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at its unexpected results. It was not true, saving repentance : that leads to a holy life; this led to despair and to increase of crime in his cwn death. Judas, it he had been a true penitent, would have coine to Jesus, confessed his crime at his feet, and sought for pardon there. But, overwhelmed only with remorse, and the conviction of his guilt, he sought not the offended Saviour, was not willing to come into his presence, and added to the crime of a traitor, that of a self-murderer. Assuredly such a man could no be a true penitent.
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that.
• In that I have betrayed the innocent blood.' That is, in betraying an innocent being to death. The meaning is, that he knew and fel: that Jesus was innocent. This confession is a remarkable proof that Jesus was innocent. Judas had been with him ihree years.
He had seen him in public and private; he had heard his public teaching and his private views; and if_he nad done any thing evil, or advanced any thing against the Roman emperor, Judas was competent to testify it. Had he known any such thing, he would have stated it. That he did not make such a charge—that he fully and frankly confessed that Jesus was innocent—and that he gave up the ill-gotten price of treason—is full proof, that in the beliefof Judas the Saviour
was free from crime, and even the suspicion of crime. What is that to us ? This form of speaking denoted that they had nothing to do with his remorse of conscience, and his belief that Jesus was innocent. They had secured what they wanted, the person of Jesus, and they cared little now for the feelings of the traitor. So all wicked men who make use of the agency of others for the accomplishment of crime, will care little for the effect on the instrument. They will soon cast him off, and despise him, and in thousands of instances the instruments of villany are abandoned to remorse, wretchedness, crime, and death.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
This was an evidence of his remorse of conscience for his crime. He attempted to obtain relief, by throwing back the of treason; but he attempted it in vain. The consciousness of guilt was fastened on his soul ; and Judas found, as all will find, that to cast away or abandon ill-gotten wealth will not satisfy the guilty conscience. “In the temple. The place where the san. nedrim was accustomed to sit. And went and hanged himself.' Peter says, in giving an account of the death of Jesus, Acts i. 18, that Judas, ' falling headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed" out.' Matthew records the mode in which
Judas attempted his death by hanging. Peter speaks of the
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.
The price of blood,'—that is, of the life of a man-they justly considered this an improper and unlawful offering to God. The life is in the blood. The price of blood means the price by which the life of a man had been purchased. This was an acknowledgment that in their view Jesus was innocent. They had bought him, not condemned him justly. They were scrupulous now about so small a matter, comparatively, as putting this money in the treasury, when they had no remorse about murdering an innocent being. Men are very often scrupulous in small matters who stick not at great crimes.
7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.
They consulted among themselves about the proper way to dispose of this money. And bought with them.
În Acts i. 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, that he surnished the means, or was tne occasion of purchasing the field, it was by nis means that tne field was purchased. It is very common in sacred 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 ii. 23. John xix. 1. Matt. xxvii. 59, 60. "The potter's field. The price paid for a field so near Jerusalem may appear to be very small; but probably it had been worked till the clay was exhausted, and was neither fit 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 he world to attend the great feasts at Jerusalem.
8 Wherefore that field was called the field of blood, unto this day.
• The field of blood.' The field purchased by the price of blood. The name by which this field was called was Aceldama, Acts i. 19. “To this day.' That is, to the day when Matthew
wrote this gospel, about thirty years after the field was pur. chased.
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;
The words quoted here are not to be found in the prophecy of Jeremiah. Words similar to these are recorded in Zech, xi. 12, 13, and from that place this quotation has been doubtless made. Anciently, according to the Jewish writers, Jeremiah was placed first in the Book of the Prophets; and the Old Testament being divided into three parts, the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets, the third division was called Jeremiah, because his book was placed first. Matthew, therefore, quoted the Book of the Prophets under the name of that which had the first place in the book; 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. “The price of him that was valued. 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 valne 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.
10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.
And gave them.' In Zechariah it is, I gave them. Here it is represented as being given by the priests. The meaning is not, however, different. It is, that this price was given for the potter's field.
