Matthew 27:9
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;
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(9) Then was fulfilled.—Three questions present themselves, more or less difficult:—(1) The words cited are found in our present Old Testament, not in Jeremiah, but in Zechariah 11:13, and there is no trace of their ever having occupied any other place in the Hebrew Canon. How is this discrepancy to be explained? (a) Are we to assume an early error in transcription? Against this, there is the fact that MSS. and versions, with one or two exceptions, in which the correction is obviously of later date, give Jeremiah and not Zechariah. (b) May we fall back upon the Jewish notion that the spirit of Jeremiah had passed into Zechariah; or that Jeremiah, having, at one time, stood first in the Jewish order of the Prophets, was taken as representing the whole volume, as David was of the whole Book of Psalms? This is possible, but it hardly falls within the limits of Probability that the writer of the Gospel would deliberately have thus given his quotation in a form sure to cause perplexity. (c) May we believe that the writer quoted from memory, and that recollecting the two conspicuous chapters (18 and 19) in which Jeremiah had spoken of the potter and his work, he was led to think that this also belonged to the same group of prophecies? I am free to confess that the last hypothesis seems to me the most natural and free from difficulty, unless it be the difficulty which is created by an arbitrary hypothesis as to the necessity of literal accuracy in an inspired writing. (2) There is the fact that the words given by St. Matthew neither represent the Greek version of Zechariah 11:13, nor the original Hebrew, but have the look of being a free quotation from memory adapted to the facts; and this, so far as it goes, is in favour of the last hypothesis. (3) It is hardly necessary to dwell on the fact that the words as they stand in Zechariah have an adequate historical meaning entirely independent of St. Matthew’s application of them. This, as we have seen again and again (Matthew 1:23; Matthew 2:15-18; Matthew 4:15; Matthew 8:17; Matthew 12:18), was entirely compatible with the Evangelist’s manner of dealing with prophecy. It was enough for him that the old words fitted into the facts, without asking, as we ask, whether they were originally meant to point to them. The combination in one verse, as he remembered it, of the thirty pieces of silver and the potter’s field, was a coincidence that he could not pass over.

Matthew 27:9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy — The words here quoted are not in any copy of Jeremiah extant. But they bear a strong resemblance to the words of Zechariah 11:12-13. One MS., not of great account, has Ζεχαριου, of Zechariah. Another adds no name to the word prophet, and there is none added in the Syriac version, the words being only, which was spoken by the prophet. And it seems, from a remark of Augustine, that some copies in his time named no prophet. Indeed it is not improbable that the name Jeremiah was inserted by some officious transcriber. Or we may suppose, with Bishop Hall, that in copying the words, Jeremiah was put down for Zechariah, a blunder which transcribers might easily commit, especially if the names were written by abbreviation, Ιριου for Ζριου, as the bishop says he has seen in some ancient MSS. But if the present reading is retained, we may allow, that, as the Jewish Scriptures were divided into three parts, the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, what was found in the prophets might properly enough be said to be in Jeremiah, if his prophecies stood first in the collection, just as our Lord affirmed that whatever was in the Hagiographa concerning him, was contained in the Psalms, because the Psalms stood first in that division of the Scriptures. Or, we may adopt the solution offered by Grotius, who observes, that the Jews had many prophecies handed down to them by tradition, such as the prophecy of Enoch, Jdg 1:14-15, and the traditionary prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem mentioned by Josephus, and that the later prophets often allude to and repeat the words of the former. He therefore declares it to be his opinion, that the prophecy concerning the thirty pieces of silver, recorded Zechariah 11:12-13, which represented symbolically, according to the manner of the prophets, the things that were to befall the Messiah, was originally acted and spoken by Jeremiah, as Matthew affirms; but that Zechariah, who in many particulars followed Jeremiah, was directed by the Spirit to repeat it afterward, and preserve it in writing among his other prophecies; and that the Jews had preserved the knowledge of this fact by tradition; wherefore, though it be now found in Zechariah, being originally spoken by Jeremiah, Matthew has committed no error here in referring it to him. See note on Zechariah 11:12-13.

