Why does the Bible give two conflicting accounts of Judas’s death?

WHY DOES THE BIBLE GIVE TWO CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS OF JUDAS’S DEATH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No, the Bible does not give two differing accounts of Judas’s death. What is commonly called a “mistake” is nothing than a misunderstanding. While this topic is morose and this study is somewhat graphic to some, it is worth addressing and the matter is worth settling.

The Bible critics say the following: “The Bible has mistakes. For instance, one passage says that Judas hanged himself, and another passage says that he fell and his guts burst out!” Bless their hearts, there is nothing illogical about the narrative those passages put forth. Is it not strange that Bible scoffers can speak the truth and, blinded by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), still miss it entirely? What they think is an error is actually truth in plain sight! For sake of argument, we will examine the verses to learn exactly what happened to Judas during his last moments alive on Earth.

First, Matthew chapter 27, verses 1-10: “[1] When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: [2] And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. [3] Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, [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. [5] And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. [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. [7] And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. [8] Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. [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; [10] And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.”

According to Matthew, after Jesus’ arrest and condemnation, Judas changed his mind. He returned to the Temple, to the chief priests and elders, to give them the 30 pieces of silver for which he had betrayed Jesus. They refused to take the money, deeming it “blood money.” Judas threw the coins on the ground, and the Bible says he went out and “hanged himself.”

About six weeks later, the Apostle Peter commented in Acts chapter 1: “[16] Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. [17] For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. [18] Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. [19] And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.”

Peter describes Judas, “falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.” If we simply conflate Matthew’s account and Peter’s account, it makes perfect sense. Judas hanged himself and then died. Later, the noose broke and his body violently fell headfirst, spilling all of his guts on the ground. Surely, it was a most unpleasant sight. News of it spread quickly in Jerusalem. One of Jesus’ closest friends (and His most trusted apostle) had committed suicide.

But, why did the noose break? This requires some study (scoffing is easier). Remember, not many hours after Judas hung himself outside Jerusalem, Jesus Christ died on Calvary’s cross outside Jerusalem. They died in the same general area. Matthew 27:50-51 explains: “[50] Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. [51] And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” This earthquake at Christ’s death is unique to Matthew’s gospel record. A seismic event rocked Jerusalem and the surrounding area, and the intense shaking likely caused Judas’ body to fall from its hanging position. Perhaps his body was so high up, or maybe the earthquake was so intense, something threw his body to the ground with such great force that all of his insides gushed out. Horrible!

CONCLUSION

There is no contradiction concerning Judas’ death. Judas died once, and then, after death, his corpse was mangled. Judas died by hanging and then his lifeless body fell from the noose (probably because of an earthquake). Yes, friends, a little extrapolation, a little common sense, goes a long way. May we believe the simple claims of the Bible instead of complicating them!

Also see:
» Does Matthew 19:27-28 prove Judas is in heaven?
» Was Judas forgiven?
» Who was Judas’ replacement—Matthias or Paul?

11 responses to “Why does the Bible give two conflicting accounts of Judas’s death?

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