The Field of Blood (Acts 1:19)

“This field became known

To all the residents

Of Jerusalem.

Thus,

This field

Was called,

In their own language

‘Hakeldama,’

That is

Field of Blood.”

καὶ γνωστὸν ἐγένετο πᾶσι τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν Ἱερουσαλήμ, ὥστε κληθῆναι τὸ χωρίον ἐκεῖνο τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ αὐτῶν Ἀκελδαμάχ, τοῦτ’ ἔστιν Χωρίον αἵματος.

The author of Acts indicated that this field became known (καὶ γνωστὸν ἐγένετο) to all the residents of Jerusalem (πᾶσι τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν Ἱερουσαλήμ).  Thus, this field (τὸ χωρίον ἐκεῖνο) was called (ὥστε κληθῆναι) in their own language (τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ αὐτῶν) “Hakeldama (Ἀκελδαμάχ),” that is the Field of Blood (τοῦτ’ ἔστιν Χωρίον αἵματος).  This Greek word διαλέκτῳ, that means speech, language, conversation, or manner of speaking, was only found here in Acts, and nowhere else in the Greek biblical writings. Obviously, the author of Acts was writing to a Greek speaking Christian community, since he referred to their language, indicating Hebrew or Aramaic.  Matthew, chapter 27:6-8, used the same terminology of Field of Blood, but did not say that it was their language.  He said that the chief priests took the 30 pieces of silver (οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς λαβόντες τὰ ἀργύρια).  They said that it was not lawful to put this money into the Temple treasury (εἶπαν Οὐκ ἔξεστιν βαλεῖν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν κορβανᾶν), since it was blood money (ἐπεὶ τιμὴ αἵματός ἐστιν).  After conferring together or taking counsel among themselves (συμβούλιον δὲ λαβόντες), they used this money to buy the potter’s field (ἐξ αὐτῶν τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως), as a place to bury foreigners or strangers (εἰς ταφὴν τοῖς ξένοις).  Thus, this field has been called the Field of Blood (διὸ ἐκλήθη ὁ ἀγρὸς ἐκεῖνος Ἀγρὸς αἵματος) to this day (ἕως τῆς σήμερον).  This returned blood money from Judas could not be used for any Temple activities or holy purposes.  Thus, a cemetery for the indigent seemed like a good compromise.  Here the author of Acts implied that Judas bought the field himself.  Perhaps it was only indirectly.  However, both Matthew and this author of Acts called this the Field of Blood.  How would you like to be buried in a Field of Blood?

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