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.Spoken by Jeremy the prophet - The words quoted here are not to be found in the prophecy of Jeremiah. Words similar to these are recorded in Zechariah 11:12-13, and from that place this quotation has been doubtless made. Much difficulty has been experienced in explaining this quotation. In ancient times, according to the Jewish writers; "Jeremiah" was reckoned the first of the prophets, and was placed first in the "Book of the Prophets," thus: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the twelve minor prophets. Some have thought that Matthew, quoting this place, quoted the Book of the Prophets under the name of that which had the "first" place in the book, that is, Jeremiah; and though the words are those of Zechariah, yet they are quoted correctly as the words of the Book of the Prophets, the first of which was Jeremiah. Others have thought that there was a mistake made by ancient transcribers, writing the name Jeremiah instead of Zechariah; and it is observed that this might be done by the change of only a single letter. It was often the custom to abridge words in writing them. Thus, instead of writing the name of Jeremiah in full, it would be written in Greek, "Iriou." So Zechariah would be written "Zion." By the mere change of Zinto I, therefore, the mistake might easily be made. Probably this is the correct explanation. Others have supposed that the words were "spoken by Jeremiah," and that "Zechariah" recorded them, and that Matthew quoted them as they were - the words of Jeremiah. The passage is not quoted literally; and by its being "fulfilled" is meant, probably, that the language used by Zechariah on a similar occasion would express also this event. See the notes at Matthew 1:22-23. It was language appropriate to this occasion.

The price of him that was valued - That is, the price of him on whom a value was set. The word rendered "valued," here, does not, as often in our language, mean to "esteem," but to "estimate;" not to love, approve, or regard, but to fix a price on, to estimate the value of. This they considered to be thirty pieces of silver, "the common price of a slave."

They of the children of Israel did value - Some of the Jews, the leaders or priests, acting in the name of the nation.

Did value - Did estimate, or fix a price on.

9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying—(Zec 11:12, 13). Never was a complicated prophecy, otherwise hopelessly dark, more marvellously fulfilled. Various conjectures have been formed to account for Matthew's ascribing to Jeremiah a prophecy found in the book of Zechariah. But since with this book he was plainly familiar, having quoted one of its most remarkable prophecies of Christ but a few chapters before (Mt 21:4, 5), the question is one more of critical interest than real importance. Perhaps the true explanation is the following, from Lightfoot: "Jeremiah of old had the first place among the prophets, and hereby he comes to be mentioned above all the rest in Mt 16:14; because he stood first in the volume of the prophets (as he proves from the learned David Kimchi) therefore he is first named. When, therefore, Matthew produceth a text of Zechariah under the name of Jeremy, he only cites the words of the volume of the prophets under his name who stood first in the volume of the prophets. Of which sort is that also of our Saviour (Lu 24:41), 'All things must be fulfilled which are written of Me in the Law, and the Prophets, and the Psalms,' or the Book of Hagiographa, in which the Psalms were placed first." See Poole on "Matthew 27:10".

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet,.... Through the purchasing of the potter's field with the thirty pieces of silver, the price that Christ was valued at, a prophecy in the writings of the Old Testament had its accomplishment: but about this there is some difficulty. The evangelist here says it was spoken by Jeremy the prophet; whereas in his prophecy there is no mention of any such thing. There is indeed an account of his buying his uncle Hanameel's son's field, in Jeremiah 32:7, but not a word of a potter, or a potter's field, or of the price of it, thirty pieces of silver; and that as a price at which he, or any other person was valued; but the passage which is manifestly referred to, stands in Zechariah 11:12, where are these words, "and I said unto them, if ye think good, give me my price, and if not, forbear; so they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver: and the Lord said unto me, cast it unto the potter, a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord": the removing of this difficulty, it might be observed, that the Syriac and Persic versions make no mention of any prophet's name, only read, "which was spoken by the prophet"; and so may as well be ascribed to Zechariah, as to Jeremy, and better: but it must be owned, that Jeremy is in all the Greek copies, in the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, and in Munster's Hebrew Gospel. Various things are said for the reconciling of this matter: some have thought that Zechariah had two names, and that besides Zechariah, he was called Jeremy; but of this there is no proof. Jerom (y) affirms, that in an Hebrew volume, being an apocryphal work of Jeremy, which was shown him by one of the Nazarene sect, he read these words verbatim: so that though they do not stand in the writings of Jeremy, which are canonical Scripture, yet in an apocryphal book of his, and which may as well be referred to, as the book of Maccabees, the traditions of the Jews, the prophecies of Enoch, and the writings of the Heathen poets. Moreover, Mr. Mede (z) has laboured, by various arguments, to prove, that the four last chapters of Zechariah were written by Jeremy, in which this passage stands; and if so, the reason is clear, for the citation in his name. But what seems best to solve this difficulty, is, that the order of the books of the Old Testament is not the same now, as it was formerly: the sacred writings were divided, by the Jews, into three parts: the first was called the law, which contains the five books of Moses; the second, the prophets, which contains the former and the latter prophets; the former prophets began at Joshua, and the latter at Jeremy; the third was called Cetubim, or the Hagiographa, the holy writings, which began with the book of Psalms: now, as this whole third and last part is called the Psalms, Luke 24:44, because it began with that book; so all that part which contained the latter prophets, for the same reason, beginning at Jeremy, might be called by his name; hence a passage, standing in the prophecy of Zechariah, who was one of the latter prophets, might be justly cited, under the name of Jeremy. That such was the order of the books of the Old Testament, is evident from the following passage (a).

