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Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Judas Iscariot

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Son of Simon (John 6:71; John 13:2; John 13:26). Ish Kerioth, "the man of Kerioth," in Judah (Joshua 15:25), like Ιsh Τob , "the man of Tob." This distinguishes him from the other Judas, also from the other eleven apostles who were of Galilee. He thus was connected with Judah his prototype who sold Joseph, and the Jews who delivered Jesus up to the Roman Gentiles. He obeyed the call of Jesus like the rest, probably influenced by John the Baptist's testimony and his own Messianic hopes. Sagacity in business and activity were the natural gifts which suggested the choice of him afterward as bearer of the common purse (John 12:6). He is placed last among the twelve because of his subsequent treachery; even previously he was in the group of four lowest in respect to zeal, faith, and love.

The earliest recorded hint given by Christ of his badness is in John 6:64; John 6:70, a year before the crucifixion: "some of you ... believe not; for Jesus knew from the beginning who ... believed not, and who should betray Him"; "have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil" (not merely" demon," the Greek always for the evil spirit possessing a body, but "devil," used only of Satan himself to whom Judas was now yielding himself). Yet even then repentance was not too late for Judas. Peter the foremost of the twelve had so shrunk from the cross as to be called "Satan," yet Peter recovered more than once afterward (Matthew 16:23). John, who had an instinctive repugnance to Judas, whose base selfish character was so opposite to John's own, delineates the successive stages in his fall. Jesus' many warnings against mammon love were calls to Judas while yet he had not made his fatal and final choice (Matthew 6:19-34; Matthew 13:22-23; Luke 16:11; Mark 10:25-26).

Before that crisis Judas had salvation and even a high place of honour in Christ's future kingdom within his reach. Temptation fell in his way when larger contributions were made (Luke 8:3), part of which were spent for the necessities of Jesus and the disciples traveling about with Him, and the rest given to the poor. Hence Judas, being almoner, grudged the 300 pence worth of ointment lavished by Mary on Jesus, as money which ought to have come in to him, and led some of the other disciples to join in the cry. He had no care for the poor, but for self. Censoriousness and covetousness even to theft prompted his objection (John 12:5-6). Mary spent her all to do honour to Jesus' burial; Judas, grasping at all, betrayed Him to death and burial. Her love kindled no sympathetic spark in him towards the common Lord. Hope of larger gain alone kept him from apostasy a year before (John 6:64).

Now the lost chance of the 300 pence (denarii ), vindictiveness at Jesus' reproof (John 12:7-8), secret consciousness that Jesus saw through his baseness, above all the Lord's mention of His "burying" which dispelled his ambitious hopes of sharing a Messianic kingdom of power and wealth, drove him to his last desperate shift to clutch at 30 pieces of silver, the paltry price of a slave (Exodus 21:32; Zechariah 11:12-13; Philippians 2:7), and betray his Lord. The title "the son of perdition," given by Jesus in His high priestly prayer (John 17:12) to Judas and to none else but "the man of sin" (2 Thessalonians 2:3), as doomed and essentially belonging to perdition, also Christ's declaration, "woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born" (Matthew 26:24), oppose the notion that Judas betrayed Christ mainly in order to force Him to declare tits true nature and kingdom, that Judas might occupy the foremost place in it.

The narrative gives little ground for this clever theory; rather, covetousness wrought in him unchecked spite and malignity, possibly not unmixed with carnal expectations from Messiah's kingdom, until, in the face of light, he yielded himself up to be Satan's tool, so that he received his sentence before the last day. Prophecy fore-uttered his doom (Psalms 109:4-8). "Satan" was the "wicked" one "set over" Judas, first causing him to murder Christ, then himself. In Acts 1:16-20; Acts 1:25, Peter says, "this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Spirit by the month of David spoke before concerning Judas ... he obtained part of this ministry ... from which by transgression he fell, that he might go to his own place" (compare Isaiah 30:33). Ahithophel, his type, combined shrewd sagacity with intimate knowledge of David, which he turned against David, giving the hellish counsel to incest and parricide (2 Samuel 15:12; 2 Samuel 16:23; 2 Samuel 17:1-3; 2 Samuel 17:23; compare Psalms 41:9; Psalms 55:13).

