Thursday, 31 January 2013
Contradictions In The Bible 3 :
How did Judas Iscariot die?
Matthew 27:3-10 records Judas's remorse at having betrayed Jesus to the Jewish
authorities. Judas first attempted to return the thirty shekels that they had paid him for
leading the temple posse to Gethsemane, where Jesus was arrested. But the priest and
temple officials refused to take the money back, since it was the price of blood and
therefore unsuitable as an offering to God. Judas therefore cast the money pouch onto the
floor of the temple treasury, departed from the city, and "hanged himself" (apenxato--the aorist middle third person singular from apancho, a verb used with that specific meaning ever since the fifth century B.C). This establishes the fact that Judas fastened a noose around his neck and jumped from the branch to which the other end of the rope was attached.
In Acts 1:18 the apostle Peter reminds the other disciples of Judas's shameful end and
the gap he left in the ranks of the Twelve, which called for another disciple to take his
place. Peter relates the following: "He therefore acquired a plot of land [chorion] from
the reward of wrongdoing. (This could mean either that Judas had already contracted with the owner of the field that he originally had wanted to buy with the betrayal money; or--as is far more likely in this context--Peter was speaking ironically, stating that Judas
acquired a piece of real estate all right, but it was only a burial plot [chorion could cover
either concept], namely, the one on which his lifeless body fell.
Acts 1:18 goes on to state: "And he, falling headlong, burst asunder, and all of his inwards gushed out." This indicates that the tree from which Judas suspended himself overhung a precipice. If the branch from which he had hung himself was dead and dry--and there are many trees that match this description even to this day on the brink of the canyon that tradition identifies as the place where Judas died--it would take only one strong gust of wind to yank the heavy corpse and split the branch to which it was attached and plunge both with great force into the bottom of the chasm below. There is indication that a strong wind arose at the hour Christ died and ripped the great curtain inside the temple from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). This was accompanied by a rock-splitting earthquake and undoubtedly also by a thunderstorm, which normally follows a prolonged period of cloud gathering and darkness (Matt. 27:45). Conditions were right for what had started out as a mere suicide by hanging to turn into a grisly mutilation of the corpse as the branch gave way to the force of the wind and was hurtled down to the bottom.
Gleason L Archer