Judas hangs himself (Mt 27:5-27:5)

“Judas threw down

The pieces of silver

In the Temple.

He departed.

He went away.

He hanged himself.”

 

καὶ ῥίψας τὰ ἀργύρια εἰς τὸν ναὸν ἀνεχώρησεν, καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἀπήγξατο.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Judas threw down the 30 pieces of silver in the Temple (καὶ ῥίψας τὰ ἀργύρια εἰς τὸν ναὸν).  He left or departed as he went away (ἀνεχώρησεν, καὶ ἀπελθὼν).  Then he hanged or strangled himself to death (ἀπήγξατο).  Matthew was the only gospel to talk about Judas’ repentance and self-inflicted death.  Judas choose a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  Peter had denied Jesus, but he just cried in his repentance.  Judas took the more drastic action of suicide that made it impossible for anyone to forgive him.

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The origin of the name Purim (Esth 9:24-9:28)

“Haman the Agagite son of Hammedatha, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them. He had cast Pur that is ‘the lot’ to crush and destroy them. When Queen Esther came before the king, he gave orders in writing that the wicked plot that Haman had devised against the Jews should come upon his own head. He and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Therefore they called these days Purim, after the word Pur. All of this was written in this letter. Because of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had befallen them, the Jews established and accepted as a custom for themselves and their descendants, and all who joined them. Without fail they would continue to observe these two days every year, as it was written, and at the time appointed. These days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every family, province, and city. These days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews. The commemoration of these days should never cease among their descendants.”

This is an official explanation of the feast of Purim. Since this does not have Torah approval, there is a strong emphasis on written documents. After the captivity and exile there is a great insistence on written documents. Purism comes from the idea of casting lots, which Haman did, to decide on what day the persecution and the destruction of the Jews should take place. The movement of Pur into Purim is simple enough. Interesting enough, the Greek text continued to call Haman a Macedonian rather than an Agagite. In the Greek text there is the explicit information that Pur means casting lots in Persian. The Greek text insists that Mordecai established this feast.

The killing of the ten sons of Haman in Susa (Esth 9:5-9:15)

“The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, slaughtering and destroying them. They did as they pleased to those who hated them. In Susa the capital, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred people. They killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. However they did not touch the plunder. That very day the number of those killed in Susa the capital was reported to the king. The king said to Queen Esther.

‘In the capital of Susa,

The Jews have killed five hundred men.

They have killed the ten sons of Haman.

What then have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces?

Now what is your petition?

It shall be granted you.

What further is your request?

It shall be fulfilled.’

Esther said.

‘If it pleases the king,

Let the Jews who are in Susa

Be allowed tomorrow also to do according to this day’s edict.

Let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows.’

Thus the king commanded this to be done. A decree was issued in Susa. The ten sons of Haman were hanged. The Jews who were in Susa gathered also on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar. They then killed three hundred persons in Susa. However, they did not touch the plunder.”

In the capital city of Susa, the Jews killed 500 of their enemies. This included the 10 sons of Haman. However, they took no plunder. In fact, Queen Esther and Mordecai were given everything that belonged to the house of Haman in the preceding chapter. However, when this was reported to the king, he asked Queen Esther if she had any other requests. She wanted the 10 dead sons of Haman to be hanged on the gallows like their father. She also requested one more day for the Jewish people to kill their enemies. The king, as usual, said okay. Thus the Jews hung the 10 sons of Haman and then killed another 300 people in Susa on the next day.

The response of the king (Esth 8:7-8:8)

“Then King Artaxerxes said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew.

‘See!

I have given Esther the house of Haman.

They have hanged him on the gallows.

Because he plotted to lay hands on the Jews.

You may write as you please with regard to the Jews,

In the name of the king,.

Seal it with the king’s ring.

An edict written in the name of the king

And sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.’”

The king said that he given the house of Haman to Queen Esther. In fact, they had hanged him on his own gallows. She and Mordecai could write what they wanted about the Jews. He was going to give them his signet ring. However, he said that anything that he has written could not be revoked. Therefore, he stood by his original decree that Haman wrote. However, he would stand by anything that they would write also. There could be not revocations. It is interesting to note he took no blame. He seems to say, “Whatever” to every question that comes up.

Haman prepares the gallows (Esth 5:14-5:14)

“Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him.

‘Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made.

In the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged on it.

Then go with the king to the banquet in good spirits.’

This advice pleased Haman. He had the gallows made.”

The friends of Haman and his wife told him to make a tall gallows, about 75 feet high for Mordecai, a real tall gallows. They wanted to have Mordecai hanged in the morning. Now this sounded like a good idea to Haman. He probably should have stuck with this idea from the beginning. It is hard to figure out how this big scaffold could be made by the next morning.

Mordecai and the plot to kill the king (Esth 2:21-2:23)

“While Mordecai was sitting in the royal courtyard, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Terseh, who were the chief bodyguards, became angry. They conspired to assassinate King Artaxerxes. This matter became known to Mordecai, who warned Queen Esther. She, in turn, revealed the plot to the king in the name of Mordecai. When the affair was investigated and found to be true, the men were both hanged. Then the king ordered a memorandum to be deposited in the royal library in praise of the goodwill shown by Mordecai. It was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.”

The names of the 2 eunuchs are only in the Hebrew text, not the Greek text. Eunuchs were personal bodyguards. Perhaps this relates to the preliminary Greek text about the plot against the king, where Mordecai heard 2 eunuchs plotting to kill the king. There they confessed and were executed. It sounds very similar. Except here, Mordecai told Esther who then told the king. Here it is very clearly recorded in the annals of the king.