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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Potter

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POTTER.—‘The Potter’s Field’ was the name of the property in the purchase of which the chief priests spent the thirty pieces of silver returned by Judas, and which they proposed to use as a burial-place for strangers (Matthew 27:7). Matthew 27:8 states that this spot came in consequence to be known as ‘the field of blood—that is, the field bought with the price of blood; but a different reason for that name is given in Acts 1:18-19, where Judas himself purchases the field, and commits suicide in it. The ‘field of blood,’ or Akeldama (חֲקֵל דְּמָא), is generally identified with a spot in which there are numerous tombs, and where also clay is found, lying to the south of Jerusalem, in the valley of Hinnom, not far from the point where it joins the valley of the Kidron (Baedeker, p. 103). St. Matthew believes that this incident of the purchase of the field happened in fulfilment of Zechariah 11:12-13; which he reads as a prediction, and ascribes to Jeremiah. This may be a mere slip due to the mention in the Book of Jeremiah of the potter’s house (Jeremiah 18:2) and the Potsherd Gate (Jeremiah 19:2), just as in Jeremiah 27:1 Jehoiakim is a slip for Zedekiah. Or, as Mede (d. 1638) supposed, Jeremiah may actually have been the author of these chapters. It is agreed that they are not by Zechariah. Although, however, there is no doubt that St. Matthew has this passage in his mind, his citation of it is quite free, and diverges largely from the Hebrew, and even more from the Greek, in which v. 13 becomes an injunction to throw the silver into the smelting-pit (χωνεντήριον, thus reading some derivative of יָצַק or of צָרַף) in order to prove whether it were genuine. Neither does the Targum come any nearer to the text of Matthew. The Syr. [Note: Syriac.] of Zech. instead of ‘potter’ (יוצר) reads ‘treasury’ (אוצר), which is generally accepted as correct.

Literature.—Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible , artt. ‘Potter,’ ‘Akeldama’; Edersheim, LT [Note: T Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah [Edersheim].] ii. 575 f. The difficulties of Matthew 27:7-10 are discussed with especial fulness in the Comm. of Meyer and Morison.

T. H. Weir.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Potter'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/p/potter.html. 1906-1918.

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