Matthew 27:6
And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
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(6) It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury.—The Greek for the last word is the Corban, or sacred treasure-chest of the Temple, into which no foreign coins were admitted, and from which the Law (Deuteronomy 23:18) excluded the unclean offerings of the price of shame, which entered largely into the ritual of many heathen nations. By parity of reasoning, the priests seem to have thought that the blood-money which was thus returned was excluded also.

Matthew 27:6-8. And the chief priests took the silver pieces — They refused to receive them from Judas, for fear, perhaps, of taking thereby the whole guilt of the murder of Christ upon themselves, which they wished Judas to bear with them; but the money being thrown down in some place belonging to the temple, in the precincts of which it is probable they held their council, they took it up; but were at first at a loss to know what use to make of it. It is not lawful, said they, to put them (the pieces of silver) into the treasury: because it is the price of blood — Yes, of innocent blood: and was it lawful to purchase that? We see these priests and rulers had a conscience too! but what kind of a conscience! A conscience that strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel! They scrupled deviating from a ceremonial direction of Moses, while they were knowingly and wilfully transgressing, in the most flagrant instance possible, the eternal and unchangeable laws of justice and mercy! were adjudging to an ignominious and painful death the Holy One of God! These “arch hypocrites,” says Baxter, “make conscience of ceremony, and make no conscience of perjury, persecution, and murdering the innocent! Blood they thirst for, and will give money to procure it, but the price of blood must not be consecrated!” They scruple not to give money to procure the shedding of blood, but scruple the putting that money into the treasury! they are afraid to defile the treasury, but not afraid to pollute their souls. The word κορβαναν, here rendered treasury, occurs in no other passage in the Scriptures. Josephus makes use of it, and interprets it, τον ιερον θησαυρον, the sacred treasure. It is formed from κορβαν, originally Hebrew, which also occurs but once in the Greek form, namely, Mark 7:11, and signifies that which is given, or devoted to God. The unlawfulness of putting the thirty shekels into this repository arose from this single circumstance, that it contained the treasure consecrated to God; and the priests judged that such an offering, as this price of blood, would have been as much an abomination to the Lord, as the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, which were expressly forbidden to be brought into the house of God for any vow, or offering, Deuteronomy 23:18. They took counsel and bought the potter’s field — Well known, it seems, by that name; to bury strangers in — Foreigners, heathen, especially, of whom there then were great numbers at Jerusalem. To purchase this field with the money, they thought would be putting it to a pious use; so holy and charitable would they be! Perhaps they thought to atone for what they had done by this public good act of providing a burying-place for strangers, though not at their own charge! Thus, in the dark times of Popery, people were made to believe that building churches, and endowing monasteries, would make amends for immoralities. Thirty pieces of silver may seem but a small price for a field so near to Jerusalem as this was. Probably the potters, by digging earth out of it for their ware, had made it useless either for tillage or pasture. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood — Because it was bought with the money Judas received for betraying his Master’s life. Providence seems to have set this name upon the field to perpetuate the memory of the transaction. Jerome, who had been upon the spot, tells us that they still showed this field in his time: that it lay south of mount Zion, and that they buried there the poorest and meanest of the people. The historian’s mentioning the purchase of the potter’s field with the money for which Judas betrayed his Master, being an appeal to a very public transaction, puts the truth of this part of the history beyond all manner of exception.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.It is not lawful ... - It was forbidden Deuteronomy 23:18 to take what was esteemed as an abomination and to offer it to God. The price of blood - that is, of the life of a man - they justly considered as an improper and unlawful offering.

The treasury - The "treasury" was kept in the court of the women. See plan of the temple, Matthew 21:12. It was composed of a number of small "chests" placed in different parts of the "courts" to receive the voluntary offerings of the people, as well as the half shekel required of every Jew. The original word rendered here as "treasury" contains the notion of an "offering to God." What was given there was considered as an offering made to him.

The price of blood - The life is in the "blood." See the notes at Romans 3:25. The word "blood" here means the same as "life." The price of blood means the price by which the life of a man has been purchased. This was an acknowledgment that in their view Jesus was innocent. They had bought him, not condemned him justly. It is remarkable that they were so scrupulous now about so small a matter, comparatively, as putting this money in the treasury, when they had no remorse about "murdering an innocent" man, and crucifying him who had given full evidence that he was the Messiah. People are often very scrupulous in "small" matters, who stick not at great crimes.

6. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury—"the Corban," or chest containing the money dedicated to sacred purposes (see on [1371]Mt 15:5).

because it is the price of blood—How scrupulous now! But those punctilious scruples made them unconsciously fulfil the Scripture.

