The death of Judas

Matt. 27:3-4   Judas Iscariot hears about the death sentence and is filled with remorse. He tries to return his ‘betrayal money’ to the chief priests at the Temple, but they won’t have it (see Zechariah 11:12-13).


Matt. 27:5-10 Judas leaves the Old City, crosses the Valley of Hinnom (Hebrew, ‘Ge Hinnom’), where the smouldering fires of rubbish in 'Gehenna' had been used by Jesus as a picture of eternal punishment (Matthew 18:9), and kills himself at Akeldama (the ‘Field of Blood’) (see Acts 1:18-19 and Map 13).

The Hinnom Valley, Jerusalem
(Matthew 27:8)


This field had previously been known as the ‘Potters’ Field’ because of a seam of clay used by local potters (see Jeremiah 19:1-6).


The Valley of Hinnom

In the 6th century BC, the Valley of Hinnom (see Map 13) had been the site of Topheth (‘the fireplace’) where children were sacrificed to the god Molech. The Greek name for this valley, Gehenna, had become the common Jewish name for ‘hell’ by this time, symbolising a place of eternal punishment (see Mark 9:47 & Matthew 18:9, where the Greek word usually translated ‘hell’ is Gehenna).

While the Temple Mount was the highest point in Jerusalem (and therefore closest to God’s 'home' in the heavens), Gehenna, in contrast, was at the lowest point of the city (and therefore closest to Sheol, the ‘underworld’ or world of the dead) (see Amos 9:2 & Habakkuk 2:5).

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