30 pieces of silver

by leaving_quietly 11 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • leaving_quietly

    Zechariah 11:12,13 is viewed as a prophecy pertaining to Judas, and fufilled at Matt 26:14-16 and Matt 27:9. Judas, as we know, sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. I noticed something when reading the verses in Zechariah, though. Judas sold out and betrayed Jesus, however Zechariah is a prophecy being spoken by Jehovah and pertaining to himself.

    vs 12: "Then I said to them:" Who is the "I"? Further up in verse 6: "is the utterance of Jehovah."

    vs 13: "At that, Jehovah said to me: “Throw it to the treasury—the majestic value with which I have been valued from their standpoint.” Accordingly I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw it into the treasury at the house of Jehovah."

    Who did Judas betray? And who attributed that betrayal to himself?

  • John Kesler
    John Kesler

    NT writers employed a different hermaneutic than moderns do--one that freely takes verses out of context and applies them to different situations--so there will not always be a direct correspondence between texts. It's also possible that Matthew, in his eagerness to connect Jesus to another OT "prophecy," made up the amount. Note that Matthew alone gives the amount as thirty pieces of silver:

    Mark 14:10-1110 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

    Luke 22:3-6
    3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; 4 he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. 5 They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.

    Matthew 26:14-16
    14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, "What will you give me if I betray him to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
  • Christ Alone
    Christ Alone

    John, I've noticed that hermeneutical difference too. Sometimes it seemed like they were taking two unrelated events and sticking them together in a way that we would never dream of doing today.

  • Bobcat

    In regard to Zech chapter 11, commentator George L. Klein (NAC, Zechariah, p.311) said:

    Zechariah 11 may be the most difficult and controversial chapter of the entire book. In a famous comment, S. R. Driver took this point one step further, claiming that Zech 11:4-17 stands as the most enigmatic passage in the whole Old Testament. For instance, distinguishing between figuative and non-figurative language presents significant challanges in chap. 11. Identifying the appropriate topics and points of comparison in the chapter's various metaphors, whether trees or shepherds, is also extremely difficult. In many cases, locating specific historical references to Zechariah's proclamation in chap. 11 proves exceedingly trying as well.

    Klein surveys some of the main viewpoints from which the chapter is analysed by commentators. Then, with regard to verses 4-17, he provides this opening survey of what the material presents in general:

    Zechariah 11:4-17 unfolds with three distinct movements. First, vv. 4-6 introduce the righteous shepherd. In this subsection, those who spurn righteousness reject the shepherd, thus invoking the wrath of God. Second, vv. 7-14 overview the flock's rejection of their shepherd and the breaking of the symbolic staffs, "Favor" and "Union," symbolizing the breach of the covenant between the Lord and his people as well as the rupture between Judah and Israel. This second section also clarifies the reason for the judgment described in 11:1-3, the people's rejection of the righteous shepherd. Finally, vv. 15-17 conclude on the somber note of a new shepherd, a worthless shepherd whose unrighteousnes and lack of care for the flock results in the decimation of God's people.

    Then, when arriving at the commentary starting with verse 7 (the second section of 11:4-17), Klein states:

    Verse 7 begins with the affirmation that the shepherd - none other than the prophet Zechariah - did indeed assume the role of shepherd as the Lord had instructed him, though in a symbolic fashion. As the shepherd, Zechariah may have prefigured the messianic King who would provide the consumation of the Lord's promises.

    With regard to verse 12 he says:

    Verse 12 overviews the final severance of the employment between the shepherd, portrayed by Zechariah, and the people he sought to lead back to God. The request for pay leads to the final transaction when terminating their relationship. The shepherd's desire for money only partially provides his motivation. Rather, the shepherd sought to underscore the finality of the broken relationship between himself and the nation, and symbolically between the Lord and Judah. The price, 30 pieces of silver, represents the lowly price a slave was worth in the earliest era in Israel's history (Exodus 21:32). the money the shepherd received was tantamount to slave wages. The exchange drips with the people's disdain for their estimation of the value of the shepherd. His value to the entire nation did not even surpass the worth of one slave to a single family. The monetary value ascribed to the shepherd forcefully spoke of the trifling attitude of the nation to their shepherd and their God who had sent him.

    I only copied small parts of a very voluminous commentary on this, but I tried to copy enough to help get a drift of the passage. Klein sees it as actions taken towards the shepherd whom Zechariah is portraying. But at the same time, the attitude shown the shepherd is representative of the nation's attitude towards God. This view can be seen in several passages in the NT where Christ attributes the nation's view of himself, and their treatment of his disciples, as their not knowing the God that sent him. (Off hand I can't recall the location of specific passages.) Something similar can also be seen in regard to Samuel, when the people requested a human king. Samuel saw it as a rejection of himself, but God said they were really rejecting Him. (1 Sam 8:1-9)

    Hope this is some help in your analysis.

