On the “Contradictions” of the Death of Judas

[BA-Contradictions] Death of Judas
by Calvin Limuel

I think you’ve heard much about this confusing so-called “contradiction” about Judas’ death. So let’s see our two sources of confusion:

Matthew 27:5 (NIV)

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.


Acts 1:18 (NIV)

With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.

If you compare these two verses, you will find two differences:

  1. How Judas died; hanged or fell and caused his body burst open.
  2. Did Judas use his thirty silver coins to buy the field, or throw it into the temple instead?

For point no. 1, you won’t have any trouble to figure it out. Judas hung himself and then, maybe because he hung himself using a rope, and he tied the rope to a branch of a tree (there shouldn’t be a pull-up bars in an empty field, right?), then either the rope or the branch fractured, so he fell headlong (prênês = prone position) and his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. What other cause that would result human intestine bursting out?

But for point 2, how should it be explained?

This explanation applies to both point 1 and 2. Matthew 27:1-10 was written as a narrative passage, chronological, while Acts 1:18-19 was written as a side report. Matthew wrote exactly of what was happening, chronologically, but Luke wrote it of what was known.

Acts 1:19

Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.

People knew things after Judas fell down, and after the field was bought, and after it was named Akeldama.

Aside of that, if you examine the Gospel book according to Matthew, Matthew focused on fulfilled prophecies.

Matthew 27:9-10

9Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

— See Zech. 11:12,13; Jer. 19:1-13; 32:6-9.

So the best explanation for it, is Judas really threw the money away, then died at a field. Then the chief priests bought the field. But it was kept discreet, people know that the field was bought but by whom is the question. So they assumed that Judas is the one who bought the field and died there. I think the Bible wants to show us how wicked the Sanhedrin men are. Read Matthew 28:11-15.


So I hope that has cleared your confusion. I would like to receive more question about things you don’t understand about the Bible! Post them into the comment section below and I’d gladly do my best to answer it by the grace of God!


Calvin Limuel

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