The Field of Blood (Mt 27:6-27:8)

“But the chief priests,

Taking the pieces of silver,

Said.

‘It is not lawful

To put them

Into the treasury,

Since these pieces

Are blood money.’

After conferring together,

They used

These silver pieces

To buy the potter’s field,

As a place

To bury foreigners.

Thus,

That field

Has been called

The Field of Blood

To this day.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς λαβόντες τὰ ἀργύρια εἶπαν Οὐκ ἔξεστιν βαλεῖν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν κορβανᾶν, ἐπεὶ τιμὴ αἵματός ἐστιν.

συμβούλιον δὲ λαβόντες ἠγόρασαν ἐξ αὐτῶν τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως εἰς ταφὴν τοῖς ξένοις.

διὸ ἐκλήθη ὁ ἀγρὸς ἐκεῖνος Ἀγρὸς αἵματος ἕως τῆς σήμερον.

 

This is unique to Matthew among the gospel writers, although in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:16-20, Peter talked about the death of Judas and the Field of Blood. The chief priests, however, 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).  Apparently, the clay that was used for pottery was useless for growing anything.  Thus, it was called potter’s field.  This field became a graveyard for foreigners, strangers, and commoners who had no money for a proper burial.  It was the poor man’s burial area.  This returned blood money could not be used for any Temple activities or holy purposes.  Thus, a cemetery for the indigent seemed like a good comprise.  Notice that Matthew said that it was called a “Field of Blood” even until the time of his writing, this day, indicating an interval between this incident and the writing about it

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The present distress of Job (Job 30:1-30:8)

“But now they make sport of me.

Those who are younger than I,

Whose fathers I would have disdained

To have them set with the dogs of my flock.

What could I gain from the strength of their hands?

All their vigor is gone.

Through want and hard hunger

They gnaw the dry and desolate ground.

They pick mallow and the leaves of bushes,

They pick the roots of the broom to warm themselves.

They are driven out from society.

People shout after them as after a thief.

They must live in the gullies of the Wadi torrents.

They must live in the holes of the earth.

They must live in the holds of the rocks.

Among the bushes they bray.

Under the nettles they huddle together.

A senseless, a disreputable brood,

They have been whipped out of the land.”

The difference between then and now is evident. Job instead of being a distinguished member of the community he was now derided. Now even the outcasts of society ridiculed him. Young people, whose fathers Job would have had them sit with his dogs watching his flock, are now making fun of him. Job was no longer strong. He then colorfully described the indigent homeless society of people who were making fun of him. These were the people who gnaw at the dry ground and eat in the salt marshes near the Dead Sea. They warm themselves with the roots of brooms, a shrub that grows in regions of that area. People shout after them as if they were thieves. They live along the river banks, the holes in the ground and in the caves. They huddle together like a senseless disreputable brood of people that have been sent away from the land.