Judas, Jesus Christ and the 30 pieces of silver

Judas, Jesus Christ and the 30 pieces of silver is the subject of this Big B File.

    Today is Good Friday. For Catholics and other Christians around the world this is the day that Jesus Christ Died on the Cross for all our sins and those of the whole world after first being betrayed by Judas Iscariot the night before for the sum of Thirty (30) pieces of Silver. This made me wonder the following questions: 

  How much would 30 pieces of silver be worth today (adjusted for inflation)? 
Would that be enough for you and I to succumb to temptation and betray Jesus ourselves . . . just like Judas Iscariot did 2008 years ago?
    
   

 It makes you wonder, does it not? As this story is told to us in the Bible in the Gospel Book of Matthew:

          When Jesus finished all these words, he said to his disciples, “You know that in two days’ time it will be Passover, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and they consulted together to arrest Jesus by treachery and put him to death. But they said, “Not during the festival, that there may not be a riot among the people.”.
Now when Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil, and poured it on his head while he was reclining at table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant and said, “Why this waste? It could have been sold for much, and the money given to the poor.” Since Jesus knew this, he said to them, “Why do you make trouble for the woman? She has done a good thing for me..
The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me. In pouring this perfumed oil upon my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be spoken of, in memory of her.”.
Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over..

    - Matthew 16:1-16, New American Bible

    The 30 pieces of silver today would be worth around $950 today. According to the Professional Coin Grading Service, “The value of 30 of these coins was significant at the time. Such a sum likely would have purchased a small farm. Quite a bribe for the time…” On average, a Small farm goes for around $240,000 in our country today . . . which would consist of the farmhouse for the farmer and the family, barns, equipment, along with 120 acres on which to plant and harvest crops. To put it in terms most people can understand, $240,000 would buy:

  • A 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer for you and eight of your closest friends,
  • a down payment on Luxury home, or
  • outright buy a brand new home in most of the USA . . . in cash.

Now how hard is it to resist the temptation to betray Jesus now?
    The Big B Files wanted to do this research to help give you a good idea how big of a thing 30 pieces of silver was at the time and how Judas could have succumbed to temptation to betray Jesus on that Holy Thursday night.
People have betrayed others for far less than the price of a small farm.
This is the day that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, my sins, and the sins of the whole world. Without Jesus laying down his life for all of us 2008 years ago, we would not have a sense of peace nor what it feels like to have been forgiven of our sins. The United States would never have existed of Jesus had not died on the cross all those years ago.
We all have said the same thing the apostles said at the Last Supper to Jesus when they stated that they would never betray him.
Let me conclude this Big B File by asking you this question. . . If you were in the place of Judas, would you be able to resist such a great temptation (as mentioned above) and not betray Jesus, whether it was over 2000 years ago or it is today?

  And that is the Big B Files. Click on the “Comments” Link below and tell me what you think . . . I’m Bryan Hewing.

 

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29 Responses to “Judas, Jesus Christ and the 30 pieces of silver”

  1. Nedra Jones Says:

    Hi Bryan,

    Thanks for the article. I was reading in Exodus this morning and came across the 7 pieces of silver and thought I’d search it out to see it’s value. I believe that in today’s society, people are so driven by money, that a great percentage of people would give Jesus up for even less. This also includes some Christians, and Christian Leaders. It’s really sad, but true. Thanks for raising the question and I will do the same at a small bible discussion that I’m a part of on Thursday nights here in New York.
    God Bless,
    Nedra

    • AJ Talerico Says:

      Well you also need to keep in mind that Judas probably had no idea that Jesus would be killed. He probably thought that the Sanhedrin had some special plan to make Him prove that He was the Messiah and then, if convinced, put Him in His place as King of the Jews. Unfortunately, we all know this is not what happened. This is why when he found out Jesus’ fate, he rejected the money and then hanged himself.

      • Bryan V. Hewing Says:

        I have to admit that what you say puts a new wrinkle on the story explanations . . .thanks for the comments.