"it is a tradition of our Rabbins, that the order of the prophets is, Joshua and Judges, Samuel and the Kings, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the twelve.''

Moreover, it is usual with them to say (b), that the spirit of Jeremiah was in Zechariah; and it is very plain, that the latter prophets have many things from the former; and so might Zechariah have this originally from Jeremy, which now stands in his prophecy: all this would be satisfactory to a Jew: and it is to be observed, that the Jew (c), who objects to everything he could in the evangelist, with any appearance on his side, and even objects to the application of this prophecy; yet finds no fault with him for putting Jeremy for Zechariah. That the prophecy in Zechariah belongs to the Messiah, and was fulfilled in Jesus, manifestly appears from the context, for as well as the text itself. The person spoken of is in Zechariah 11:4, called to "feed the flock of slaughter", which being in a very poor condition, Zechariah 11:5, the state of the Jews, at the time of Christ's coming, is hereby very aptly represented: he agrees to do it, Zechariah 11:7, and accordingly furnishes himself for it; but he is despised, abhorred, and rejected by the shepherds, the principal men in church and state; because he severely inveighed against their doctrines and practices, Zechariah 11:8, upon which he rejects them, and dissolves both their civil and church state; which can suit with no other times than the times of Jesus, Zechariah 11:9, and lest it should be thought that he used them with too much severity, he gives one single instance of their ingratitude to him, which shows how little they esteemed him; and that is, their valuing him at no greater a price than "thirty pieces of silver", Zechariah 11:12, which were afterwards "cast unto the potter". The Jews (d) themselves own, that this prophecy belongs to the Messiah, though they interpret it of him in another manner.

"Says R. Chanun, the Israelites will have no need of the doctrine of the king Messiah in the time to come; as it is said, Isaiah 11:10, "to him shall the Gentiles seek", and not the Israelites: if so, for what does the king Messiah come? and what does he come to do? to gather the captives of Israel, and to give them the thirty precepts, as it is said, Zechariah 11:12, "and I said unto them, if ye think good", &c. Rab says, these are the thirty mighty men; and Jochanan says, these are the thirty commands.''

Should it be objected, that supposing the Messiah is intended, the money is said to be given into his hands, and not into the hands of him that was to betray him; "if ye think good, give me my price", Zechariah 11:12, it may be replied, that the words , should not be rendered, "give me my price", but "give my price"; i.e. give what you think fit to value me at, into the hands of the betrayer; and accordingly they did: "so they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver", Zechariah 11:12; which is the very sum the chief priests agreed with Judas for, and which he received; see Matthew 26:15, and if it should be objected to the citation of the evangelist, that it is considerably different from the word of the prophet, it being in the latter, "I took the thirty pieces of silver"; whereas in the former, the words are quoted thus,

saying, and they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value: it may be observed, that the word which Matthew uses may be rendered, "I took", as it is in the Syriac version; and that the thirty pieces of silver were the goodly price, at which the Messiah was valued by the children of Israel, is manifest enough; and is an instance of egregious ingratitude, that this should be the price of the "innocent one", as the Arabic Version renders the phrase, "of him that was valued"; of the "honoured one", as the Ethiopic; of the "most precious one", as the Syriac; he who in his person, and the perfections of his nature, is equal to his father, and his fellow; who has all the riches of grace and glory in him, as mediator; who is superior to angels, and fairer than the sons of men in human nature: is the chiefest among ten thousands, and more precious than rubies; and all the things that can be desired are not to be compared with him, and yet sold for a sum of money, the price of a slave, Exodus 21:32, and that by the children of Israel, to whom the Messiah was promised; who expected him, and desired his coming; and who sprung from among them, and was sent unto them, and yet they received him not, but undervalued him in this exceeding mean way. Wicked men have no value for Christ; they sell him and themselves for nought; but gracious souls cannot value him enough, nor sufficiently express their esteem of him.

