Thirty pieces of silver (Mt 26:15-26:16)

“Judas said.

‘What will you give me

If I betray

Jesus to you?’

The chief priests

Paid him

Thirty pieces of silver.

From that moment on,

He began to look

For an opportunity

To betray him.”

 

εἶπεν Τί θέλετέ μοι δοῦναι, κἀγὼ ὑμῖν παραδώσω αὐτόν; οἱ δὲ ἔστησαν αὐτῷ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια.

καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδῷ.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:11, and Luke, chapter 22:5-6, but there is no mention of the exact amount of money there.  Matthew said that Judas wanted to know what these chief priests were willing to give him (εἶπεν Τί θέλετέ μοι δοῦναι) if he betrayed or handed over Jesus to them (κἀγὼ ὑμῖν παραδώσω αὐτόν).  Matthew said that these chief priests paid him 30 pieces of silver (οἱ δὲ ἔστησαν αὐτῷ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια).  This Roman silver coin was worth about 4 denarii each, so that these silver pieces were worth about 120 denarii or about $180.00 US, not an unbelievable number, but still a substantial amount since one denarius was equivalent to a day’s wages.  From that moment on (καὶ ἀπὸ τότε), Judas began to look for an opportunity to betray Jesus (ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδῷ).

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The last hired paid first (Mt 20:9-20:9)

“When those hired

At five o’clock,

The eleventh hour,

Came,

Each of them received

One denarius.”

 

ἐλθόντες δὲ οἱ περὶ τὴν ἑνδεκάτην ὥραν ἔλαβον ἀνὰ δηνάριον.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that those hired last at 5:00 PM, the eleventh hour (ἐλθόντες δὲ οἱ περὶ τὴν ἑνδεκάτην ὥραν), got paid first.  Each of them received one denarius (ἔλαβον ἀνὰ δηνάριον), the Roman silver coin worth about 15 cents.  This was the usual day’s pay amount that the original day laborers had agreed to when they started at 6:00 AM in the morning.  However, they had worked 11 hours more than these later day laborers who had only worked one hour.

The first laborers hired (Mt 20:2-20:2)

“He agreed

With the laborers

For the usual daily wage.

He sent them

Into his vineyard.”

 

συμφωνήσας δὲ μετὰ τῶν ἐργατῶν ἐκ δηναρίου τὴν ἡμέραν ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  Jesus continued with his parable.  This land owner hired the first group of day laborers.  They came to a mutual understanding.  This land owner agreed and the day laborers also agreed to accept one denarius as payment for that day, the usual or common wage for a day’s work (συμφωνήσας δὲ μετὰ τῶν ἐργατῶν ἐκ δηναρίου τὴν ἡμέραν).  This Roman silver coin was worth about $.15 USA.  They would work all day for about 15 cents.  Then he sent them into his vineyard to pick the grapes (ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ).  So far, so good, nothing unusual here.  A land owner and some workers agreed on a day’s pay that was not extravagant, without any middle man.