So Judas in relation to Christ, knowing His favourite haunt for prayer, Gethsemane. Suicide was the end of Judas as of the type. Even Judas shared in Christ's washing of the disciples' feet, and Jesus said "ye are clean, but not all" (John 13:10). Troubled in spirit at Judas' presence, He said at the last supper, "verily, verily ... one of you shall betray Me" (compare John 13:21); "exceeding sorrowful they began every one to say, Lord, is it I?" Judas asked the same lest his silence should betray guilt, and received the whispered reply in the affirmative (Matthew 26:22; Matthew 26:25). Meantime John next, Jesus on one side, as Judas was on the other, leaned back so as to be on Jesus' bosom, and at Peter's suggestion asked secretly "who is it?" (John 13:23 ff) He answered "he it is to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it." Then He gave the sop to Judas, an act of love (dipping a morsel of unleavened bread in the broth of bitter herbs and handing it to a friend), but it only stirred up his hatred (Psalms 109:4-5).

So after the sop Satan entered Judas. Then said Jesus, "that thou doest do quickly." A paroxysm of mad devilishness hurried him on, as the swine of Gadara rushing into the deep. Jesus' awful words were enough to warn him back; but sin by willful resistance of light had now become a fixed law of his being. God gives him up to his own sin, and so to accomplish God's purpose; even as God did to Balaam (Numbers 22:22), and Jesus to the Pharisees (Matthew 23:32). Greek "what thou art doing (with full determination already being carried into action) do more quickly." The disciples thought, judging by Jesus' habit, though the fact is not elsewhere recorded except the allusion in John 12:5, that His direction to Judas was to give something to the poor. Jesus Christ, in proof that Judas too partook of the Lord's supper, a proof that John 6:54-56, cannot be understood of eating that supper, but of feeding on Him by living faith). (See JESUS CHRIST.)

Judas, having given a token beforehand, "whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He, take Him and lead Him away safely" (Mark 14:44-45; Matthew 26:48), led the Roman band and priestly officers to apprehend Jesus in Gethsemane, and gave his studied, kiss, saying "Hail, Master!" or as Mark graphically represents his overdone show of deference, "Master, Master!" Jesus, as Judas approached, said, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" and as Judas drew nigh to kiss Him, "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" (Luke 22:47-48). When the Lord was condemned by the high priest and Sanhedrin, Judas probably being present, the reaction came; not that the condemnation took him by surprise, his confession shows he contemplated the result. His former Lord's love and righteousness now remembered brought into his soul "remorse" (metameleia , not "repentance" (metanoia ); Matthew 27:3-4.

"I sinned in that I betrayed the innocent blood," he cried to the high priests, his tempters. "What is that to us? See thou to that," they sneeringly reply. Having served their end he is now cast aside as vile even in their eyes. Having forced his way into the sanctuary of the priests (naos he flung down the money, his bait to sin, now only hateful and tormenting to him (not as Alford, "speaking without and throwing the money into the naos "; for en too naoo , not eis ton naon , implies he was inside when he flung down the money), and departed and went and hanged (or strangled) himself. Acts 1:18 describes the sequel. He burst asunder when the suicide was half accomplished, and his bowels gushed out (even as he had laid aside bowels of compassion, Psalms 109:16), his body lying ignominiously on the face, not on the back as the dead generally lie.

He had designed, Gehazi like (2 Kings 5:26), to provide a possession for himself and his, despairing of gain by Messiah, since he saw at last that His kingdom was not then a temporal one (Psalms 109:9); but the only possession he purchased was a bloody burial place, Aceldama, which the priests bought with the price of blood, being characteristically too punctilious to put it into the treasury (Matthew 23:24). The potter's field was "to bury strangers in," fulfilling the foretold doom of Judas (Psalms 109:11). The potter's clay, the emblem of God's sovereignty so as to give the reprobate to perdition, is first introduced by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 19:11), and so "Jeremy" is quoted as the original of Zechariah 11:12-13. (See ACELDAMA on the double reason for the name).


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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Judas Iscariot'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/j/judas-iscariot.html. 1949.

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Saturday, February 23rd, 2019
the Sixth Week after Epiphany
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