(y) In loc. (z) Mede's Works, p. 963, 1022, 1023. (a) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. Vid. Praefat. R. David Kimchici in Jer. (b) Sepher Hagilgulim apud Surenhus. Biblos Katallages, p. 41. (c) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 25. p. 412. (d) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 98. fol. 85. 3, 4.

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by {e} Jeremy the prophet, saying, {f} And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;

(e) As this prophecy is found in Zec 11:12 it cannot be denied that Jeremy's name slipped into the text either through the fault of the Scribe, or by someone else's ignorance: it may also be that it came out of the margin by means of the abbreviation on one of the letters, the one being yod and the other being zayin, which are very similar: But in the Syrian text the Prophet's name is not written down at all.

(f) The evangelist does not follow the prophet's words, but instead he follows the prophet's meaning, which he shows to have been fulfilled.

Matthew 27:9 f. Τότε] when they bought this field for the thirty pieces of money.

The passage here quoted is a very free adaptation of Zechariah 11:12-13,[32] Ἱερεμίου being simply a slip of the memory (comp. Augustine, de cons. ev. iii. 8, and recently Keil himself, following Calvin and the Fathers), such, however, as might readily enough occur through a reminiscence of Jeremiah 18:2. Considering that in the original Hebrew the resemblance of this latter passage to Zechariah, as above, is sufficiently close to warrant the typical mode of interpretation (Credner, Beitr. II. p. 152 f.), it is arbitrary to maintain, in the somewhat uncritical fashion of Rupert, Lyra, Maldonatus, Jansen, Clericus, Friedlieb, that Ἱερεμίου is spurious; or, on the other hand, to resort, as Origen, Euthymius Zigabenus, Kuinoel, Ewald have done, to the idea of some lost production of Jeremiah’s, or of some oral utterance that had never been committed to writing (see, above all, Calovius, who in support of this view lays great stress on ῥηθέν). As for the statement of Jerome, that he had seen the passage in a copy of Jeremiah belonging to some person at Nazareth, there can be no doubt that what he saw was an interpolation, for he also is one of those who ascribe the citation in question to Zechariah. No less arbitrary is the conjecture of Eusebius, Dem. ev. x. 4, that the Jews may have deleted the passage from Jeremiah; for though it reappears again in a certain Arabic work (Bengel, Appar. crit. p. 142), and in a Sahidic and a Coptic lectionary (see Michaelis, Bibl. IV. p. 208 ff.; Briefwechs. III. pp. 63, 89; Einleit. I. p. 264), it does so simply as an interpolation from our present passage. See Paulus, exeget. Handb. III. p. 615 ff.

According to the historical sense of Zechariah, as above, the prophet, acting in Jehovah’s name, resigns his office of shepherd over Ephraim to Ephraim’s own ruin; and having requested his wages, consisting of 30 shekels of silver, to be paid him, he casts the money, as being God’s property, into the treasury of the temple. “And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then Jehovah said to me: Cast it into the treasury, that handsome (ironically) sum of which they have thought me worthy! So I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them into the treasury that was in God’s house,” Ewald, Proph.; Bleek in the Stud. u. Krit. 1852, p. 279 ff. For we ought to read אֶל־הַיּוֹצָר, into the treasury (equivalent, as Kimchi explains, to אל האוצר, and as is actually the reading of two MSS. in Kennicott), and not אֶל־הַיּוֹצֵר, to the potter, as Matthew, in fact, also read and understood the words, though such a meaning is entirely foreign to the context in Zechariah. Comp. Hitzig, kl. Proph. p. 374. The expositors of Zechariah, who take היוֹצר in the sense of potter, have had recourse to many an unfounded and sometimes singular hypothesis. For specimens of these, see also Hengstenberg’s Christol. III. 1, p. 457 ff.; Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf. II p. 128 f.; Lange, L. J. II. p. 1494 f.; Steinmeyer, p. 105 f.; Haupt, alttest. Citate, p. 272 ff.

ἔλαβον] in Zechaiah and LXX. is the first person singular, here it is the third person plural. The liberty thus used with the terms of the quotation may be supposed to be warranted by the concluding words: καθὰ συνέταξέ μοι ὁ κύριος. Neither the original Hebrew nor the LXX. countenances the supposition that the evangelist erroneously took ἜΛΑΒΟΝ to be third person plural, like ἜΔΩΚΑΝ immediately following (in opposition to Hilgenfeld).

ΤᾺ ΤΡΙΆΚΟΝΤΑ ἈΡΓΎΡ.] meaning, according to the typical reference in Matthew, the thirty shekels brought back by Judas.

