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Would the people who heard Matthew's account of what was done with the 30 silver pieces have understood that to be a hypocritical act by the chief priests?

6 And the chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood.

7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.

I mean the chief priests had given Judas the 30 silver pieces as the price of delivering up Jesus and then they cannot put the money back in the treasury because it's blood money. I don't doubt that's a bit hypocritical of them but would the listeners of Matthew's time have understood it as hypocritical or simply conforming with the law? Is there some irony there that would have been evident to Matthew's audience?

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It indicates that they had religious scruples about the way a crime was orchestrated.

On one hand they admit that Judas earned his thirty pieces of silver (the legal price of a slave, Exodus 21:32) 'unscrupulously' for that is why they could not receive it into the temple treasury. It would not be right to by sacred things with money gained unlawfully.

On the other hand they pretend to be innocent of the crime committed by the other hand. For instead of wasting the money they thought it 'moral' to spend it on 'public welfare', so they bought the field on Judas' behalf being that as he was dead he could not do anything 'good' with it himself. In this sense they were doing something wicked that even made them feel dirty, while pretending to do something good all under the same scheme. They knew how to spray perfume on a skunk quite well.

The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. (Matthew 27:6-7, NIV)

So naturally this is hypocritical.

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I understand we perceive this as hypocritical--what I'm wondering about is Matthew's intention in including it in his Gospel account. Was he trying to paint the chief priests as being hypocrites? –  Onorio Catenacci Jan 31 '13 at 15:56
    
I think Matthew was just trying to record a true account of the events. As the Chief priests were both wicked and hypocritical, then yes, that was Matthews intention? I have a feeling I still do not understand the question. Cheers –  Mike Jan 31 '13 at 22:58
    
Thanks Mike--I think you did answer my question; I just needed to ponder your answer a bit further is all. –  Onorio Catenacci Feb 1 '13 at 13:24

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