God, Deu 23:18, had forbidden to bring the price of a whore, or a dog, into the temple; this they had interpreted of all filthy gain: upon which they thus determine, that it was not lawful for them to put the money they had given Judas, for so sordid a service as that of betraying his Master, into the chest, or place which they had, where they kept the monies given for the repairs of the temple; and in this they were right enough, perhaps, but in this they showed themselves stupidly blind hypocrites, that they saw not it was much less lawful for them, who had hired him to this sordid action, to be employed in the service of the temple, for, Isaiah 52:11, those that bear the vessels of the Lord ought to be holy. Thus, to justify our Saviour’s words, they strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. And the chief priests took the silver pieces,.... Off of the ground, after Judas was gone, no other daring to meddle with them; for in any other it would have been deemed sacrilege; and they being the proper persons to take care and dispose of money brought into the temple: and if not, their covetous disposition would have moved them to take up the money:

and said, one to another, it is not lawful to put them into the treasury, or "Corban"; as the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions leave the word untranslated: and which is the place where the offerings for the repair and service of the temple were put, and is the same into which Christ beheld the people casting their money, Mark 12:41. Josephus (u) observes, that

"there was, with the Jews, an holy treasure, which is called "Corbonas";''

and this is the , "the chamber of the Korban", of which the Jews make mention (w): the reason the high priests give why it was not lawful to put this money into the treasury, or into any of the chests in the "Corban" chamber, was,

because it is the price of blood. Thus they strained at a gnat, and swallowed a camel. It is highly probable, that they took this selfsame money out of the treasury to buy this blood with, and yet scruple to put it in, having bought it: and besides, they made no hesitation about seeking for, and shedding this innocent blood, and yet boggle at putting this money into the "Corban", because it was the price of it; proceeding upon the same reason as the law in Deuteronomy 23:18 does, pretending much religion, and great veneration for holy pieces and things, when they made no conscience of committing the most flagitious crimes.

(u) De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 9. sect. 3.((w) Misn. Middot, c. 1. sect, 1.

And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the {b} treasury, because it is the price {c} of blood.

(b) The treasury of the temple.

(c) Of life and death.

Matthew 27:6 Οὐκ ἔξεστι] “argumento ducto ex Deuteronomy 23:18, Sanhedr. f. 112,” Wetstein.

τιμὴ αἵματος] the price of blood, which is supposed to have been shed.

κορβ.] τὸν ἱερὸν θησαυρόν, καλεῖται δὲ κορβανᾶς, Josephus, Bell. ii. 9. 4.Matthew 27:6. κορβανᾶν, the treasury, referred to by this name by Joseph. (B. J. ii. 9, 4).—τιμὴ αἵματός ἐστι: exclusion of blood money from the treasury, an extension of the law against the wages of harlotry (Deuteronomy 23:18).6. into the treasury] “Into the Corban” in the original. For the prohibition cp. Deuteronomy 23:18.Verse 6. - Took the silver pieces. They picked up the coins which Judas had flung away on the marble pavement of the court, but were perplexed to determine what they should do with them. It is not lawful. These men, who had felt no doubt or hesitation in compassing the death of an innocent Man by the foulest treachery and perversion of justice, have, or hypocritically professed to have, religious scruples about the disposal of this blood money thus thrown on their hands. While they calmly outraged all moral feeling, they punctiliously observed certain outward ceremonial decencies. "They strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." The treasury (τὸν κορβανᾶν). The temple treasury, supplied by the offerings (corbans) of the pious for the expenses of Divine worship. It is most probable that these scrupulous priests had taken from this treasury the silver which they now deemed it sinful to replace. The price of blood. The wages of murder. It was inferred from Deuteronomy 23:18 that no money unlawfully gained, or derived from an impure source, might be used in purchasing things for God's service. Under Jewish Law such money must be restored to the donor; if circumstances rendered this impossible, or the offerer insisted on giving it, it was to be expended for some public object, the original owner being considered, by a legal fiction, to be its possessor still, and that which was paid for by the money being deemed as his gift to the community (comp. Acts 1:18, "This man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity"). It is not lawful

In such cases the Jewish law provided that the money was to be restored to the donor; and if he insisted on giving it, that he should be induced to spend it for something for the public weal. This explains the apparent discrepancy between Matthew's account and that in the book of Acts (Acts 1:18). By a fiction of the law the money was still considered to be Judas', and to have been applied by him to the purchase of the potter's field.

Scarlet (κοκκίνην)

From κόκκος, cochineal, which grew in several parts of Greece. Garments of this color would seem to have been rare among the orientals. Herodotus relates that the admiration of Darius, then an officer in the army, was excited by the scarlet cloak of a Samian exile, who, on his offering to purchase it, presented it to him, and was afterward richly rewarded when Darius came to the throne (iii. 139).

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