713. Pieces of Silver

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It is difficult to ascertain what coins are here meant. Mr. Poole, of the British Museum, one of the best authorities on numismatics, suggests (see Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, s. v. Piece of Silver) that the thirty arguria, mentioned here and in Matthew 27:3,5-6,93Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, (Matthew 27:3)
5And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. (Matthew 27:5‑6)
9Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; (Matthew 27:9)
were not denarii, as many commentators suppose, but shekels, and that shekels must also be understood in the parallel passage of Zechariah 11:12-1312And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 13And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. (Zechariah 11:12‑13). Thirty shekels of silver was the price of blood when a slave was accidentally killed. See Exodus 21:3232If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. (Exodus 21:32). As there were probably no current shekels during our Lord’s time, Mr. Poole supposes that the tetradrachms of the Greek cities of Syria were the coins which composed the thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas. These tetradrachms have the same weight as the shekels of Simon Maccabזus, and the stater found by Peter in the fish was a specimen of them. See note on Matthew 17:2727Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee. (Matthew 17:27) (#675). This would make the sum which Judas received equivalent to about eighteen dollars, United States coin, or a little over three pounds ten shillings, English.