IS MATTHEW 27:9 A MISTAKE?
by Shawn Brasseaux
The Bible critic is always eager to find a “mistake” in Scripture. Take Matthew 27:9, for example: “ 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;  And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.” Immediately, the Bible critic says, “Matthew attributes the quote to Jeremiah when it was really Zechariah who wrote it!” It appears to be very embarrassing for the Bible believer indeed. But, if we look closely, it is the Bible critic, not the believer, who should be nervous. The Bible critic misread the verse!
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AN INTERESTING STORY
A few years ago, I spoke with a seminary-trained Doctor-of-Philosophy pastor about his error-filled Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (the Greek N.T. from which modern English versions are translated). He was quite startled that someone—half his age and half his education—had given him a friendly warning that his Greek Bible was unsound. I approached him in a very cordial manner. He was equally friendly… at first, anyway.
As our discussion moved from introductory remarks to “deeper things,” I took his Greek Bible and found Mark 1:2. While I did not know much Greek at the time, I was able to navigate through it and find what I needed. It claimed that Isaiah the prophet had written the quote. I told him that his so-called “bible” was not true. We could search Isaiah and not find that quote. Malachi the prophet had written the quote, so we could find that quote in Malachi. Mark 1:3 was from Isaiah, but verse 2 was from Malachi. Even the marginal notes supported my comments. I told him that we had two options: (1) The Holy Spirit had made a mistake when moving Mark to write his Gospel record, or (2) Our book of Isaiah was incomplete because it was missing the verse that Mark claimed Isaiah had written. Furthermore, I pointed out that the King James Bible—and its underlying Greek text (Majority Text / Textus Receptus)—had the correct reading for Mark 1:2—“the prophets” (as in Malachi and Isaiah).
His rebuttal was three-fold: (1) “So you are a ‘Textus Receptus / Majority Text’ man?,” (2) “We do not even have what Mark wrote anyway!”, and (3) “If Mark 1:2 is wrong, then Matthew 27:9 is wrong too!” (What else do we expect from someone who spent years in Bible cemetery being taught by unbelieving “scholars?”) Friends, his point was to make his Greek New Testament not seem so bad. Of course, I was not the least bit surprised that some “Jesus-loving, Bible-believing-and-preaching, Evangelical/Protestant, scholarly” (?) pastor was not open to correction. He had been so polluted by “higher education” that he cleverly attacked the very Book he claimed to honor and preach at his local church! Let us evaluate the claims of the “good doctor,” and see if he was, along with his other Bible critic friends, correct in condemning Matthew 27:9 as “a mistake.” (We will talk about Mark 1:2 later in this study.)
OUR CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF MATTHEW 27:9
Matthew chapter 27: “ And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.  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.  And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.  Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.  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;  And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.”
Like the seminary-trained preacher or Bible teacher, the unbelieving Bible critic will gleefully point out that “Jeremy” (Greek form of the Hebrew, Jeremiah) did not write anything like Matthew 27:9-10. In fact, the critic revels in the fact that the quote is really from the book of Zechariah. Certainly, Zechariah 11:12-13 reads similarly to Matthew 27:9-10. Certainly, nothing similar can be found in the book of Jeremiah. So why did Matthew credit Jeremiah (Jeremy) when it was really Zechariah wrote it? You do not need a theology degree to understand it, my friend!
Friend, let me ask you a question a small child could answer. Is there a difference between the word “speaking” and the word “writing?” Is talking in an audible voice the same as using a writing instrument to pen something on paper? Of course not! Bible critics do not use such common sense when evaluating the Bible. Matthew never claimed that Jeremiah (Jeremy) “wrote” the expression! Please read Matthew 27:9, this time very carefully: “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet,….” If this verse read, “written by Jeremy the prophet,” certainly the Bible would have a mistake. But, the verse said that Jeremy “spoke” the prophecy. Jeremiah lived over a half-century before Zechariah. Whatever God the Holy Spirit led Jeremiah to preach audibly, He did not lead Jeremiah to write in his book (Jeremiah). During Zechariah’s preaching and writing ministry years later, the Holy Spirit moved him to write in his book, Zechariah, the prophecy that Jeremiah preached audibly decades earlier. Zechariah actually put the prophecy down in writing. Jeremiah merely communicated it using his voice years earlier. Bear with me as I explain the logic behind this a bit further.