      • Mystery Says:

        I would have to disagree. Judas would had to have know how much the pharisees hated Jesus. Judas knew very well what could happen because Jesus himself talked about his betrayal and death.

        I do concede to the point that he regretted it but i believe that to be only because Jesus couldn’t do anything for him. Judas, partly, believed that Jesus would rise up and finally claim His “birthright”. Except that no such thing happened.

      • Morrisson Says:

        Mat 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto (JUDAS) that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for (JUDAS) that man if he had not been born.

    • James R. Warren Jr. Says:

      I agree with Nedra. It’s sad to think that someone would put a price on Jesus’ head at all!

      Harlem, USA

  2. Lindy Says:

    Wow! I’ve been wondering how much 30 pieces of silver was worth in the days when Judas betrayed Jesus. Know that I know, I concluded it was just straight greed on Judas behalf.

    • Jmann Says:

      It was not a lot of money,
      showing how selfish Judas really was. He would have done for nothing he truly was evil….

      *** it-1 p. 1122 Hire, Wages ***
      Generally, compensation paid to laborers for their work or services. (Le 19:13) As a verb, “hire” means to employ someone (Mt 20:1) or to rent something. (Ex 22:14, 15; Ac 28:30) “Wages” may be synonymous with “reward.” For example, King Nebuchadrezzar’s (Nebuchadnezzar’s) wages or reward for his service as Jehovah’s executioner in destroying Tyre was the conquest of Egypt with all its wealth for him to plunder. (Eze 29:18, 19; see also Ru 2:12; Isa 61:8; 62:11.) In fulfillment of Zechariah 11:12, Judas Iscariot received 30 pieces of silver from the priests (if shekels, $66) as “wages” for betraying Jesus Christ. (Mt 26:14-16; 27:3-10; Ac 1:18; see BRIBE.) Also, “wages” at times denotes “recompense.” “The wages sin pays is death.”—Ro 6:23; see also Ps 109:20; Isa 65:6, 7.

  3. Mike Says:

    This is an interesting post and I admire the curiosity of the writer to research the current value of Judas’ bribe. However, I must disagree with the conclusion of the second commentor, “…it was just straight greed on Judas behalf.” First, when put together with the other writers, the Gospels present a picture of a Jesus who is in control of the goings on, according to Christian doctrine, he is fully GOD and fully human at the same time. In fact, in John, it appears as though Jesus picks Judas for the job of betrayal. Jesus dips a piece of bread and hands it to Judas, “and satan enterred into him.” Secondly, it was not the death of Jesus that redeemed the world, it was the resurrection. Without the resurrection, Jesus is nothing more than a first century Jewish prophet, of which there were hundreds. In order for the redeeming nature of the Son of God to be accomplished, the resurrection must occur and Jesus (remember, also fully God) must defeat death to reopen the gates of the Garden of Eden and allow humankind to rejoin the presence of God, as was his goal in the original creation of Adam.

    Nice post though, thanks for the thoughts…

    • John B Says:

      As one who works with addicts, (or in a biblical term – People who are controlled by their idols) Yes, I belive that Judas had an issue with greed and willing to steel or do we he had to obtain money. In the Gospel of John, John reports… John12:4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
      So Judas was looking for ways to feed his addiction.
      Also, there is no record that Judas had any malice towards Jesus, he just asked the chief priests “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So like most addicts he wanted the money and gave little thought of the outcome of his actions. Until, of course, he saw what happened to Jesus and then… “he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.” Just like most addicts after they get in trouble… I will never drink again, I will never be violent again, I will never look at porn again.

      Based on Silver prices today and guessing that a peice of silver was possible 1 to 5 ounces, that would make 30 of them worth $1,000 to $3,000.

      • Jmann Says:

        This the accuret amount of what 30 pieces of silver were really worth.