    Take Care

  • leaving_quietly

    Wow! Thanks everyone. This is more than I was expecting. Spurned me onto further research. There's only a tiny amount in WT publications that explain this in any detail.

    I was actually more interested in the use of "Jehovah" in Zecharaiah, since it was Jesus who was betrayed in Mattew. I also found this reference, which explains:

    (4) The insulting rejection of Christ (as indicated by such a paltry amount) was a reflection of the Jews’ attitude toward Jehovah himself. As the Lord said through Zechariah, “Cast it to the potter, the goodly price [strong irony] that I was prized at by them.” These words find stark fulfillment in the Savior’s warning, “he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).


    Yep, that reference used Jehovah's name. How 'bout that.

  • fakesmile

    it has been said that every man has his price...but due to a government mixup, many people have their neighbors price.i would have outbid jewdas. i would have sold out a person who hears voices for 20 silver pieces. i might have even gone down to 15 and a widows mite. judas deserved to die. he was a disgrace. had he been a real jew; he would have gotten a better deal.

  • Bobcat


    Yep, that reference used Jehovah's name. How 'bout that.

    The NAC series of commentaries and NICOT not uncommonly use "Yahweh" within their commentary. But the practice varies somewhat between individual commentators. The NAC uses the NIV translation as a starting place, which uses "LORD" for the Tetragram. But often within the body of the commentary you will find the Divine Name, always rendered "Yahweh" from what I've seen.

    The NICOT series (New International Commentary of the OT) uses the personal translation of the particular commentator doing that Bible book. From what I've seen, they always translate the Tetragram as "Yahweh." But I haven't seen the entire NICOT series to know if this happens across the board.

    Incidentally, if you are looking for extra research material, an academic commentary will often fit the bill. You can usually get them for individual Bible books. The academic ones often go to pains to present all the diverse viewpoints that exist for a given passage. They also usually give variant renderings of the particular text in question and are chock full of footnotes with source material. Sometimes the footnotes are so voluminous as to make it difficult just to get the flow of the commentary.

    I like the NICOT series for its thoroughness and personal translation that it offers. The NAC series is often more recent, and thus, is more aware of recent ideas and discoveries. Not always though. The NAC can also be found more economically on sites such as ChristianBook.Com. That is a definite consideration for me.

    Sometimes a single volume OT or NT commentary serves as a way to get an overview of a passage, and from there a more thorough commentary can explore the particulars.

    Just to give you an example of what is available (in comparison with the WT):

    In connection with Daniel 6:28, the NAC commentary on Daniel offers a several page discussion of the subject of who Darius was. It lists all the major ideas offered, but it concentrates on the two main ideas: (1) That Darius was Cyrus, (2) That Darius was Gobryas.

    The Darius=Cyrus discussion occupies about a page and a half of text. The Darius=Gobryas discussion occupies a little less. The commentator leaves the discussion with the thought that there is slightly more evidence favoring Cyrus, but that the question is still open to research and future findings.

    In comparison, the Insight Book, discussing the same topic, has all the material/arguments that the NAC has favoring Gobryas - right down line - almost like they copied the discussion from the same source as the NAC. But when it comes to the idea of Darius=Cyrus, the Insight Book has a single brief paragraph that basically dismisses the idea out-of-hand. (Which, incidentally, the same "evidence" that the Insight uses to dismiss the idea, the NAC uses and expands on as part of the evidence that Darius=Cyrus.)

    Comparing WT commentary with 'outside' commentary has left me with the definite impression that WT material is heavily filtered. And they often don't even bother to give any reasoning; they simply tell you what they want you to 'know,' relying on their 'authority' to ingrain an idea in you. Non-WT commentaries also suffer from the author's personal bias to some extent, but they are also far more open with regard to reasons given and allowing you to see divergant opinions without the judgmental overtones you find in the WT. And their use of footnotes and freely citing source material puts the WT to shame and exposes them as amateur journalists. The WT definitely has good reason for not wanting JWs to look at any outside material.

    At any rate, I hope this info is of some use to you.

    Take Care

  • mP

    The Bible is full of astrology. 30 is of course a reference to the days of the month, 12 is the month count for the year and 7 are the visible heavenly bodies(planets + moon). Silver was a popular reference to the moon, just as gold is for the SUn. Its of course no wonder that these numbers are extremely popular in the Bible. If you read the supernatural text literally you will see that its a perfect fit for the sun, eg coming in clouds, i am the light etc. Darkness is evil or the anti thesis of light.

  • unstopableravens

    jehovah is a name that is used for father and son, jesus is jehovah its clear compare jer17:10 to rev 2:23 look at zech 12:10 in the ref bible to me whom they pireced . phil 2:11 jesus is "lord" the same word for lord as rev 1:8 that is translated as jehovah, so phil 2:11 if translated the same as rev1:8 would say jesus is jehovah to the glory of the father. its so easy to see that jesus is not a creation but the creator!

  • designs

    The New Testament and particularly the 4 Gospels are a clever propaganda ploy by Roman sympathizers.

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