τὴν τιμὴν, κ.τ.λ.] In apposition with τὰ τριάκ. ἀργ. The words correspond more with the Hebrew than with the LXX., though in this instance too a slight liberty is taken with them, inasmuch as for אֲשֶׁר יָקַרְתִּי we have once more (comp. on ἔλαβον) the third person plural ὃν ἐτιμήσαντο, and for מֵעֲלֵיהֶם the explanatory rendering ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ. The passage then is to be rendered as follows: And they took the thirty pieces of silver—the value of the highly valued One, on whom they put their own price (middle, ἘΤΙΜΉΣΑΝΤΟ) at the instance of sons of Israel, i.e. the price of the priceless One, whose market value they fixed for themselves upon an occasion furnished by sons of Israel. The expression ΥἹῶΝ ἸΣΡΑΉΛ is the plural of category (Matthew 2:20), and is regarded as finding its historical antitype in Judas, who, Matthew 26:14 f., undertakes and carries through the shameful transaction there referred to,—he a son of Israel negotiates the sale of the Messiah of the people of Israel. In addition to what has just been observed, we would direct attention to the following details:—(1) τοῦ τετιμημένου is intended to represent the Hebrew word הַיְקָר (pretii); but the evangelist has evidently read הַיָקָר (cari, aestumati), which he refers to Jesus as being the highly valued One ΚΑΤʼ ἘΞΟΧΉΝ; nor must we fail to notice here the remarkable collocation: pretium pretiosi, i.e. τὴν ὠνὴν τοῦ παντίμου Χριστοῦ, Euthymius Zigabenus; comp. Theophylact, also Ewald. That distinguished personage, whose worth as such cannot in fact be estimated by any mere money standard (τιμή), they have actually valued (ἐτιμήσαντο) at thirty shekels! To take the τοῦ τετιμημ. merely in the sense of ὃν ἐτιμής. (of the valued one, him whom they have valued), as the majority of expositors do (including even yet de Wette, Lange, and Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf. II. p. 130), instead of expressing the idea in a more forcible manner, would simply produce, especially after τ. τιμήν, a tautological redundancy. (2) The subject of ἐτιμήσαντο is the same as that of ἔλαβον, namely, the high priests; nor is the verb to be taken in the sense of estimating highly, as in the case of τετιμημ., but in that of valuing, putting a price upon, the sense in which it is used in Isaiah 55:2, and very frequently by classical writers, and in which the Hebrew יָקַרְתִּי is intended to be understood. (3) ἈΠῸ ΥἹῶΝ ἸΣΡ., which is a more definite rendering of the מעליהם of the original, must necessarily be connected, like its corresponding Hebrew expression, with ἘΤΙΜΉΣΑΝΤΟ, and not with ἜΛΑΒΟΝ (Fritzsche, Hilgenfeld), nor with ΤΟῦ ΤΕΤΙΜΗΜ. (which de Wette considers possible), and be understood as denoting origin, i.e. as denoting, in our present passage, the occasion brought about by some one (comp. also Bleek) in connection with which the ἘΤΙΜΉΣΑΝΤΟ took place; “ἈΠΌ de eo ponitur, quod praebet occasionem vel opportunitatem, ut aliquid fieri possit,” Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 549 A; comp. Kühner, II. 1, p. 396; similarly xi. 19; see also Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 194. They were indebted to the sons of Israel (Judas, see above) for that which suggested and led to the ἘΤΙΜΉΣΑΝΤΟ. We cannot approve of the course which some adopt of supplying ΤΙΝΈς: equivalent to ΟἹ ἸΣΡΑΗΛῖΤΑΙ (Euthymius Zigabenus), or “qui sunt ex filiis Israel” (Beza, Grotius, Maldonatus, Paulus, Kuinoel, Ewald, de Wette, Grimm, Anger), thus making ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσρ. the subject of ἐτιμής. In that case, the ordinary ἐκ (comp. Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 138 [E. T. 158]) would have been used (as in Matthew 23:34; John 16:17, al.), and instead of υἱῶν we should have had τῶν υἱῶν, inasmuch as the whole community would be intended to which the τινές are supposed to belong. Comp. also 1Ma 7:33, 3Ma 1:8, where, though ἀπό is the preposition used, the article is conjoined with the substantive following. The absence of the article here is likewise unfavourable to the views of Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf. II. p. 131, who, taking ἈΠΌ to mean on the part of, interprets thus: “What Caiaphas and Judas did (ἐτιμήσαντο), was done indirectly by the whole nation.” To explain ἈΠΌ as others have done, by assuming the idea of purchase in connection with it (Castalio: “quem licitati emerunt ab Israelitis,” comp. Erasmus, Luther, Vatablus, Jansen, Lange), is not only arbitrary, inasmuch as the idea involved in ἐτιμήσαντο does not justify the supposed pregnant force of ἀπό (Buttmann, p. 276 [E. T. 322]), but is incompatible with the מעל of the original. No less inconsistent with the original is the explanation of Baumgarten-Crusius: “whom they had valued from among the children of Israel,” that is to say, “which they had fixed as the price of one of the children of Israel.” In that case, again, we should have required the article along with ΥἹῶΝ; and, besides, what a poor designation of the Messiah would be the result of such an interpretation! With an equal disregard of the terms of the passage, Linder maintains, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1859, p. 513, that ἀπό is equivalent to τινὰ ἐκ: as an Israelite (whom they treated like a slave); and to the same effect is the explanation of Steinmeyer, p. 107: whom they have valued in the name of the nation. Neither the simple ἀπό nor the anarthrous υἱῶν Ἰσρ. admits of being so understood, although Hilgenfeld is also of opinion that our passage meant to describe the betrayal as an act for which the whole body of the Jewish people was to be held responsible. Matthew 27:10. ΚΑῚ ἜΔΩΚΑΝ ΑὐΤᾺ ΕἸς ΤῸΝ ἈΓΡῸΝ ΤΟῦ ΚΕΡΑΜ.] Zech., as above, וְוַישְׁלִךְ אוֹתוֹ בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֶל הַיּוֹצֵר. But, inasmuch as the important matter here was the purchase of the potter’s field, Matthew leaves בית יהוה entirely out of view, takes יוֹצֵר in the sense of potter (see, on the other hand, on Matthew 27:9 above), and, in order that אֶל הַיּוֹצֵר may fully harmonize with a typical and prophetic view of the passage, he paraphrases the words thus: εἰς τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως, where εἰς is intended to express the destined object of the thing: for the purpose of acquiring the field belonging to the potter.