        *** it-1 p. 257 Barley ***
        Hosea paid 15 silver pieces (if shekels, $33) and one and a half homer measures (330 L; 300 dry qt) of barley to buy back the adulterous woman Gomer as his wife (Ho 1:3; 3:1, 2), a price that some commentators consider to total the price of a slave, 30 silver shekels ($66). (Ex 21:32) The “offering of jealousy” required by the Law in the case of a man suspecting his wife of sexual infidelity was to be a tenth of an ephah (2.2 L; 2 dry qt) of barley flour. (Nu 5:14, 15) Barley was also used in measuring, the amount required for sowing a field being the legal means for determining the field’s value.—Le 27:16.

  4. Lev Lafayette Says:

    The problem with this sort of simplistic calculation is that the value of land has increased substantially. Land is in static supply, whereas population is increased “a little bit” in the last 2,000 years, not to mention that land value is significantly altered by the value of local infrastructure.

    According to other calculations 30 shekals would be enough to provide a person moderately well for a month. But of course, that’s without all the mod cons.

  5. graham rice Says:

    I have to disagree with the article’s author – I’m not sure how 30 pieces of silver equates to a small farm with buildings when the scriptures clearly state that it was used to purchase a field in which to bury foreigners. This would suggest a) not a viable farm and b) Land that was of little use for farming. It may even be possible that the 30 pieces of silver were an invention by some of the Jewish establishment to blacken Judas’ name. More than once in the Gospels Jesus bids Judas to do “what he HAS to do”. It is also inconceivable that the Sanhedrin would need anybody to identify Jesus as He had been a thorn in their sides for some time – they would know what He looked like. Read Matthew 26:49-50 – Judas refers to Jesus as Rabbi (teacher – a term of reverence and hardly likely to be used by a betrayer) and Jesus addresses Judas as “friend”.

  6. Kieron Says:

    I like this answer:

    “The price of a slave was 30 silver shekels (perhaps 90 days’ wages). (Ex 21:32; compare Le 27:2-7.)

    Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, evidently the price of a slave. (Mt 26:14-16, 47-50) No doubt these silver pieces were either shekels or other coins similar in value. But the kind of coin is not specified in the account, except for their being silver.

    So, the price of a slave was he was paid, and that was about 90 days wages. If you want to extend to our time, think a bit above Minimum wage, times 8 times 90.
    I used $7.25 and came up with about $5000.

    The money was enough to by a small plot of land for a “potter’s field”.

    3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, seeing he had been condemned, felt remorse and turned the thirty silver pieces back to the chief priests and older men, 4 saying: “I sinned when I betrayed righteous blood.” They said: “What is that to us? You must see to that!” 5 So he threw the silver pieces into the temple and withdrew, and went off and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said: “It is not lawful to drop them into the sacred treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 After consulting together, they bought with them the potter’s field to bury strangers. 8 Therefore that field has been called “Field of Blood” to this very day. 9 Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying: “And they took the thirty silver pieces, the price upon the man that was priced, the one on whom some of the sons of Israel set a price, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, according to what Jehovah had commanded me.”

    This was acted out by Zechariah showing what little value they placed on him. This also applies on how little value the Jewish leaders, and Judas placed on Jesus.

    Zechariah 11:12 Then I said to them: “If it is good in YOUR eyes, give [me] my wages; but if not, refrain.” And they proceeded to pay my wages, thirty pieces of silver.

    13 At that, Jehovah said to me: “Throw it to the treasury—the majestic value with which I have been valued from their standpoint.” Accordingly I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw it into the treasury at the house of Jehovah.”

    • Linda Says:

      I am with Kieron on this one of the 30 pieces of silver. The scripture says that if they knew who He was they would not have crucified Him. Clearly they put no value on His life. This is also evident in their choice of Barabas in exchange for Jesus.
      Hosea 3 : 2 Hosea bought back his wife for 15 pieces of silver & a homer and a half of barley (the price of a slave). The stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone Matt21:42.
      Thank God that we are not valued by our peers because we would surely say 30 pieces of silver but God puts so much more value on us as His children.