11 1 And Jesus stood before the governor , and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
Many things are omitted by Matthew in the account of this trial, which are recorded by the other evangelists. A much more full account is found in John xviii. 28–40. 'And the governor asked him,' &c. This question was asked on account of the charge which the Jews brought against Jesus, of perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, Luke xxiii. 2. They had condemned him for blasphemy; but they well knew that Pilate would altogether disregard an accusation of that kind. They therefore attempted to substitute a totally different accusation, to procure his deaih on a false charge of treason against the Roman emperor. 'Thou sayest.' That is, thou sayest right, o; thou sayest the truth. We may wonder why the Jews did no:
upon the attention of Pilate as a full confession of his guilt. It was what they had accused him of. Jesus took away all occasion of triumph by explaining to Pilate the nature of his kingdom, John xviii. 36. Though he acknowledged that he was a king, yet he stated that his kingdom was not of this world, therefore it could not be charged upon him as treason against the Roman emperor.
12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
• When he was accused. Namely, of perverting the nation, and of forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, Luke xxiii. 2,5. Probably this was done in a tumultuous manner, and in every variety of form. ' He answered nothing.' He was conscious of his innocence. He knew that they could not prove these charges; and therefore he was silent.
13 Then saith Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee ?
• They witness against thee.' This means, rather, that they accused him. They were not witnesses, but accusers. They charged him
with exciting the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem, and exciting them to sedition, Luke xxiii. 5.
14 And he answered him to never a word ; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
"To never a word.' That is, not at all. This is an emphatic way of saying that he answered nothing. There was no need of his replying. He was innocent, and they offered no proof. “Marvelled greatly. Wondered exceedingly, or was much surprised. Pilate probably was more surprised that Jesus bore this so meekly, and did not return railing for railing, than that he did not set up a defence. The latter was annecessary; the former was unusual. The governor was not accustomed to see it, and was therefore greatly amazed.
It was at this time that Pilate sent Jesus to Herod, who was then at Jerusalem, attending the feast of the passover, Luke xxiii. 6–12. Herod, having examined him, and finding no cause of death in him, sent him back to Pilate. Pleased with the respect which had been shown him, Herod laid aside his enmity against Pilate, and they became friends.
15'T Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
See also the parallel places in Mark xv. 6–14; Luke xxiji. 17. 23. John xviii. 39, 40. At that feast.' The feast of the Passover. “The governor was wont to release,' &c. customed to release. From what this custom arose, or by whom it was introduced, is not known. It was probably adopted to
secure popularity among the Jews, and to render the government of the Romans less odious.
16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
The word 'notable' means one that is distinguished in any way, either for great virtues, or great crimes. In this place, it evidently means the latter, Luke xxiii. 19.
17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ:
Pilate was satisfied of the innocence of Jesus, Luke xxiii. 13– 16. He was therefore desirous of releasing him. He knew that Jesus, though condemned by the chief priests, was popular among the people. He therefore aitempted in this manner to rescue him from the hands of the priests, and expected that the people would. prefer him, to an infamous robber and murderer. Jesus which is called Christ.' That is, Jesus who claims to be the Messiah. Pilate used the name which Jesus had among the people, Mark, xv. 9, adds that he asked them whether they would that he should release the king of the Jews ? It is probable that he asked the question in both ways. Matthew has recorded one way in which ii was asked, and Mark another. He asked them whether they would demand him who was called the Christ, expecting that they would be moved by the claims of the Messiah, claims which, when he entered Jerusalem in triumph, and in the temple, they had acknowledged. He asked them whether they would have the king of the Jews, to ridicule the priests who had delivered him on that charge. There he stood, apparently a poor, inoffensive, unarmed, and despised man. The charge, therefore, of the priests, that he was a king opposed to the Roman emperor, was quite ridiculous; and Pilate expecting the people would see it so, hoped also that they would ask for him to be released.
18 (For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.) Envy at his popularity: he drew away the people from his
As Pilate knew this, he was bound to release Jesus himseif. As a governor and judge, he was bound to protect the innocent, and should, in spite of all the opposition of the Jews, at once have set him at liberty. But the scriptures could not thus have been fulfilled. At the same time, it shows the wisdom of the over-ruling providence of God, that he was condemned by a man who was satisfied of his innocence, and who proclaimed before his accusers his full belief that there was no fault in him,
19 | When he was set down on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to