Re-reading Matthew 27:7-10: “ And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.  Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.  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;  And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.”
The price for which Judas betrayed Jesus, was not written in Jeremiah’s day. Jeremiah audibly preached this prophecy about 600 B.C. but he did not write it down. Many decades later, the Holy Spirit moved Zechariah to write what Jeremiah had preached earlier. Hence, Matthew attributes the quote to Jeremiah rather than to Zechariah. In fact, a careful reading of Zechariah 11:12-13 shows us that it is not quoted word-for-word in Matthew 27:9-10. Matthew is really quoting the audible words of Jeremiah, which the Holy Spirit had brought to Matthew’s mind.
Let me show you Zechariah 11:12-13: “ 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 prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.” And, again, Matthew 27:9-10, for sake of comparison: “ 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;  And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.”
Zechariah 11:12-13 is JEHOVAH God speaking to Zechariah, that He later had Zechariah write. Matthew 27:9-10, however, is what Jeremiah preached audibly and the Holy Spirit did not move him to write it down.
THE READING OF MATTHEW 27:9 IN NO WAY JUSTIFIES THE ERRONEOUS READING OF NESTLE-ALAND IN MARK 1:2
For the modern-version users and their companion “Nestle-Aland-Greekophiles,” to flee to Matthew 27:9-10 to justify the error in Mark 1:2 in their manuscripts and versions, is futile. They are comparing two unrelated cases of handling Old Testament quotes. Their explanation is just as dishonest as their texts. They are comparing “apples to oranges.” Let me show you.
In both the King James Bible (and its underlying Textus Receptus) and the modern English versions (and their underlying Nestle-Aland Critical Text), the term in Mark 1:2 is “written.”
King James: “As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
NIV: “as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way’—”
The NIV, the other modern versions, and their underlying manuscripts claim that Isaiah did not merely speak that prophecy. They declare Isaiah “wrote” the prophecy. This is 100 percent wrong, no matter what language we speak or write. You can search the book of Isaiah in every language for the rest of eternity, and never—in the King James manuscripts or some other manuscript—find anything like Mark 1:2 in it. Isaiah never wrote, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
Our “hard-to-read, archaic, unscholarly” King James Bible has the correct reading. Mark is quoting two prophets. Verse 2 is from Malachi (3:1) and verse 3 is from Isaiah (40:3). Tell me, my friend, does “Malachi + Isaiah = Isaiah?” Then why do the modern versions have this glaring error? Because they are looking at worthless manuscript readings, not so much interested in getting the right reading but rather the reading their unbelieving minds prefer. No lost person wants God’s Word to read correctly anyway. They want to discredit it, silence its condemning voice, ease their consciences, et cetera. They want to be their own authority so they plan on never submitting to a mere book, especially God’s Book!!!! (To use a little common sense and say “Malachi + Isaiah = the prophets” means admitting the King James Bible is proven superior with just one verse, and their “prestigious versions they translated” are manifested as completely worthless! These “scholars” have been touting their modern Alexandrian Critical Text as superior to the King James, and they have no interest in admitting they have been wrong for all these centuries. They have more modern versions to produce from that corrupt Greek New Testament so they can have more products to $ell the public.)
Since Zechariah 11:12-13 and Matthew 27:9-10 read differently, that demonstrates to me that Matthew was not actually quoting Zechariah’s writing but rather Jeremiah’s (audible) preaching. Other than Matthew 27:9-10, there is no authoritative record as to what the Prophet Jeremiah preached about the 30 pieces of silver and the potter’s field (predicting Jesus Christ’s betrayal). Matthew 27:9 is vindicated and the “scholarly” critic is found defenseless. He or she once again is forced to admit that Mark 1:2 is wrong in his or her Critical Text and modern perversions! The unbelieving lost Bible critics will just have to keep searching for “mistakes,” because Matthew 27:9 is not one of them!