Matthew 27:7
And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) And they took counsel.—As before, they held a council.

The potter’s field.—In Jeremiah 18:2 we read of the “potter’s house” as being outside the city, probably, from Jeremiah 19:2, in the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna), on the south side of Jerusalem. It is probable that it had been worked out in course of time, and was now in the state of a disused quarry. It was necessary, now that Roman soldiers were often stationed in the city, and men of all nations came to it, to provide some burial-place for them; but no Jew would admit their bones into the sepulchre of his fathers. On the other hand, every devout Jew would shrink from the thought of burying his dead in the foul and hateful spot which had become the type of the unseen Gehenna. (See Notes on Matthew 5:22.) There was, therefore, a subtle fitness of association in the policy which the priests adopted. The place was itself accursed; it was bought with accursed money; it was to be used for the burial of the accursed strangers.

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.And they took counsel ... - They consulted among themselves about the proper way to dispose of this money.

And bought with them - In Acts 1:18, it is said of Judas that "he purchased a field with the reward of his iniquity." By the passage in the Acts is meant no more than that he "furnished the means" or "was the occasion" of purchasing the field. It is not of necessity implied that Judas actually made the contract and paid down the money to buy a field to bury strangers in - a thing which would be in itself very improbable, but that it was "by his means" that the field was purchased. It is very frequent in the Scriptures, as well as in other writings, to represent a man as doing that which he is only the cause or occasion of another's doing. See Acts 2:23; John 19:1; Matthew 27:59-60.

The potter's field - Probably this was some field well known by that name, which was used for the purpose of making earthen vessels. The price paid for a field so near Jerusalem may appear to be very small; but it is not improbable that it had been worked until the clay was exhausted, and was neither suitable for that business nor for tillage, and was therefore considered as of little value.

To bury strangers in - Jews, who came up from other parts of the world to attend the great feasts at Jerusalem. The high priests, who regarded the "Gentiles" as abominable, would not be inclined to provide a burial-place for them.

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.

See Poole on "Matthew 27:10". 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,

And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury {d} strangers in.

(d) Strangers and guests, whom the Jews could not endure to be joined with even after they were dead.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 27:7 f. Ἠγόρασαν] It is not said that they did so immediately; but the purchase took place shortly after, according to Acts 1:18.

τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμ.] the field of the potter, the field which had previously belonged to some well-known potter. Whether the latter had used the field for the purpose of digging clay, it is impossible to determine.

εἰς ταφὴν τ. ξένοις] as a burying-place for the strangers, namely, such foreign Jews (proselytes included) as happened to die when on a visit to Jerusalem; not Gentiles (Paulus), who, had they been intended, would have been indicated more specifically.

διό] because it had been bought with the τιμὴ αἵματος above (Matthew 27:6).

ἀγρὸς αἵματος] חֲקַל דְּמָא, Acts 1:18, where, however, the name is traced to a different origin. On the place which in accordance with tradition is still pointed out as the field here referred to, see Robinson, II. p. 178 ff.; Tobler, Topogr.Matthew 27:7. τὸν ἀγρὸν τ. κεραμέως, the field of the potter. The smallness of the price has suggested to some (Grotius, e.g.) that it was a field for potter’s clay got cheap because worked out. But in that case it would naturally be called the field of the potters.—ξένοις most take as referring to Jews from other lands dying at Jerusalem at passover time.7. the potter’s field] Tradition places Aceldama in the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem.

strangers] i. e. Jews of the dispersion, Hellenists and proselytes.Matthew 27:7. Τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως, the Potter’s Field) The article denotes that it was well known as such. A potter may have used it to obtain clay from.—εἰς ταφὴν τοῖς ξένοις, to bury strangers in) Thus, even then already did strangers gain more of a footing in Jerusalem: thus also the first possession of Abraham had been a burying-place.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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