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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
Judas Maccabeus, 1
Judas Iscariot, 2
Judas Iscar´iot. The object of this article is not to elucidate all the circumstances recorded respecting this person, but simply to investigate his motives in delivering up Jesus to the chief-priests. The evangelists relate his proceedings, but give no opinion. The subject is consequently open to inquiry. Our conclusions must be guided by the facts of the case, and by the known feelings and principles of human nature. The only conceivable motives for the conduct of Judas are, a sense of duty in bringing his Master to justice, resentment, avarice, dissatisfaction with the procedure of Jesus, and a consequent scheme for the accomplishment of his own views. With regard to the first of these motives, if Judas had been actuated by a sense of duty in bringing his Master to justice for anything censurable in his intentions, words, or actions, he would certainly have alleged some charge against him in his first interview with the chief-priests, and they would have brought him forward as a witness against Jesus, especially when they were at so great a loss for evidence; or they would have reminded him of his accusations when he appealed to them after our Lord's condemnation, saying, 'I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood'—a confession which amounts to an avowal that he had never seen anything to blame in his Master, but everything to approve. The second motive supposed, namely, that of resentment, is rather more plausible. Jesus had certainly rebuked him for blaming the woman who had anointed him in the house of Simon the leper, at Bethany (comp.; ); and Matthew's narrative seems to connect his going to the chief-priests with that rebuke (): 'Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief-priests;' but closer inspection will convince the reader that those words are more properly connected with . Besides, the rebuke was general, 'Why trouble ye the woman?' Nor was it nearly so harsh as that received by Peter, 'Get thee behind me, Satan' (), and certainly not so public (). Even if Judas had felt ever so much resentment, it could scarcely have been his sole motive; and as nearly two days elapsed between his contract with the chief-priests and its completion, it would have subsided during the interval, and have yielded to that covetousness which we have every reason to believe was his ruling passion. St. John expressly declares that Judas 'was a thief, and had the bag, and bare (that is, conveyed away from it, stole) what was put therein' (; comp. 20:15, in the original). This rebuke, or rather certain circumstances attending it, might have determined him to act as he did, but is insufficient, of itself, to account entirely for his conduct, by which he endangered all his expectations of worldly advancement from Jesus, at the very moment when they seemed upon the verge of being fulfilled. It is, indeed, a most important feature in the case, that the hopes entertained by Judas, and all the apostles, from their Master's expected elevation, as the Messiah, to the throne of Judea, and, as they believed, to the empire of the whole world, were never more stedfast than at the time when he covenanted with the chief-priests to deliver him into their hands. Nor does the theory of mere resentment agree with the terms of censure in which the conduct and character of Judas are spoken of by our Lord and the evangelists. Since, then, this supposition is insufficient, we may consider another motive to which his conduct is more commonly ascribed, namely, covetousness. But if by covetousness is meant the eager desire to obtain 'the thirty pieces of silver,' with which the chief-priests 'covenanted with him' (), it presents scarcely a less inadequate motive. Can it be conceived that Judas would deliberately forego the prospect of immense wealth from his Master, by delivering him up for about four pounds ten shillings of our money, upon the highest computation, and not more than double in value, a sum which he might easily have purloined from the bag? Is it likely that he would have made such a sacrifice for any further sum, however large, which we may suppose 'they promised him' (), and of which the thirty pieces of silver might have been the mere earnest ()? Had covetousness been his motive, he would have ultimately applied to the chief-priests, not to bring again the thirty pieces of silver with the confession, 'I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood' (), but to demand the completion of their agreement with him. We are now at liberty to consider the only remaining motive for the conduct of Judas, namely, dissatisfaction with the procedure of his Master, and a consequent scheme for the furtherance of his own views. It seems to us likely, that the impatience of Judas for the accomplishment of his worldly views, which we conceive to have ever actuated him in following Jesus, could no longer be restrained, and that our Lord's observations at Bethany served to mature a stratagem he had meditated long before. He had no doubt been greatly disappointed at seeing his Master avoid being made a king, after feeding the five thousand in Galilee. Many a favorable crisis had He seemed to