Do Matthew and Luke Contradict the End of Judas? (T)

God willing, this Sunday morning I plan to preach from Acts 1:12-26. In verses 18-19 Luke includes details of Judas’ death in parentheses: “(Now this man bought a field with the reward for his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)”

Pretty gross.

Matthew’s account, however, seems to contradict this a bit. In Matthew 27:3-8, he wrote: “Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ They said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.’ So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.”

Not as gross, but still a bit difficult to read.

Do these contradict one another? Or is there an explanation that reconcile’s the two?

Here’s how the ESV Study Bible explains it:

“The two accounts of Judas’s death are complementary retellings of the same event, each focusing in different ways on the same details. Both accounts involve: Judas’ remorse, the purchase of a field with his ill-gotten money, its reputation as ‘the Field of Blood.’ and Judas’ gory death. . . The main difference is that Matthew speaks of Judas hanging himself, while Acts speaks of his body falling headlong and bursting open with all his entrails spilling out. One possible explanation suggests tha tthe field overlooked a cliff, and as Judas hanged himself, the rope (or the branch) may have broken, with his body falling headlong over the edge of the cliff onto jagged rocks below. Others have suggested that Judas’s body may have remained hanging for some time decaying and decomposing, eventually falling to the ground and bursting open in its decomposed condition. In either case, there is no reason to see the two accounts as contradictory, since they focus on complementary details of the same event. In both accounts the effect of Satan’s control over Judas’s life is clear, demonstrating the general principle that Satan brings total destruction and disgrace to the person who comes under his control . . .”


About pastormpearson

Follower of Jesus. Husband to Katie. Father to Luke, Seth, and Birtukan. Pastor of the First Baptist Church in El Dorado, Arkansas.

Posted on September 7, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. A horrible end to a sad life either way.

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