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 fatal undignified future of the people (Jer 16:3-16:4)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning the sons,

As well as the daughters,

Of those born in this place.

The same fate awaits the mothers

Who bore them

As well as the fathers

Who begot them in this land.

They shall die of deadly diseases.

They shall not be lamented.

They shall not be buried.

They shall become

Like dung on the surface of the ground.

They shall perish

By the sword,

Or by famine.

Their dead bodies

Shall become food

For the birds of the air.

Their dead bodies

Shall become food

For the wild animals of the earth.”

Yahweh was clear to Jeremiah. This saying was meant for the sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers of the people in this place. The same terrible fate awaited them all. They were going to die of deadly diseases, which would not have been that uncommon. However, there would be no one to lament them or bury them. Their bodies would lie in the fields like fertilizer dung on the ground. Thus they would not receive a proper burial. They would die either by sword or famine. Their dead bodies would lay in the streets and fields to become food for the birds and the wild animals. This would not be a pretty sight.

Tobit prepares for death (Tob 4:1-4:4)

“That same day, Tobit remembered the money which he had left in trust with Gabael at Rages in Media. He said to himself. ‘Now I have asked for death. Why do I not call my son Tobias? I can explain to him about the money before I die.’ Then he called his son Tobias. When he came to him, he said.

‘My son,

When I die,

Give me a proper burial.

Honor your mother.  

Do not abandon her all the days of your life.

Do whatever pleases her.

Do not grieve her in anything.

Remember her, my son,

Because she faced many dangers for you

While you were in her womb.

When she dies,

Bury her beside me in the same grave.’”

Tobit continued his obsession with his death. He remembered the money he had left with Gabael in Media. He wanted to tell his son about this money before he died. When his son, Tobias, came to him, he told him that he wanted a proper burial. At the same time, he wanted his son to honor his mother. He wanted him not to give her much grief. There is no indication of his age so far, but you know how teenagers can be. On top of that, there is an indication that the pregnancy with him was difficult. Tobit wanted his wife to be buried in the same grave as himself.