw that he was condemned. He evidently had not contemplated the full consequences of his crime; he never expected that the Jewish rulers would proceed to such extremities. It is probable that, in his lust for gain and his loss of love for his Master, he had. thought of nothing but his own sordid interests, and now was appalled at the share which he had had in bringing to pass this awful result. The excuse made in modern days for Judas, that he wished only to force our Lord to exert his Divine power, and to declare himself Messiah, is refuted by one out of many considerations (see on Matthew 26:14). His remorse at this moment has to be accounted for. If he still believed in Christ's Divine commission, he would not have despaired of a happy result even after his condemnation, nay, even when he was hanging on the cross. Christ's power to deliver himself and to assume his Messianic position remained unimpaired by these seemingly adverse circumstances, and a believer would have waited for the end before he surrendered all hope. Judas's character is not bettered by considering that he did evil that good might come, or that he was led to his base course by the hope that his worldly interests would be improved by the establishment of Messiah's temporal kingdom. That he had now any desire or ambition for a place in a spiritual kingdom cannot be conceived, for he had evidently lost all faith in Jesus, and followed him only for the most sordid motives. Repented himself (μεταμεληθείς). This word (differing from μετανοέω, which expresses change of heart) denotes only a change of feeling, a desire that what has been done could be undone; this is not repentance in the Scripture sense; it springs not from love of God, it has not that character which calls for pardon. "Mark," says St. Chrysostom, "when it is that he feels remorse. When his sin was completed, and had received an accomplishment. For the devil is like this; he suffers not those who are careless to see the evil before this, lest he whom he has taken should repent. At least, when Jesus was saying so many things, he was not influenced, but when his offence was completed, then repentance came upon him, and not then profitably." Only now did he fully realize what he had done; in the light of his crime his conscience awoke and confounded him with vehement re-preaches: the object for which he had sinned seemed utterly unworthy and base; its attraction vanished when no longer pursued. Brought again (returned) the thirty pieces of silver. He had received the whole price for which he had bargained, but he could not retain the money now; it was a silent witness which he could not endure. He may have thought that he would throw away the guilt of his crime as he deprived himself of its wages, or that he could repair its consequences by this tardy restitution. Repented himself (μεταμεληθεὶς)

See on Matthew 21:29.

What is that to us?

They ignore the question of Christ's innocence. As to Judas' sin or conscience, that is his matter. Thou wilt see to that.

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