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

Yahweh dwells in Jerusalem (Joel 3:17-3:17)

“So,

You shall know

That I am Yahweh!

Your God!

I dwell in Zion!

My holy mountain!

Jerusalem

Shall be holy.

Strangers

Shall never again

Pass through it.”

Yahweh, via Joel, wanted them to understand that Yahweh was their God. He lived in this holy mountain, Zion. Thus, Jerusalem was to be holy. Never again would strangers pass through it. It was a great desire that was not fulfilled.

The death of the prince of Tyre (Ezek 28:6-28:8)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You compare

Your mind

With the mind

Of a god.

Therefore,

I will bring strangers

Against you.

I will bring

The most terrible

Of the nations.

They shall draw

Their swords

Against the beauty

Of your wisdom.

They will defile

Your splendor.

They shall thrust you

Down to the pit.

You shall die

A violent death

In the heart

Of the seas.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was upset because the prince of Tyre had compared his mind to that of a god. Thus Yahweh was going to bring strangers, the most terrible of all the nations, against him. They would draw their swords against his beautiful wisdom. They would defile his splendor. They would throw him into the pit with a violent death, right in the middle of the high seas. He would sink and drown.

The paying adulterous wife (Ezek 16:32-16:34)

“‘Adulterous wife!

You receive strangers

Instead of your husband!

Gifts are given

To whores.

But you gave

Your gifts

To all your lovers.

You bribed them

To come

To you

From all around

For your prostitution activities.

So you were different

From other women

In your prostitution.

No one solicited you

To play the whore.

You gave payment,

While no payment

Was given to you.

You were different.’”

Jerusalem was a different kind of adulterous wife. She took in strangers rather than her husband. However, instead of getting gifts as most prostitutes did, she gave gifts to her lovers. She bribed them to come to her from all over the place to share sexual activities. Thus, she was different from other female prostitutes. No one solicited her as a prostitute. She paid people to come to her, instead of receiving payment for her sexual activities. She never received any money or gifts. She was a different kind of prostitute.

Abominable images (Ezek 7:20-7:21)

“They had

Beautiful ornaments.

They took such pride

In them.

They made

Their abominable images.

They made

Their detestable things.

Therefore I will make of it

An unclean thing

To them.

I will hand it over

To strangers

As booty.

I will give it

To the wicked

Of the earth

As plunder.

They shall profane it.”

These Israelites had made beautiful ornaments into idols. They took such great pride in these abominable and detestable images that they had made. Yahweh was now going to make them into unclean things. He was going to hand them over to strangers as booty. He was going to give them to the wicked ones of the earth as plunder. Then they could profane these false idol god images.

Food and drink (Ezek 4:11-4:13)

“‘You shall drink

Water

By measure,

One-sixth of a hin.

You shall drink

At fixed times.

You shall eat it

As a barley cake.

You will bake it

In their sight

On human dung.’

Yahweh said.

‘Thus shall

The people of Israel

Eat their bread unclean,

Among the nations

To which I will drive them.’”

Yahweh clearly gave orders about food and drink. Ezekiel had to measure his water.   A hin is about 5 quarts, so that 1/6th of a hin would be a little less than a quart of water, which is a reasonable amount of water. Once again, Ezekiel was to drink it at fixed times. Then he was to eat barley cakes that were baked on human dung. This seems odd. Here, Yahweh seems to say that the people of Israel should eat unclean bread, as long as they were living among strangers in various countries.