καθὰ συνέταξέ μοι κύριος] corresponds to Zechariah’s וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי, Matthew 27:13, the words employed by the prophet when he asserts that in casting the shekels into the treasury of the temple he did so in obedience to the command of God. In accordance with the typical reference ascribed to the passage by Matthew, the words “according to that which the Lord commanded me” are so applied as to express the idea that the using of the traitor’s reward for the purpose of buying the potter’s field was simply giving effect to the decree of Him from whom the prophet had received the command in question. That which God had commissioned the prophet (μοι) to do with the thirty pieces of silver is done in the antitypical fulfilment of the prophecy by the high priests, who thus carry out the divine decree above referred to. Καθά, just as (Xen. Mem. iv. 6. 5; Polyb. iii. 107. 10; Lucian, Cont. 24; Diod. Sic. i. 36; in classical Greek ΚΑΘΆΠΕΡ is usually employed), occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is quite possible that the words used in the Hebrew original of Matthew were בַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר or בַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה, which in the LXX. are likewise rendered by ΚΑΘᾺ ΣΥΝΈΤΑΞΕ, Exodus 9:12; Exodus 40:25; Numbers 8:3.

[32] If the evangelist had meant to combine two different predictions (Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf. II. p. 128 f.; Haupt, alttest. Citate, p. 286 ff.), then, according to the analogy of Matthew 2:23, we should have expected the words διὰ τῶν προφητῶν to be used. But, in short, our quotation belongs so exclusively to Zechariah, that candour forbids the idea of a combination with Jeremiah 18, as well as the view adopted by Hengstenberg (comp. Grotius), that Zechariah reproduces the prediction of Jeremiah. For a detailed enumeration of the various attempts that have been made to deal with the inaccurate use of Ἱερεμίου, consult Morison, who follows Clericus in holding that there must have been a transcriber’s error in the very earliest copy of our Gospel.