  7. gail Says:

    i just want to say…it’s wonderful to see people truly discussing the Word in a positive way…each gaining knowledge and seeing things in a different light….it is a blessing!!!!

  8. Brittney Says:

    This is an interesting discussion. I, like many of you, was very interested in finding the monetary equivalent of 30 pieces of silver in U.S. dollars. Thank you for the post. Also, in response to Mike’s comment: the shedding of Jesus’ blood did redeem us from our sins. Of course, it was in God’s plan for Jesus to be resurrected, but if He had not willingly laid his life down for us, then our chance for salvation would not be in existence. In Matthew 26:28, the scripture says:
    For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
    It is through the blood of Jesus Christ that we are able to have a chance at eternal life with Him.

  9. Lois Says:

    awts..
    i’m from the philippines..
    this is a very sad story..

  10. Ruben Prakash Gideon Says:

    I do find these days people go for money, they take away small children for ramsom. They even kill them if they do not get money. What is this? People have become verse then bests, For profit they even do adltration in babys’ milk, food, water. Paul says Money is the root coasue of all the evil. What Judas’s doen we are doing the same in our churches. Quitly selling of the church property, filing false bills in the church account. Judas had done once and in terrible shame he took his life, but what about us, we knowingly sell Jeuse everyday.

  11. Foley P. Says:

    The value of the amount of betrayal is not the important element here.In the Scripture it is revealed how after all Jesus has done for us we still have the weekness of flesh to cause us to fall away.How can we sit around and try to figure out the cost of a thing in todays time verses the time of Christ which leads me to ask,when Judas repented was he saved by a forgiving God? which forgave him,or did he go to hell

  12. Robert Says:

    But of course since Jesus told Judas to do the task, could it not be that god had told Judas to do the deed. Was it not possible as Jesus also knew that others would state they did not know him, if Jesus knew all this why did he wait for Judas.

    Lot of questions, not to many answers, was it not stated by Jesus mother that he would die, if you believe in the Scriptures then you must believes that things are ordained in heaven not on earth.

  13. Joyce Says:

    It wasnt that Judas succumbed to it he was never a friend he was on the outside but the inside was corrupt. He was a friend of the world and not Jesus James 4:4 says he who is a friend of the world constitutes himself an enemy of God. Any of the other 11 apostles would have never committed this folly because they were “true” friends and loved Jesus! Judas on the other hand was followiing the phrase “fake it till you make it!”

  14. Josh Says:

    Robert, do you read as well as you write. There is no way God told Judas to betray Christ. If he had then Judas would not have felt so bad that he gave back the money and eventually hanged himself. This was not an elaborate set up on the part of God. His plan was to send his son with a very specific message and he knew people would fight against it to the point where they would kill him. However, that sacrifice….HOLY and PURE…..fulfilled the law and made the way for man to enter into the holy of holies (the renting of the veil signifies this fact). This was God’s plan and Christ fulfilled it. Damnation is a REAL thing for those involved in Jesus’ death.

    Judas had a choice as did the Pilate and Caiaphas…….as do we all.

  15. Carl Says:

    It seems that this mention of the coins was a late interpolation based on the wording about “weighing out” silver. It was simply imposed on the text to make it correlate with the prophecy. Surely anyone who researches this story will find that it is just a rehash of the ancient drama enacted in the mystery religions. The church wrote the tale as though it was history rather than allegory. It’s amazing that people still fall for such a ruse!

  16. W.W.J.D. Says:

    There are many different amounts to how much 30 pieces of silver are in today’s currency. How do I know which is correct?

  17. Jack Sutton Says:

    Bryan; thanks for the information. It helps to flesh out some of judas’ character. We whosin for so little,really have no reason to be really angry at him?
    Jack

  18. Ken Rubin Says:

    Everything is very open with a precise explanation
    of the issues. It was really informative.
    Your site is extremely helpful. Many thanks for sharing!

  19. silver coins Says:

    Very good info. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve bookmarked it for later!


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