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Verses 6-8

Matthew 27:6-8 . And the chief priests took the silver pieces They refused to receive them from Judas, for fear, perhaps, of taking thereby the whole guilt of the murder of Christ upon themselves, which they wished Judas to bear with them; but the money being thrown down in some place belonging to the temple, in the precincts of which it is probable they held their council, they took it up; but were at first at a loss to know what use to make of it. It is not lawful, said they, to put them (the pieces of silver) into the treasury: because it is the price of blood Yes, of innocent blood: and was it lawful to purchase that? We see these priests and rulers had a conscience too! but what kind of a conscience! A conscience that strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel! They scrupled deviating from a ceremonial direction of Moses, while they were knowingly and wilfully transgressing, in the most flagrant instance possible, the eternal and unchangeable laws of justice and mercy! were adjudging to an ignominious and painful death the Holy One of God! These “arch hypocrites,” says Baxter, “make conscience of ceremony, and make no conscience of perjury, persecution, and murdering the innocent! Blood they thirst for, and will give money to procure it, but the price of blood must not be consecrated!” They scruple not to give money to procure the shedding of blood, but scruple the putting that money into the treasury! they are afraid to defile the treasury, but not afraid to pollute their souls. The word κορβαναν , here rendered treasury, occurs in no other passage in the Scriptures. Josephus makes use of it, and interprets it, τον ιερον θησαυρον , the sacred treasure. It is formed from κορβαν , originally Hebrew, which also occurs but once in the Greek form, namely, Mark 7:11, and signifies that which is given, or devoted to God. The unlawfulness of putting the thirty shekels into this repository arose from this single circumstance, that it contained the treasure consecrated to God; and the priests judged that such an offering, as this price of blood, would have been as much an abomination to the Lord, as the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, which were expressly forbidden to be brought into the house of God for any vow, or offering, Deuteronomy 23:18. They took counsel and bought the potter’s field Well known, it seems, by that name; to bury strangers in Foreigners, heathen, especially, of whom there then were great numbers at Jerusalem. To purchase this field with the money, they thought would be putting it to a pious use; so holy and charitable would they be! Perhaps they thought to atone for what they had done by this public good act of providing a burying-place for strangers, though not at their own charge! Thus, in the dark times of Popery, people were made to believe that building churches, and endowing monasteries, would make amends for immoralities. Thirty pieces of silver may seem but a small price for a field so near to Jerusalem as this was. Probably the potters, by digging earth out of it for their ware, had made it useless either for tillage or pasture. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood Because it was bought with the money Judas received for betraying his Master’s life. Providence seems to have set this name upon the field to perpetuate the memory of the transaction. Jerome, who had been upon the spot, tells us that they still showed this field in his time: that it lay south of mount Zion, and that they buried there the poorest and meanest of the people. The historian’s mentioning the purchase of the potter’s field with the money for which Judas betrayed his Master, being an appeal to a very public transaction, puts the truth of this part of the history beyond all manner of exception.

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