Matthew 27:9-10. Prophetic reference, τότε, as in Matthew 2:17, not ἵνα or ὅπως.—διὰ Ἰερεμίου, by Jeremiah, in reality by Zechariah (Zechariah 11:13), the reference to Jeremiah probably due to there being somewhat similar texts in that prophet (Jeremiah 18:2-3, Jeremiah 32:6-15) running in the evangelist’s mind. A petty error. More serious is the question whether this is not a case of prophecy creating “facts,” whether the whole story here told is not a legend growing out of the O. T. text quoted. So Brandt, who thinks the betrayal the only fact in the story of Judas, all the rest legendary (E. G., p. 11). The truth rather seems to be that facts, historical traditions, suggested texts which otherwise would never have been thought of. This may be inferred from the manipulation necessary to make the prophecy correspond to the facts: ἔλαβον, 1st person singular in Sept[149], 3rd person plural here = they took; the expression “the children of Israel” introduced with apparent intention to make the nation responsible for the betrayal; the substitution of the phrase “the field of the potter” for “the house of the Lord”. And after all the manipulation how different the circumstances in the two cases! In the one case it is the prophet himself, valued at a petty sum, who cast his price into the House of the Lord; in the other, it is the priests, who bought the life of the prophet of Nazareth for a small sum, who give the money for a potter’s field. The only real point of resemblance is the small value set upon a prophet in either case. It is a most unsatisfactory instance of prophetic fulfilment, almost as much so as that in Matthew 2:23. But its very un-satisfactoriness makes for the historicity of the story. That the prophetic text, once associated with the story in the minds of believers, reacted on the manner of telling it, e.g., as to the weighing of the price (Matthew 26:15), and the casting of the money into the holy place (Matthew 27:5), is conceivable.

[149] Septuagint.

9. that which was spoken by Jeremie the prophet] The citation is from Zechariah 11:13, but neither the Hebrew nor the LXX. version is followed exactly. The Hebrew literally translated is: “And Jehovah said to me, ‘Cast it unto the potter,’ a goodly price that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter in the house of Jehovah.” Zechariah, under the image of a shepherd, refuses any longer to lead the disobedient and divided flock, and asks for the price of his hire, which he then casts into the treasury. The discrepancy is probably due to the citation being made from memory. The ascription of the words to Jeremiah instead of to Zechariah may be assigned to the same cause, or explained, with Lightfoot (Hor. Hebr. ad loc.), by supposing that Jeremiah, who begins the Book of the Prophets in the Hebrew Canon, is intended to indicate the whole of that division of the Scriptures.

Matthew 27:9. Τοῦ προφήτου, κ.τ.λ., the prophet, etc.) These words are clearly found in Zechariah, whose writings were well known to St Matthew; see ch. Matthew 21:4-5; cf. App. Crit.[1175] p. 493 (Ed. ii. pp. 141, 142).—καὶ ἔλαβον, κ.τ.λ., and they took, etc.) In Zechariah 11:12-13, the LXX. have καὶ ερῶ πρὸς αὐτοὺς, εἰ καλὸν ἐνώπιον ὑμῶν ἐστι, δότε στήσαντες[1176] τὸν μισθόν μου, ἢ ἀπείπασθε· καὶ ἔστησαν τὸν μισθόν μου τριάκοντα ἀργυροῦς, καὶ εἶπε Κύριος πρός με· κάθες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ χωνευτήριον, καὶ σκέψομαι αὐτὸ, εἰ δοκιμόν ἐστιν, ὅν τρόπον ἐδοκιμάσθην ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν. καὶ ἔλαβον τοὺς τριάκοντα ἀργυροῦς, καὶ ἐνέβαλον αὐτοὺς εἰς οἶκον Κυρίου εἰς τὸ χωνευτήριονAnd I will say unto them, if it is good in your sight, weigh and give me my price, or else refuse it; and they weighed my price, thirty silver pieces. And the Lord said unto me, Cast them into the melting furnace, and I will assay it (whether it be good) in the same manner that I was assayed by them. And I took the thirty silver pieces, and cast them into the house of the Lord, into the melting furnace. The Evangelist regards the scope of the matter, and adds a paraphrase.—τὴν τιμὴν τοῦ τετιμημένου, ὅν ἐτιμήσαντο, the value of Him that was valued, whom they valued) The force of the words is great.—ὁ τετιμημένοςהַיְּקָר, precious, although in the Hebrew Bible it is הַיְקָר, a price; see Louis de Dieu.—ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραὴλ, from the children of Israel, or of the children of Israel) cf. Zechariah 11:13מעליחם, of them. The preposition ἈΠῸ, from, may be construed either with ἒλαβον, they received—or rather with ἘΤΙΜΉΣΑΝΤΟ, they valued. The Chief Priests, as much as in them lay, alienated Christ from the children of Israel.

[1175] E. M. has’ Ἰερεμίου.

[1176] The Vatican MS. omits the word στήσαντες.—(I. B.)