lose, or had not dared to embrace, and now while at Bethany He talks of his burial (); and though none of His apostles, so firm were their worldly expectations from their Master, could clearly understand such 'sayings' (); yet they had been made 'exceeding sorry' by them (). At the same time Judas had long been convinced by the miracles he had seen his Master perform that He was the Messiah (). He had even heard Him accept this title from His apostles in private (). He had promised them that when He should 'sit upon the throne of His glory, they should sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel' (). Yet now, when everything seemed most favorable to the assumption of empire, He hesitates and desponds. Within a few days, the people, who had lately given Him a triumphal entry into the city, having kept the Passover, would be dispersed to their homes, and Judas and his fellow apostles be, perhaps, required to attend their Master on another tedious expedition through the country. Hence it seems most probable that Judas resolved upon the plan of delivering up his Master to the Jewish authorities, when he would be compelled, in self-defense, to prove His claims, by giving them the sign from heaven they had so often demanded; they would, he believed, elect him in due form as the King Messiah, and thus enable Him to reward His followers. He did, indeed, receive from Jesus many alarming admonitions against his design; but the plainest warnings are lost upon a mind totally absorbed by a purpose, and agitated by many violent passions. The worst he would permit himself to expect, was a temporary displeasure for placing his Master in this dilemma; but as he most likely believed, judging from himself, that Jesus anticipated worldly aggrandizement, he might calculate upon His forgiveness when the emergency should have been triumphantly surmounted. Judas could not doubt his master's ability to extricate Himself from His enemies by miracle. He had known Him do so more than once (;; ). Hence his directions to the officers to 'hold him fast,' when he was apprehended (). With other Jews he believed the Messiah would never die (); accordingly, we regard his pecuniary stipulation with the priests as a mere artful cover to his deeper and more comprehensive design; and so that he served their purpose in causing the apprehension of Jesus, they would little care to scrutinize his motive. All they felt was being 'glad' at his proposal (), and the plan appeared to hold good up to the very moment of our Lord's condemnation; for after His apprehension His miraculous power seemed unabated, from His healing Malchus. Judas heard Him declare that He could even then 'ask, and His father would give Him twelve legions of angels' for His rescue. But when Judas, who awaited the issue of the trial with such different expectations, saw that though Jesus had avowed Himself to be the Messiah, He had not convinced the Sanhedrim; and, instead of extricating Himself from their power by miracle, had submitted to be 'condemned, buffeted, and spit upon,' by His judges and accusers; then it should seem he awoke to a full view of all the consequences of his conduct. The prophecies of the Old Testament, 'that Christ should suffer and of Jesus, concerning His own rejection and death, flashed on his mind in their true sense and full force, and he found himself the wretched instrument of their fulfillment. He made a last desperate effort to stay proceedings. He presented himself to the chief-priests, offered to return the money, confessed that he had sinned in that he had betrayed the innocent blood, and upon receiving their heartless answer was wrought into a frenzy of despair, during which He committed suicide. There is much significancy in these words of , 'Then Judas, when he saw He was condemned,' not expiring on the cross, 'repented himself,' etc. If such be the true hypothesis of his conduct, then, however culpable it may have been, as originating in the most inordinate covetousness, impatience of the procedure of Providence, crooked policy, or any other bad quality, he is certainly absolved from the direct intention of procuring his Master's death. 'The difference,' says Archbishop Whately, 'between Iscariot and his fellow apostles was, that though they all had the same expectations and conjectures, he dared to act on his conjectures, departing from the plain course of his known duty to follow the calculations of his worldly wisdom, and the schemes of his worldly ambition.'
Judas or Jude, surnamed Barsabas, a Christian teacher sent from Jerusalem to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas (;; ). He is supposed to have been one of the seventy disciples, and brother of Joseph, also surnamed Barsabas (son of Sabas), who was proposed, with Matthias, to fill up the place of the traitor Judas (). Judas and Silas (who was also of the party) are mentioned together as 'prophets' and 'chief men among the brethren.'
Surnamed the Galilean (), so called also by Josephus, and likewise 'the Gaulonite.' In company with one Sadoc he attempted to raise a sedition among the Jews, but was destroyed by Cyrenius (Quirinus), then proconsul of Syria and Judea.
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Judas'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/j/judas.html.