Beng. shows, in his Apparatus, Ed. ii., p. 141, 142, 493, that the word Ἰερεμίου is a gloss, and that many modern writers wish to expunge it.—Not. Crit.

But the oldest authorities are against the omission. B reads Ἱερεμίου. A and C corrected, Ἱηρεμίου. Hil. 747, Vulg. and c, and MSS. quoted in Origen, Euseb., and Jerome, read Jeremiah. It is only the later Syr. in the margin, and other recent authorities, read Ζαχαρίου. ab, however, support the omission of Jeremiah or Zechariah, as Beng. would read. Comp. Jeremiah 18:2. The quotation is not literatim from Zech.: Jeremiah 18:1-2, and Jeremiah 32:6-12, may have also been in the mind of Matthew. This may account for the presence of the name Ἱερεμίου. Lightfoot thinks that the 3d division of Scripture, the Prophets, began with Jeremiah; and that the whole body of the prophets is thus quoted by the name Jeremiah, he refers to B. Bathra and D. Kimchi.—ED.

Verse 9. - Spoken by Jeremy the prophet. The prophecy, which St. Matthew says was fulfilled by the use made of Judas's pieces of silver, is found, not in Jeremiah, as we now possess his text, but, with some variations, in Zechariah 11:12, 13. It must be noted, however, that, though the passage in Zechariah has many remarkable affinities to the quotation in our evangelist's history, it is not. identical with it. In the prophet's vision there is no mention of the field, and the money is to be "cast to the potter in the house of the Lord." The Septuagint Version gives a very different reading, "Lay them in the foundry [or, 'furnace'], and I will see if it is approved, as I was approved for their sakes." And the last part of our quotation is hardly a representation of the Hebrew, "Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was prised at of them." In the face of these discrepancies, it is supposed by many that St. Matthew had in his mind some utterance of Jeremiah not now extant; but if, as most expositors affirm, he was citing, more or less accurately, the words of Zechariah, we have to account for their being attributed to a wrong author. Of this difficulty, as it is considered, many solutions are offered. For instance:

(1) The evangelist added no name to "the prophet;" and a scribe, hazily remembering the transaction in Jeremiah 32:6, etc., interpolated the word "Jeremiah." It is true that the Syriac omits "Jeremiah," but all other versions, and nearly all the Greek manuscripts, insert it; so there can be no reasonable doubt that it existed in the original text.

(2) The two words written abbreviated thus, Ζριου, Ιμιου, might be easily mistaken.

(3) The evangelist fell into error, by oversight or lapse of memory, as is supposed to be the ease in Mark 2:26 and Acts 7:4, 16.

(4) The last chapters of Zechariah were really the composition of Jeremiah.

(5) Jeremiah, being set at the head of the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, gave his name to all the writings following, which were cited indiscriminately as the utterances of Jeremiah.

(6) St. Matthew has made (as in Matthew 2:23, and so Mark 1:2, 3) a cento of passages derived from Jeremiah 18:2, etc.; Jeremiah 19:1, 2; 32:8-14, combined with the prediction in Zechariah, and attributed the passage thus formed to the most celebrated prophet. Plainly the evangelist has not confined himself to the actual words of his author or authors, but has written a Targum thereon, being divinely guided to see in the present transaction a fulfilment of an obscure announcement and prefiguration in olden days There are many other solutions proposed, with which we need not concern ourselves; the one last stated is reasonable, and may be adopted safely by those simple Christians who believe that the writers of the Bible were supernaturally preserved from errors, not only in doctrine and precept and fact, but also in chronology, grammar, geography, citation, etc. The whole difficulty is of little importance, and too much has been made of what, alter all, may be simply an erratum perpetuated from an ancient copy. They took (ἔλαβον, which might mean, "I took," as in Zechariah). In the prophecy it is the despised Shepherd who casts the money to the potter; but "gave" in the next clause is plural. The price of him that was valued (priced), whom they of the children of Israel did value (price) (ο{ν ἐτιμήσαντο ἀπὸ υἱῶν, Ἰσραήλ). The Authorized Version supplies οἱ before ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ. The Revised Version supplies τινες, "whom certain of the children of Israel did price." The words are ironical, answering to the prophet's expression, "the goodly price that I was prised at of them"! The preposition ἀπὸ may be rendered "on the part of;" so the evangelist means that the priests offered this mean price for the Shepherd at the instigation of, at the instance of, the children of Israel, who thus shared in and authorized the iniquitous transaction. Matthew 27:9
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